Although there are plenty of gamers out there, buying and selling gaming PCs is still somewhat of a niche market. A hardcore gaming PC isn’t something a person can stroll in Walmart and buy for a couple of hundred bucks. It’s also not something someone wants to sell at a weekend yard sale, so how do people sell their top-of-the-line gaming PCs without losing money?
To sell a gaming PC, wipe it clean of all personal data and files. Next, you should optimize the PC for sale, take lots of excellent photos, and make a detailed, easy-to-read listing. Finally, you must find the right market and craft a catchy but descriptive listing.
In this article, I’ll give you a step-by-step guide on how to sell their gaming PCs. I’ll also offer some tips on optimizing both the product for sale and the listing for it and go over a few of my favorite online spots to sell PCs and PC parts.
How to sell a gaming PC: Essential steps
When it comes to selling a gaming PC, the first several essential steps happen long before any listing ever goes up online. The following are the things that owners need to do to get a PC ready to sell:
Clean the PC internally
Owners should never sell laptops or personal computers with files, data, and private information left on them. The same is true for all electronics, whether they’re phones, smart TVs, or old-school DVD players.
Even sellers who purchase PCs for the sole purpose of flipping them should be responsible and wipe the drives clean before reselling them in case the previous owner forgot to do so. Tech Deals has a thorough how-to video below on completely wiping and resetting a computer:
I highly recommend that sellers watch the full video, but for those who don’t have the time, here are the highlights:
- Deleting or transferring files via File Explorer does not get rid of personal information or wipe a computer.
- Uninstalling programs from a computer doesn’t get rid of the user accounts associated with those programs.
- “Deleting” items from a PC doesn’t necessarily make those files irretrievable.
- You can thoroughly wipe a PC by properly using the System Restore function under the Start and Settings menus.
- Everything should be backed up beforehand because using this function will completely wipe the machine, leaving it as clean as a brand new computer.
Once the computer is clean of all programs and information, it’s time for the next step.
Clean the PC externally
The next step also involves cleaning. You never want to try to sell an ugly, dusty, cobwebby PC. It’ll significantly detract from the PC’s overall value assuming anyone even chooses to look at it. That’s why a thorough cleaning of the physical machine is also necessary.
You should spray everything with canned air, wipe down the case, monitor (if you’re selling it along with the PC), and any other external parts included in the listing. Blowing out the inside of the case is also recommended.
Furthermore, a few relatively inexpensive modifications can make your gaming PC more attractive to buyers and more likely to sell.
For example, adding a few simple LED lights to the case will make the photos and listings so much more attractive to buyers. These kits usually aren’t that expensive, and they’re easy to install.
The NEON RGB LED Strip Kit for PC is a quick addition, and it even comes with remote control! Adding these brightly colored YATENG Computer Case Thumbscrews is another fun option that costs very little.
Find the right marketplace
As I said, buying and selling gaming PCs isn’t a mainstream market. Sometimes, sellers get lucky and can sell their gaming PCs to friends, relatives, or acquaintances with similar interests who are in the same gaming communities they frequent. But, unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
That’s why it’s so important to find the right place to sell a gaming PC or gaming PC parts. eBay is a natural choice.
It’s one of the largest markets for buying and selling directly between individual customers and sellers. However, it’s not the only place to sell gaming PCs.
Other popular places for listing gaming PCs include:
- Facebook Marketplace (especially in dedicated Buy/Sell/Trade groups dedicated to gaming, gaming PCs, computer building components, etc.).
- Computer-specific forums, such as Reddit’s Computer Bazaar forum.
For owners selling individual components or parts, these are also good options. Additionally, these sellers may want to check out one of the many Information Technology Asset Disposition (ITAD) companies online. I’ll talk about this in more detail a little later on in the article.
Create the listing
You need to create eye-catching listings if they want to get more traffic and potential buyers. They can’t have dull, hard-to-read listings with one or two shabby photos. Creating the perfect listing is crucial to selling a PC (or PC parts).
