Selling Musical Instruments


Whether you’re a budding musician (or are raising one) or a seasoned musical veteran, chances are you have looked for the best ways to buy quality music equipment without busting your wallet. But have you ever considered buying – or selling – your musical instruments at your local pawn shop?

Your local pawn shop is a great place to either pick up a new set of musical gear, or to sell an instrument that you’ve outgrown. Pawn shops make it super easy to buy, pawn and sell all kinds of musical instruments and accessories, including drum kits, guitars, flutes, violins and even pianos.

Buying a Musical Instrument

If you’re starting out as a beginner or interested in trying out a new instrument, be sure to check your local pawn shop’s inventory! Shopping for a gently used instrument through a pawn shop is a perfect way to start playing or to experiment with different instruments without a huge investment.

If you have your eye on a specific instrument or brand, contact the pawn shops in your area to ask what they have in stock. Most pawn shops maintain a wide array of the top models and brands of musical instruments, and their inventory changes frequently, so check back often if you’re looking for specific items. With a little patience, you’re bound to find a great deal on the exact instruments or accessories you want.

Unlike buying online, buying a gently used instrument from a pawn shop means you have a chance to really check out the instrument’s condition before you buy. When you visit the pawn shop, check the instrument carefully for any signs of wear and tear. While you can always restring a guitar or violin, other issues like rust, cracked pegs, extreme discoloration, broken hinges or warped fret boards are much easier to spot in person than in an online post.

Also, most pawn shops will let you play the instrument and test it out before you commit to buying. If you know how an instrument should sound, playing it in the store can tell you a lot about its condition and quality. If you’re not as knowledgeable, you can always bring someone with you to help you find the right instrument for you. Testing the instrument out in person also helps you get a better feel for the size of the instrument, whether it’s a good fit for you, how comfortable you feel about playing it and how much space you may need for your new instrument.

Pawning vs. Selling Musical Instruments

For dedicated musicians, it can be difficult to even imagine selling a beloved instrument. But sometimes, life happens, and you may find yourself needing quick cash unexpectedly, or needing to trim down your musical collection for any number of reasons.

Here at Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we totally get that. And that’s why you’ll always have the option to pawn your instruments and gear, rather than outright selling it. We understand that the decision to pawn or sell an item is an extremely personal one. If you need quick cash but aren’t ready to let go of your cherished guitar forever, a pawn loan may be your best option. However, if you need the most cash possible, selling may be the way to go. Regardless of your situation, our staff will work with you like family to determine what’s right for you and get the most money possible for your musical instruments and accessories.    

If you’re looking to get a fair price and quick cash for selling your instrument, a pawn shop is the logical choice. When it comes to selling musical instruments, here are a few tips for getting the most money for your gear:

  • Do your homework. Even if you have a lot of previous experience in buying or selling musical gear, it still pays to learn as much as possible about the going rate for your items. Market prices can vary widely based on several factors, so don’t be afraid to look at completed sales at both big-box music stores and online auction sites. You can also learn a lot by getting your instrument appraised at a local music shop.
  • Gather up your accessories. Before you take your item to your local pawn shop, think about any other gear and accessories you may have lying around. Offering your item with a case, extra strings, straps, amps or other accessories can help you get a much better deal.
  • Clean it up. Make your instrument look as shiny and new as the day you first took it home. The more attractive it is when you bring it in, the easier it will be for the pawnbroker to sell it, and the easier it may be for you to negotiate a higher amount.
  • Negotiate. Whether you’re pawning or selling your instrument, you should walk in fully ready and willing to negotiate on a price. This is where your research comes in handy. Knowing the going value of your item, what a fair price is for it and what other options you may have available gives you some leverage when you walk in the door of the pawn shop. Because instruments tend to go quickly at pawn shops, the more prepared you are when you go in, the more likely your pawn broker will be willing to make you a great offer.

Selling your instrument to your local pawn shop is far more convenient and simpler than trying to do it through a website or app. Instead of dealing with a potentially frustrating experience, working with your local pawn shop means working with helpful, friendly, knowledgeable professionals who can help you get the cash you need in just minutes.

Your local pawn shop can be a treasure trove of great deals for musicians young and old. If you are in the market for an instrument, or looking to sell or upgrade your collection, you owe it to yourself to visit your local pawn shop. Come check out our inventory at Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn today. Shop online, or stop by one of our three locations in the greater Charleston, S.C., area and let us show you why Gene’s is a cut above the rest!

Is Layaway Still a Thing?


While the concept may not be as popular today, being able to layaway items was once a very big deal.

During times of great financial uncertainty, like the Great Depression, layaway made it possible for cash-strapped customers to buy pricier items and pay for them over a certain period of time. As credit cards became more popular to fund big-ticket purchases, layaway programs began to disappear. But today, as the economy continues to be uncertain and people are more cautious with their spending, layaway programs are making a comeback.

