Macworld - One of the great things about using a Mac is that unlike many commodity Windows PCs, it doesn't turn to metaphorical dust--an unusable pile of silicon and metal--after three or four years of use. Heck, a three-year-old Mac is often still a solid computer, and a one-year-old Mac is a great "new" machine for many people. Which is why selling a Mac when it's of a relatively recent vintage can be an economical way to keep using the latest and greatest Mac hardware.
I've done my share of selling used Macs over the years; for a while in the late 90s and early 2000s, I would sell my old Mac after about a year of use, while it was still worth quite a bit, and buy the latest model for only a few hundred bucks more. I had to deal with the hassle of transferring my files more frequently than most people, but I always had a current computer and I paid less, overall, than it would have cost to upgrade every few years. For someone in my line of work, who has to be familiar with the latest models, it was a good plan.
With the transition to Intel processors and lower Mac prices, this method isn't as feasible as it once was. But Macs still hold their resale value surprisingly well--especially if your Mac is in great shape when you sell it. With all the old, beat-up equipment on Ebay and CraigsList, a computer that's in pristine condition stands out and commands a premium price. Over the years, I've gotten pretty good at keeping my Macs in prime selling shape. Here are my tips for doing the same with yours:
Keep all your original boxes and materials. Nothing says "I care" more than a computer packed in the original box with all the original cables, manuals, and accessories. So keep track of everything that comes with your Mac when you first take it out of the box--take a digital photo, or write everything down on a note you keep in the box. Heck, if you're a veteran computer user, chances are you already have many of the accessories on hand; use your existing ones instead and keep the originals new in the box.
Keep a record of your upgrades and additional accessories. Chances are, you invest more in your Macs than the original purchase price. Over the course of your ownership, you may install additional RAM, upgrade the hard drive, and more. Don't forget to keep a record of each hardware tweak; these details will not only give you a better idea of how much your Mac is worth, but if you include the information in the description of your Mac, you'll get more interest and higher offers.
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