Take lots of high-quality, well-lit photos from different angles
It would help if you thought of your listings like dating profiles. As much as people say they want people with good personalities, they frequently pass by profiles with unattractive or missing pictures. The same is true for buying merchandise online. So, any good listing starts with plenty of well-lit, attractive photos.
When it comes to pictures, more is always better. Buyers can always stop looking at the pictures if sellers have taken too many. Most of the time, though, people will happily look through every last picture before deciding whether or not to buy something.
The main picture should showcase the whole setup (or at least 90% of it if it’s too large to fit in a single photo) in a way that shows as many of the bells and whistles as possible. Whatever the most impressive features of the PC are, those need to be in the main picture. That’s the one that catches buyers’ eyes.
The photo should highlight the cool RGB lights, the multi-colored thumbscrews, and the lighted cables, if applicable. Additional photos should show the PC from different angles, feature close-ups of some of the smaller components and extra features, and point out any flaws.
You should also be honest and include photos of any less-than-perfect aspects of your gaming PC. This way, you’ll cut down on the number of return requests you’ll get from buyers claiming, “There wasn’t any mention of a crack in the case!”
Here are a few other things to remember about pictures:
- The area around the PC should be clean; there’s nothing more unattractive than a seller’s photo that includes nasty backgrounds with dirty dishes and cat hair stuck to blankets.
- The lighting should be good and highlight the PC.
- The background should be solid but not the same color as the PC.
- You should avoid taking pictures around mirrors; that can be embarrassing for underwear-clad sellers who accidentally get themselves in their photos.
- If photographing glass-fronted cases, you should take photos at an angle to reduce the glare or open the case.
Craft a detailed headline
Whether eBay or Facebook, online marketplaces usually put a cap on the number of characters you can use in your headlines. Even so, you should make use of every one of those characters!
Headlines like “Gaming PC” or “Custom PC” might catch someone’s attention if they’re specifically looking for that item and if there’s a nice picture accompanying the headline. However, buyers are much more likely to click on something more descriptive, such as “i7 Custom Built Gaming Desktop w/SSD+HDD, Windows 10, 16 gigs, GTX 1060.”
This headline gives the buyer so much more information upfront and is much more appealing than “Gaming PC.” So, it’s more likely to lead to a sale.
Include a detailed description
Descriptions should be even more detailed than the headlines. They should include everything an owner knows about the PCs they’re selling. Some things to include are:
- Type of processor.
- Processor speed.
- The PC’s operating system.
- Motherboard information.
- Amount of RAM.
- Type of graphics card.
- Display specs.
- Connectivity options.
- Type of storage.
- Amount of storage.
- Availability of additional storage.
- Type of power supply unit.
- Specs on the case, especially the dimensions.
You should also include information on how the PC operates, which means you need to try it out before selling it. Finally, if there are any software issues or hardware defects, you should mention them up front. Again, this helps cut down on the likelihood of buyers asking for their money back.
Set competitive prices
First of all, sellers should always list a price. On sites like Amazon and eBay, this isn’t an issue, but one of my biggest pet peeves when searching for products on Facebook Marketplace is people who list items as “Free” or “$1” and then include something like “Make me an offer!” in the description.
People want to see prices. If you’re willing to negotiate prices, that’s fine. You can note that the price isn’t set in stone in the description, but you should always start by listing an initial cost. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve moved right past a listing for an item I was interested in buying because the owner had listed it as “Free” with an “Open to offers!” tag in the description.
Furthermore, you should set competitive prices. Don’t set some outlandish, ridiculously expensive prices that no one is going to pay. Sometimes sellers do this because they don’t know how to price their items—and we tend to place an extra value on something we own, but others probably aren’t willing to pay that much.
Other times, they do it hoping someone will say, “I can’t pay that much, but I can give you X for it.”
You should sit down and calculate how much you have in the PC, including parts, upgrades, and time and labor. Then, you can tack on a small bit of extra to make more of a profit, but crazy expensive prices will only ensure your listings sit there for weeks without any buyers.