What is layaway?

Layaway is an interest-free payment plan that allows you to pay for an item in installments. You pay a deposit and/or a small fee, and the store agrees to hold the item until you finish making the payments. Once you pay the item off in full, you get to pick up your item and take it home.

How does layaway work?

Here’s how a typical layaway program works:

  1. Select an item. Choose an item or several items you want to put on layaway. Some retailers may limit the type of products that can be put on layaway, or only provide layaway for items over a certain price or within certain departments, such as electronics, jewelry, furniture, or appliances.
  2. Pay your deposit and/or service fee. Some retailers require a certain percentage of the total purchase price, while others may allow you to choose the amount you want to put down.
  3. Make payments over time. Payment schedules and program lengths may vary between different retailers, so if you’re interested in layaway, be sure to ask about the store’s policy. Depending on the store, their program, or the price of your item, you may be expected to make weekly, biweekly, or monthly payments. Most stores require layaway purchases to be paid off in full within a year.
  4. Bring your item home. After you pay off your layaway purchase, you can pick it up and bring it home.

What are the benefits of doing layaway?

There are several benefits to using a layaway plan, including being able to avoid incurring interest on credit card accounts and managing purchases without stressing out the household budget. Layaway helps shoppers easily afford expensive items that may currently be out of their budget. Because layaway customers are not charged interest, layaway becomes a more affordable option, especially compared to credit card purchases that may charge interest rates anywhere from 15 to 25% or higher.

Today, some retailers even offer convenient online layaway options. This may mean a customer physically selects items and initiates the layaway plan in person at the store, then makes regular payments online. Other retailers allow shoppers to select items and make payments through an online store or platform, and the retailer ships the items directly to the customer once they pay the balance in full.

Do you have to pay interest on layaway?

No, that’s what makes layaway programs so attractive for customers. You can plan for a big-ticket purchase and spread your payments out over time, without worrying about any interest charges. Buying items on layaway also helps you avoid racking up a huge credit card debt and late fees.

What happens if you don’t pay your layaway?

If you’re unable to pay the balance of your layaway program, or you change your mind and decide you no longer want the item, you can cancel your layaway plan. While your payments are likely to be returned, you’ll probably have to pay some additional fees. Most stores charge a cancellation fee, and some stores charge an additional restocking fee to put the items back on the sales floor.

Does layaway hurt your credit?

Not at all. Layaway plans have zero impact on your credit. Retailers that offer layaway don’t have to do credit checks to see if you qualify. Layaway plans do not show up as any kind of debt on your credit report. However, if you make your payments on time, remember that these also don’t show up on your credit report, so if you’re looking to build a positive credit history or improve your credit score, a layaway plan will not help.

Is layaway considered a loan?

No, a layaway program is not considered a loan. You do not have to meet any financial qualifications, submit an application, or pay any interest to participate in a layaway program. If you’re patient and don’t need the item in a hurry, buying it on layaway is a great way to purchase a quality, high-value item, spread out your payments and not worry about accruing interest charges on your purchase.

Why do people use layaway?

Layaway programs are especially useful when making large or expensive purchases for holidays, birthdays, or any other special occasions. Your layaway purchases are safely stored at the store or a secure warehouse, away from any prying eyes, until you’re ready to pay it off, pick it up, and take it home.

Do pawn shops offer layaway?

Some do and some don’t. Buying items on layaway at a pawn shop offers you even more flexibility and value. If you want to get a jump on your holiday gift shopping, or have your eye on an expensive watch, a cool antique, or a special piece of jewelry for yourself or a loved one, buying it on layaway at a pawn shop is a great way to get a high-quality item at a low price, making it a very affordable option.

Did you know  Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn offers layaway? We ask for 10% down and offer up to 10 months to pay off your item, free of charge. Get a head start on your holiday shopping today at Gene’s! Visit one of our three locations in the greater Charleston area. We know you’ll find unique items for every person on your list here at Gene’s.

7 Things to Know Before You Sell Gold


Right now is a great time to sell gold for extra cash. Currently, gold prices are hovering around $1,800 per ounce, which tops typical prices. What’s even more exciting is the price per ounce is expected to rise to $2,500 by the end of 2022. Many of us have treasures sitting right before our eyes and we don’t even know it. Do you have a lone gold earring missing its partner? Perhaps you have your late grandfather’s old coin collection. Do you spy a knotted clump of gold chains sitting at the bottom of your jewelry box? Or possibly, you’ve been holding onto an ostentatious gold bracelet that you received as a gift from your aunt. These seemingly small treasures can add up to a lot of extra cash. While the process can seem intimidating, it doesn’t need to be. Read on for a few tips and tricks you need to know before you sell gold.

