Apple Archive

Selling Your Older Mac

Set a fair price and make a killer classified ad

- 2001.01.19

You might be thinking of selling your old Mac. [Say it isn't so! ed.] There are people who do want older computers, but they are far and few between. It is important that you know how to reach them.

Set a Fair Price

How much is fair? It depends on the machine. You don't want to charge too much and wonder why your machine isn't selling, and you don't want to charge too little and wonder why you got a call about it 5 minutes after you placed the ad.

Recently, in some thrift shops around my area I have noticed that the prices are a little bit high (the price stickers were on them, I had to take a closer look to determine the RAM, etc.).

  • Quadra 605, 4 MB RAM, 160 MB hard disk: $125
  • Performa 6205CD, ? MB RAM, 1 GB Hard disk- with 15" monitor, keyboard and mouse: $300
  • Classic II, 4 MB RAM, 40 MB hard disk, $120

Enough of that! No one will buy a Classic for $120! Here's how they should have been priced:

  • Quadra 605: $20
  • Performa 6205: $125
  • Classic II: $20

Thrift stores aren't the only people who don't know the value of older computers; local classified ads have been pretty pricey as well. An ad for a "Macintosh Plus including accessories" was asking $100. One for a Performa 640 DOS Compatible wanted $350.

This stuff just sits there. It is extremely important to ask a fair price if you want to sell your older Mac.

Some guidelines to follow when you are pricing your older Mac:

Is it PowerPC or 68K? If it is a 68K machine, the value is significantly less than a Power Mac, because it cannot run software that requires a PowerPC processor such as Office 98 or 2001. 68K machines run from $5 (for a Mac Plus) to $50 (for a Quadra 840AV). PowerPC machines run from $50 (for a 6100/60) to $1000 (for an older G4).

How much RAM do you have? If you have only 4 or 8 MB, there is little chance that someone will buy your machine. The more RAM you have, the better chance there is of someone buying your machine. If you have 32 MB or 48 MB of RAM, you might get some interest within a few days of placing the ad.

What size hard disk? If it is only 40 MB, there is little hope for your machine to find a new owner. If you don't have at least 500 MB, you probably won't get much interest.

What system software is it running? If you have a 6400/200 and are still running System 7.5.5, you won't get as much interest as someone who has one running Mac OS 8.1 or 8.6.

Upgrades and upgradeability: If you have a 7500 with a 300 MHz G3 upgrade, count on your machine selling quickly. If you have a 6100 with the standard 601 processor, it may take a while to sell. If you have a machine like the Performa 6300, which is considered "non-upgradeable," you may have a harder time selling it, because people will generally want to lean toward a system that will change with their needs. That also means that they can possibly get a good deal on that 6300 because of its lack of upgrade cards available.

Peripherals: Most important - unless you have matching peripherals (such as an Apple monitor, printer and scanner) - be willing to sell things separately. If you aren't, someone who might be willing to give you $250 for your old 7600/132 without the peripherals might not call you.

The Ad

On to the classified ad. You can sign up with Yahoo, Excite, Bargain News (for Connecticut), a Mac specific ad network - or even your local paper.

What should the ad say? Make sure you list your machine's model, amount of RAM, hard disk size, system software, a general comment ("great for Internet and word processing"), peripherals included, and your asking price. If you are selling a whole system, consider including "will separate" to sell it quickly. Some examples (I don't have these systems for sale; they are only examples):

Power Macintosh 4400/180. 48 MB RAM, 1.2 GB hard disk. Running Mac OS 8.6. Includes lots of software, US Robotics 33.6 modem, and Apple MultiScan 15av display. Needs a new floppy drive, but otherwise very clean and working exceptionally well. Asking $225

Macintosh Quadra 610. 16 MB RAM, 160 MB hard disk. Mac OS 7.6.1 installed. Older, but still Internet ready! Comes with Internet Explorer 3.0 and MacWrite Pro. $25 OBO

Power Macintosh G3 beige Minitower. 266 MHz, 128 MB RAM, 6 GB Hard disk. Running Mac OS 9.1. Includes HP scanner, Apple LaserWriter Select 360 printer, HP DeskJet 870Cxi printer, NEC 17" monitor, and Supra Express 56K modem. A very fast system- Mac OS X compatible. $700 or will separate.

Macintosh PowerBook 5300cs. Great portable for a low price. Bright colour screen, 100 MHz PowerPC 603e, 32 MB RAM, 750 MB Hard disk, running Mac OS 8.1. In very good condition but has some slight wear on the trackpad. Otherwise works perfectly. A great buy for only $250

As you can see, I mentioned the model first, then the specs. After that I put a positive comment about it. I saved the negative comments for toward the end, only to close it with a positive summary of the machine. Follow this format and you have an excellent chance at selling your older Mac.

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