Be willing to answer questions
The best part about writing a detailed description is that it cuts down on most buyers’ questions. However, there will still be people who come up with questions. You should always be willing to answer them, even if the answer is in the description.
You should do so politely and promptly. Being rude in responses to questions or waiting five or six days to get back to someone about a question they had is a surefire way to lose customers.
How to sell a gaming PC on eBay
If you’re hoping to sell your gaming PC on eBay, you should follow the same steps outlined above to prepare and list it. Additionally, there are a few other things to keep in mind when selling on eBay specifically.
Consider offering refunds
With eBay, you can pick from various return options, including the option for “no returns or refunds.” Some sellers list their items and allow no returns.
However, gaming PCs are an expensive investment, and many buyers won’t take a chance on them if they know they can’t return them if they’re unhappy with what they get. For that reason, consider offering some return/refund policy.
Offer free shipping
When people pay several hundred dollars for an item, they often don’t want to pay shipping costs on top. Taxes are inevitable, but shipping is up to the seller. Many sellers don’t like to offer free shipping because it cuts into their profit margins.
However, you don’t have to get burned on the shipping price. You can add it to the listing price.
Either way, it’s not a good idea to charge shipping costs. It’s a massive turnoff for many buyers, myself included. So nine times out of ten, I’ll choose the item with free shipping over the one with shipping costs, even if the two end up being the same price. It’s not logical, but it’s true.
Enable the direct offer option
eBay has a great feature as part of its “Buy It Now” option that allows sellers to accept direct offers from buyers. It’s an excellent way for sellers to garner more interest in their items. Likewise, buyers enjoy being able to haggle and make lower offers to feel like they might be getting a deal.
In most cases on eBay, “Buy It Now” prices must be 40% higher than the original auction prices people set for the items they’re selling.
In my personal experience, this often puts the item at a higher price than I wanted to list it. Unfortunately, in those cases, the buyers’ offers are sometimes the actual price I was hoping for initially.
Furthermore, sellers can also decline the offers, so it’s a total win-win.
Enable the Global Shipping program option
These days, eBay offers something called the Global Shipping Program (GSP) that allows sellers to sell outside their home countries without worrying about the hassle and increased cost of international shipping.
The postage rate for the seller is whatever it would cost to send the item to the US-based shipping company (i.e., domestic shipping).
All the extra fees get tacked onto the buyer’s price. It’s an easy, convenient way for sellers to widen their markets without any additional fees.
However, although I’ve never experienced it, I’ve read about others who have had issues with returns for items sent via the GSP program, so you may want to research that more in-depth before jumping into it.
How to sell gaming PC parts
Just about everything I’ve mentioned for selling gaming PCs also applies to selling gaming PC parts. I want to go a little more in-depth into ITAD companies, though.
For sellers selling computer parts and components piecemeal, especially ones that are out of date or nearly obsolete, ITAD companies can be a smart way to go. There are plenty of them out there.
ITAD companies buy mostly outdated computer parts and recycle them or dispose of them in an environmentally safe way. Some of these companies include:
- Retire PC.
- e-Cycle LLC.
- Global Environmental Services, LLC.
However, it would be best to be careful when selecting an ITAD company because not all of them pay for computer parts. Some are recycling companies only.
For sellers with up-to-date, high-quality computer parts, the best options are still going to be Amazon, eBay, computer-specific forums, Facebook Marketplace, and Craigslist.
However, there are also trade-in sites for computer parts. These include:
Instead of cold hard cash, these places usually give you store credit, gift cards, or money on Paypal.
There are plenty of places for sellers to sell their custom gaming PCs or sell or trade in their gaming PC parts. It’s not a large market, but it is a lucrative one because it’s such a specialized area. The trick to selling them is to find the right market.
You should also make sure you have a desirable product—a PC that looks and performs great—and that you market it well, with plenty of high-quality photos as well as a thorough headline and description.