Look for a reputable buyer

The most important step to take before selling your gold is to look for a reputable buyer, such as a pawn shop. Not all pawn shops are created equal though, so make sure to do your research. Look for a pawn shop that pays a fair market value for your gold. A reputable pawn shop will shop their competitors to make sure they are paying top dollar. Other factors to look for are the number of years the pawn shop has been in business, if they pay cash, how quickly they pay, and their reviews online. One example of a reputable buyer is Gene’s Pawn Shop in Charleston. Gene’s Pawn Shop has been in business for over 30 years and they provide both in-person and out-of-town estimates with a no-pressure, no-charge quote. They also offer cash for gold and pay the same day.

Know what you have before you sell gold

Many times, gold jewelry is not made from 100 percent gold. Pure gold, or 24-karat, is often too soft to use in jewelry, so manufacturers will alloy other metals with the gold to increase its strength. A karat is a unit of measure for the fineness of gold. The most common gold in the United States is 14-karat, although you can also find 18-karat and 10-karat gold alloys. Oftentimes, gold jewelry is marked with the kartage, look for “10K,” “14K,” “18K,” or “24K,” respectively. It is important to note that the higher the karat, the higher percentage of pure gold, thereby the higher cash value. 

When thinking of gold, we often visualize an item yellow and shiny, however there are many gold alloys that create a variety of colors. A metal alloy is created when gold and another metal are combined. This can result in white or rose gold options. White gold, which is made with gold and rhodium is more affordable, and therefore has a lower resale value. Rose gold is created by alloying gold with copper and is often 14 karat.

Gold-plated and gold-filled jewelry are other gold alternatives that look like gold but have significantly less value. Gold-plated jewelry is a piece of metal with liquid gold on top. If the gold plating is on top of a precious metal, like silver, it still could have value. However, if the gold plating is on top of a cheap metal, such as stainless steel, brass, or zinc alloys, the value is significantly lower and may not be accepted by the pawnbroker. Make sure to know what you have before attempting to sell. Check out this great article on understanding the various types of gold.

Think outside the ring

While you can certainly sell your gold rings, necklaces, and earrings, you can also sell scrap gold. Look around your home for broken jewelry, old trophies, gold coins, statues, name plates, or even old tooth fillings. You may be surprised at what items contain gold. Many pawn shops, such as Gene’s Pawn Shop, will purchase broken and scrap gold. Selling scrap gold is a win-win solution because the damaged items may not mean much to you, but you can still reap the rewards of cash for gold.

Consider selling online

Look for a pawnshop that accepts out of town estimates. While you can certainly visit your local pawn shop to sell your gold, many pawn shops offer an easy and risk-free option to sell your gold online. You can fill out a request form online and the company will mail you an envelope or box. A few days after the company receives your gold, they will be in touch with your offer. You can decide to accept or decline, risk-free. If you accept the offer, you will receive a check. If you decline, the company will return your items.

 Know the price of gold

It is helpful to understand the value of your gold prior to bringing it into a pawnshop to sell. Visit a reputable site, such as, to obtain the latest value of gold. The price listed is the wholesale value, so this is not the price that you will receive. You can also easily calculate the value of your gold by visiting a site, such as Gold Calc. Simply enter the weight and gold purity and you can calculate your gold scrap value. Invest in a digital gram scale, which is inexpensive and can be found at a variety of retail stores, to weigh your gold. 

Have realistic expectations

Selling gold will not make you rich, but it will give you a little extra money that you didn’t have previously. It’s important to understand that the price listed on sites, such as, will not be the price you will get paid for your jewelry, but it will give you a reference point so you can have context for your offer. You will get paid a fair price for your gold, minus fees and other costs the pawnbroker incurs. Pawnshops are a business and function as a business and retail shop. Check out this article on how pawnshops make money for more information.

Understand tax implications of selling gold

Remember that gold sales are taxed at the capital gains rate. Precious metals, like gold and silver, are treated as collectibles for tax purposes and carry a 28 percent top federal tax rate on long-term capital gains. 

As you can see, selling your gold is not difficult, especially if you find a pawnshop with a good reputation. Take a look around your house for extra scrap gold and you can make some extra cash quickly and easily.

What Should I Expect at a Pawn Shop?


If you’ve never set foot in a pawn shop – you are not alone. Most people miss out on the true pawn shop experience simply because they don’t know what the experience will be like. Let’s look at some of the things you can expect the next time you visit a pawn shop.

Expect to be surprised at a pawn shop

Contrary to popular belief, pawn shops are not dark, shady, dingy places loaded with stolen items and people trying to scam you out of your hard-earned money.

Instead, they are bright, clean, secure, well-organized businesses with friendly, experienced employees who are ready to serve you with a huge variety of quality merchandise and services. Pawn shops are highly regulated at the federal, state and local levels, and they work closely with local and federal law enforcement to help prevent and identify stolen property. 

So, if you’re expecting to walk into a shady-looking business that deals in stolen goods, look elsewhere. Pawn shop owners and staff are highly trained and work proactively within the industry and with law enforcement partners to ensure you’re getting quality merchandise and excellent service, all at fair prices.

Expect knowledgeable, friendly staff

Again, contrary to what most people expect, pawn brokers are friendly, outgoing people who enjoy working with all types of customers who visit their store. Since pawn brokers deal with so many different items on a given day, they must be able to assess items quickly, know the going market value and demand for a particular item, and be able to negotiate professionally and fairly. At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we are always working to provide you with the best-trained staff who have the top-notch education and experience to help you get what you need – from large diamonds and firearms to luxury watches, handbags, accessories and more.

Expect to find great deals

Whether you’re a bona fide bargain hunter or simply looking for a better way to go easy on your wallet, you can save big and find amazing deals on so many different items by simply shopping at your local pawn shop. It is likely to sell just about anything you may need at prices well below retail – including tools, musical instruments, jewelry, watches, firearms, electronics, antiques and more. Pawn shops thoroughly clean and test their items before they hit the sales floor, and most shops will let you try out items right there in the store before you buy, so you know exactly what you’re getting. Plus, most pawn shops offer warranties, protection plans and return policies, so you know you’re getting the most value for your money.  

Expect to have options to pawn, sell or buy

When people hear “pawn shop,” many forget that in addition to pawning items for quick cash, you can also sell items directly to the store. Pawning and selling can take the same amount of time and may even result in the same amount of money – but there is one clear difference. Selling your item means you are turning over the ownership rights to your item immediately in exchange for money. Pawning is another form of a collateral loan. The pawn store gives you a cash loan in exchange for your item. If you return within the terms of your loan to repay the loan amount and any interest, your item is then returned to you. 

If you’re selling, expect to get a portion of the item’s value

If you’re looking to sell an item, you should do a little bit of research upfront and be realistic in what the pawn shop may offer you for your item. Pawn brokers specialize in evaluating a wide variety of items, and they must be able to make a deal that accurately reflects the item’s condition, value and demand. On average, you can expect to sell an item for about 30 to 60 percent of its online or retail value.

So, in other words, don’t expect to walk in and be able to get top dollar for a bunch of stuff that’s been gathering dust in the back corner of your shed. Instead, take a little time to clean up your item, make sure it’s working properly, round up any accessories that go with it – like remotes, instruction manuals, etc. – and look at several online selling sites to see what similar items are selling for. This should give you a better idea of what the pawnbroker will offer, before you even walk in the door.

Also, be mindful of other factors that could affect your potential offer, like time of year, location, or customer demand. For example, don’t expect to get much interest in selling your snowblower if it’s the middle of summer, or you’re in an area that receives little to no snow. Same thing goes if you’re trying to sell an air conditioner in the middle of winter. However, pawn shops are always looking for certain items that have good resale value and are always in demand, like jewelry, precious metals, electronics, power tools, gaming consoles, watches and firearms, so expect to receive a decent offer on these goods, regardless of the time of year or your location.  

Expect a no-hassle experience

We’ve all had an expensive repair or bill pop up at the worst possible time. The last thing you want to worry about is dealing with a lot of paperwork or having to wait to get the cash you need. If you find yourself in a situation where you need some fast cash, relax. Most people are pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy pawn shop transactions can be. Whether you’re looking to pawn, sell or buy, you can expect a convenient, hassle-free experience. Most pawn shop loans can be done in minutes with very little paperwork, and unlike traditional loans, there are no credit checks required and there’s no impact on your credit.

At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For more than 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high-level service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you. Visit us online to see some of our outstanding merchandise or to get a free estimate!

Summer Must-Haves to Buy at a Pawn Shop

Have you noticed how your buying habits change depending on the season? Winter calls for warmer clothes, coats and hot chocolate, spring and summer shift to gardening supplies and vacation gear, while the fall focuses on back-to-school supplies and getting ready for winter.

Since summer is now here, you may be thinking of special items you need to entertain the kids, try out a new hobby, get stuff done around the house, or take along on your next vacation. Check out your local pawn shop and use these tips below to save some cash without sacrificing quality and variety!


Bikes are not only great exercise, they also help your kids get outside and explore, especially in the summer. You can easily find quality, gently-used bicycles for kids of all ages – and adults – at most pawn shops.


Many homeowners like to take advantage of time off and good summer weather to tackle a DIY project around the house. Whether you’re refreshing your rooms or home exterior with a fresh coat of paint, building a tree house or swing set with your kids or remodeling your kitchen, most pawn shops carry a wide range of used power tools and specialized equipment at reasonable prices to help you get the job done. 

Look for items like drills, saws, woodworking equipment, and combination sets like screwdrivers or wrenches. You can try out items right in the shop before you buy, and most pawn shops offer a limited warranty, so if something happens after you get home, you’re not stuck with tools that don’t work.

Yard equipment

Spring and summer are also peak seasons for working in the yard. Whether you need some handy tools to help you trim back overgrown bushes, plant a garden, do some much-needed tree work or just cut the grass, visit your local pawn shop. Most pawn shops regularly feature all kinds of yard and garden equipment, from push mowers and riding mowers to weed eaters, blowers, gardening tools and more.

Sports Gear

No matter what type of outdoor sports you and your family enjoy, you’ll likely find excellent options at your local pawn shop. Many people upgrade and pawn their old gear in the spring and summer, so you can often find great deals on all types of sports gear and equipment. Look for things like surfboards, kayaks, canoes, boats, jet skis, life vests, golf clubs, tennis rackets, soccer gear and much more.

Hunting, camping and fishing supplies

While summer may not be ideal for hunting, it doesn’t hurt to check out your local pawn shop in the summer to find rifles, pistols, ammunition, sights, clothing, camo, boots and other quality gear for your fall hunting trips. If you and your family enjoy camping or fishing instead, you can find gently used fishing poles, rods, tents, tackle boxes, coolers, backpacks, sleeping bags and everything else you may need to enjoy your next outdoor adventure.  


Whether you’re looking for a new hobby to express your creativity or looking for some new camera gear to help you document your next trip, visit your local pawn shop first. Pawn shops often carry high-end cameras, lenses and other photography gear from several of the best camera manufacturers, and you can buy a well-known brand with numerous features and accessories for far less than retail.

Drones and remote-control items

Drones continue to grow in popularity, and if you or your kids are interested in trying one out without breaking your wallet, a pawn shop may be the answer. Most pawn shops carry a great lineup of incredible drones and other remote-control cars, trucks, boats and helicopters that are fun and easy to operate, at prices you can easily afford. Buying drones and remote-control toys at a pawn shop can be a great way to improve your hand-eye coordination, or just get outside with the kids and have some fun.

Wedding and anniversary gifts

Summer is generally full of weddings and anniversaries, and while the happy couple is unlikely to be registered at the pawn shop, you can still find some great gift ideas and deals at your local pawn shop. Most pawn shops offer extensive selections on unique pieces of modern and antique jewelry at a fraction of their normal retail price. Pawn shops are also great places to buy a quality, affordable engagement ring! And if you’re looking for a special anniversary gift for your loved one, you’ll find a wide variety of cool anniversary gift ideas – from high-end custom jewelry to beautiful cufflinks, watches, necklaces and more.


“I’m bored!” How many parents have heard that from their kids, especially on those summer days when it’s too hot to go outside? You might need some high-end gadgets to help entertain them – and get them out of your hair! Pawn shops carry all kinds of quality pre-owned electronics and accessories, from TVs, computers, laptops, cell phones and gaming systems to DVDs, video games, tablets, headphones and everything in-between. Most pawn shops offer the latest technology at a fraction of the price you’d pay at a retail outlet. And unlike buying from an independent seller, you’ll also get a warranty that what you buy has been tested thoroughly and can be returned if something goes wrong once you get it home.

Why Gene’s Pawn?

Whether you’ve got home improvement projects to tackle, new hobbies or sports your family wants to try, or you’re just looking for cool, new ways to get out and explore this summer, check out Gene’s Pawn. We have a wide variety of gently used goods available, so you can find just the right gear to get you through all your summer adventures and projects, without putting a strain on your bank account. 

With over 30 years in business and three locations across the Lowcountry of South Carolina to serve you, our staff caters to you. We listen carefully, carry a vast array of quality merchandise at low prices and provide the professional expertise and advice to ensure you are getting the most value from shopping with us. Visit us today and let us show you why Gene’s is the best!

How Pawn Shops Make Money

Have you ever wondered how  pawnshops make money? Since pawnshops function as both a regular retail shop and as a money lender, it can be a bit confusing. Let’s make it simple. Earning interest on personal loans and profits on retail sales are the two main sources of income for a standard pawnshop. They can also make money by providing extra services, such as money transfers or layaway, depending on their specific business model and/or local market.

Key Takeaways

  • The top two ways pawn shops make money is by making personal loans and by reselling retail items.
  • A pawnshop owner makes a loan to a customer, who pledges a personal item as collateral. The customer gives the item to the pawnshop to hold during the term of the loan.
  • If the customer does not repay the loan or keeps up with the monthly interest charges, the customer forfeits ownership of the item they put up as collateral to the pawnshop.
  • Pawn shops usually charge higher interest rates on personal loans because they assume more risk from customers potentially defaulting on loans.
  • Pawn shops generally earn about 65% of their income from personal loans, interest and fees, while they earn about 35% of their income from selling retail merchandise.

Making Personal Loans

Standard pawn shops typically make most of their income from personal loans, including interest and fees. How does this work? Let’s look at an example:

  • The customer brings a gold watch to the pawn shop as collateral.
  • The pawnbroker carefully examines the watch to assess its value at $200 and offers a cash loan of $100 on the spot.
  • The customer agrees to the offer and has 30 days to pay back the loan, plus any interest. 
  • If the customer doesn’t pay back the loan in time, the pawnshop keeps the watch and sells it to make its money back, plus any profit.

Personal loans can vary greatly from pawn shop to pawn shop, even in the same area. Why? A lot depends on the shop’s current inventory and customer demand. While loans are based primarily on the item’s value, the pawnbroker also must consider how many similar items they currently have in the shop’s inventory and how quickly the item might sell if the customer defaults on the loan. So, for example, if you bring in a TV as collateral, and the shop is already full of other TVs for sale, you probably won’t get a high loan offer. However, if you bring in a unique high-value item, like a designer handbag or a piece of antique jewelry, chances are the shop will offer you a higher loan amount.

Also, in areas where there are multiple pawn shops nearby, you may be able to shop around and see if you can get a more competitive offer elsewhere. Most pawn shops compete directly with each other for business and will offer higher loan amounts and competitive prices to attract more customers to their shop.

Pawnshop loan terms, interest rates and fees

Monthly interest rates charged by pawnshops generally vary from as low as 2 to 3% all the way up to 25%. State laws determine what pawn shops can charge for interest on personal loans, and state regulations can vary greatly from state to state.  

Pawn shops generally make loans on a 30-day basis, but they can also be extended, based on personal circumstances. To avoid forfeiting the property put up as collateral, the customer must either pay back the loan in full plus the interest charge by the end of the 30-day period or simply pay the monthly interest charge, which extends the loan for another month. If the customer pays the minimum monthly interest on time each month, most shops are willing to extend the loan indefinitely. However, this means they may hold onto your stuff indefinitely, too, so just remember that by extending the loan, you are essentially paying the pawn shop to store the item you put up for collateral.

Be aware that most pawn shops make loan offers around 25% to 50% of the expected resale value of the item you’re pledging as collateral, so don’t expect your loan to be worth the full value of your item. Why? In addition to your loan, the pawnbroker must consider the potential costs to store, clean and repair your item, especially if you default on your loan, as well as what it would take to advertise it for resale and any general overhead expenses.

Selling retail merchandise

Pawn shops make about a third of their total income from retail sales. This includes any merchandise the broker bought directly from customers, as well as any items that were pledged as collateral by customers who then defaulted on their loans.

So, when you take an item to a pawn shop, you’ll always have the option to sell or pawn. You can always ask the pawnbroker how much more you would get for selling your item outright rather than pawning it. Most shops offer about 10% to 15% more to buy items than they would offer to pawn, mostly because it’s a much easier transaction for them, resulting in a good quality item that can be immediately resold, often for a decent profit.

Providing extra services

In some locations, pawn shops may offer additional services for a small fee, including check cashing and bill payment services to money transfers and shipping locations for major delivery carriers. Providing these services not only helps the local community, but it also helps the shop owner bring in additional customers and potential income.

Gene’s is here to help!

At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For over 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high level of service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you, or visit us  online to get a free estimate for your items or shop our outstanding selection from the convenience of your couch!

What Can I Pawn to Get the Most Money?

When people think of pawning something, they likely think of jewelry or electronics. But there are many other things you can pawn quickly for decent money. In fact, there are a lot of common household items that are always in demand with pawnbrokers.

What do pawn shops buy most?

Generally, pawn shops will buy just about anything that has some value to it. However, pawn shops are always interested in buying big-ticket items they can sell quickly, including jewelry, guns, electronics and tools.

Before you decide to visit your local pawn shop, make sure you grab your driver’s license or ID and proof of ownership of the item. Doing this now will save you some time, help the pawnbroker process your transaction easier, and make you a more valuable customer. If you’re pawning a gun, make sure you also bring your concealed weapon license or state permit if required.

What items are considered high demand?

  • New, vintage or estate jewelry – Any type or condition, as long as the gems are intact
  • Precious metals (gold, silver), gemstones and Rolex watches
  • Electronics – Everything ranging from old cell phones, tablets, iPhones, iPads and laptops, to even high-end headsets
  • Guns – Any type or condition, but newer firearms or unique collectors’ items are more likely to get more money
  • Power tools – Drills, saws, sanders, grinders
  • Musical instruments – Guitars, violins, cellos, trumpets and pianos are most popular
  • Collectible coins or stamps – These must be in mint condition to fetch the most money
  • Electronics – Flat-screen TVs, laptops, tablets, cell phones or computers
  • Furniture – Think of bigger pieces, like couches, chairs, dressers or bedroom sets
  • Yard equipment – Lawn mowers (especially riding lawn mowers), weed trimmers, etc.
  • Expensive camping gear – Large, multi-room tents, heavy-duty sleeping bags or other expensive gear
  • Fitness equipment – Treadmills or ellipticals are most popular, but don’t forget a good set of weights or other premium gear
  • Sporting equipment – Golf clubs or fishing rods are probably the most common, but don’t overlook things like snowboards, skis or surfboards if you are in the right area for them to sell
  • Gaming systems – Xbox, Nintendo, PlayStation

What other items sell well in pawnshops?

While the items listed above are nearly guaranteed to generate quick cash in a pawn shop, there are also some other high-end or expensive items that pawn shops deal in regularly that may not be quite as common.

Vintage technology – Got an old stereo receiver or older model computer (hello, original Macintosh) that still works well? Or perhaps you were lucky enough to score an original, unopened iPhone. These types of items are harder to find and would be scooped up quickly by potential buyers.

Vehicles – Not every pawnshop deals in cars, trucks, RVs or motorcycles, but if you find one that does, you can probably pawn your vehicle for a good chunk of cash. Make sure you can demonstrate ownership of the vehicle in question, and don’t be surprised to be asked to leave all your keys and documentation once you complete the transaction.

DiamondsQuality diamonds are always in high demand at pawn shops across the country. Whether you have a cut stone or it’s part of an old ring or necklace, it can’t hurt to get it appraised before you walk into your local pawn shop. Make sure you understand the stone’s quality and size, so you get the best deal possible.

Designer clothing, handbags or accessories – Fashionistas and bargain hunters alike are always looking to scoop up luxury pieces at bargain prices. If your items are clean, in great condition and easy to authenticate, you have a better chance of pawning it for even more money.

Appliances – While most people think of small hand-held appliances like mixers or toasters, there are always people looking for great deals on big-ticket appliances like refrigerators, washers/dryers, or air conditioners.

Collectibles – Depending on the item, there is often a market for specific collectibles. Remember how hard it was to get your hands on some Beanie Babies, special edition dolls, collector’s cards or retro comic books? That’s still true today, and collectors are always looking for unique pieces to fill out their favorite collections. See if you have anything like vinyl records, vintage ads, classic video games/gaming systems or even any old sports cards sitting around. Chances are they could earn you some quick cash.

Tips to keep in mind when pawning

While pawning items isn’t difficult, keeping these tips in mind can help you earn even more on your items:

  • Be confident.
  • Be polite and friendly – a great attitude goes a long way!
  • Understand you may need to negotiate, and don’t be surprised if the pawnbroker asks you a lot of questions about your item – they have a business and reputation to protect, too, so be willing to provide as much information about your item as you can.
  • Do your research before you step foot in the pawn shop – take some time to understand what your stuff is worth beforehand, so you have a better idea of what’s reasonable.
  • Ask questions – if you don’t understand something, or you want clarity – ask for it.
  • Visit multiple pawn shops to comparison shop – you’re not obligated to pawn or sell anywhere, and visiting different shops can often lead to different quotes for your item.
  • Bring multiple items to sell, especially if you’re trying to get a certain amount of money from pawning.

Visit Gene’s Pawn Shop today!

If you need cash quickly and have valuable items you wouldn’t immediately miss, a short-term pawn loan could be a great option for you. At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For more than 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high level of service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you, or visit us online to see some of our outstanding items or to get a free estimate.

What It Takes to Open a Pawn Shop

If you’ve ever considered opening your own pawn shop, you may have thought it was simple – set up a shop, fill it with inventory and open the doors. However, there’s a lot more planning and research that goes into opening and operating a pawn shop. Let’s dive into what it takes to open a pawn shop and create a successful business.

Do your research

Visit as many pawn shops as you can, both inside and outside of your immediate market area. Note what works well for each shop, as well as where they’re located and what kind of customers they attract. If there are multiple shops within the same area, pay attention to how they distinguish themselves. Attend industry trade shows and speak with fellow owners. This not only helps you make important business contacts, it also helps you learn the industry more quickly. Reading up on the industry in trade magazines or online can also help you learn more and clear up any misconceptions you may have about owning a pawn shop.

Understand the requirements needed to open a pawn shop

One of the biggest misconceptions about the pawn industry is how regulated it is. Because pawn shops are considered “financial institutions” under federal law, becoming a pawnbroker means you will have to understand and follow a number of federal, state and local regulations. At the federal level alone, this includes the IRS Code, the U.S. Patriot Act, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, and the Truth in Lending Act, as well as federal firearms licensing and consumer privacy and protection regulations. There are severe fines and penalties for owners who fail to comply, either knowingly or unknowingly, with these regulations. 

Licensing at the state, city or county levels varies by state, so it’s important to check thoroughly at all levels to make sure you’re adhering to the proper requirements. Besides obtaining some sort of business license, you’ll likely need to register for other licenses, including a pawnbroker and/or secondhand dealer license, a precious metal dealer license, a firearms dealer license and possibly more.

Focus on quality, not quantity

Most new pawnbrokers are eager to set up their showroom and start filling it up with all sorts of used merchandise. However, it’s more important to keep the “money lender” perspective in mind at first. Make sure you have sufficient start-up capital available to begin building up your pawn loan base. Make it as easy and clear as possible for potential customers to get the cash they need quickly and conveniently. The inventory will come quickly after that.

Also, make sure you have the right knowledge and tools to test and identify precious metals and gemstones. In most pawn shops, fine jewelry accounts for over 50% of items pledged for a pawn loan or offered for sale. If you or your staff can’t properly identify a diamond from a cubic zirconia or a solid gold ring from a heavily plated one, you will have a hard time attracting and keeping good customers.

Communicate clearly

Based on your location and the state and local regulations, make sure you adopt clear policies and procedures for how you do business. Ensure your customers are just as clear on how you run your operation as you and your staff are. This includes everything from the minimum amount of time you can hold collateral from pawn loans or how you store and secure merchandise, to how you complete a pawn loan transaction, including all the applicable finance charges and fees.

Create a community of support

Set up time to meet with your local law enforcement team. Meeting with local law enforcement helps you and your customers in several ways.

First, it helps build trust and transparency right from the beginning. Second, it not only helps protect your business and your customers, it helps deter crime. No pawn shop owner wants to be suspected of dealing with stolen property, so being proactive with your local sheriff’s office and police department helps recover stolen goods and punish thieves.

Design with your customer in mind

Your customers should feel safe and comfortable in your shop. It’s important to select colors, lighting, signage, flooring and other design finishes and security features for your space that make your customers feel welcome. You’ll also want to think about available floor space versus inventory, and how to best lay out the flow of your shop, based on your customers’ needs. For example, your jewelry area should be clean and brightly lit, while other areas of the shop may feel more home-like, with seating areas, muted lighting or warm colors and textures.

Focus on ways you can specialize

Again, the name of the game here is distinguishing how your shop is unique and why customers should shop with you. Some shops may specialize in a particular niche or selection of items, especially if the store staff is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about it, whether that’s comic books, sports memorabilia or antique furniture. However, being able to offer a wide variety of specialty items means you can be more creative in your business and potentially attract even more customers.

If you do specialize, you’ll likely need more education and/or tools to properly authenticate luxury items, such as high-end watches, vintage jewelry or exclusive name-brand handbags. Customers expect you’ve done your due diligence to thoroughly review and verify legitimate luxury items, so take advantage of training opportunities, expert advice and authentication tools that help you build specialty merchandise into your business.

The Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn difference

As you can see, it takes much more than just stocking a lot of secondhand merchandise to successfully open a pawn shop. And, with over 30 years in business and three locations to serve you across the Lowcountry, we here at Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn have worked hard to create and establish a business that caters to you, our dedicated customers. We listen carefully, carry a vast variety of quality merchandise, and provide the professional expertise, tools and advice to ensure you are getting the absolute best value possible when you shop at Gene’s. Visit us today and let us show you why Gene’s is a cut above the rest!

Consignment Shops vs Pawn Shops

With spring cleaning season in full gear, you might be eager to clear out some space and get rid of clothing that no longer fits your style or other gently used items around your house. If you’ve got some personal items you want to sell, read on to figure out the key differences between consignment shops and pawn shops.

There are three main differences when comparing consignment shops vs pawn shops:

  • When you give up ownership of your item
  • When the seller (you!) is paid
  • How the shop is paid

Item Ownership in Consignment Shops vs Pawn Shops

At a pawn shop, the item you use for collateral on a short-term loan is still yours all the way through the term of the loan. The pawn shop keeps and stores your item safely for you, but it still belongs to you. If you decide to sell your item outright or fail to meet the terms of the pawn loan, you give up ownership of your item to the pawn shop.

Consignment shops are designed specifically to sell your unwanted items directly to the public, which then earns you a percentage of the sale price. When you leave your items at a consignment shop, you are giving them immediate ownership of your stuff. If it sells, you receive a cut of the profits, while the shop takes the rest. If the items don’t sell within a specified time, which could be anywhere from 30 to 90 days, some shops may still try to sell them at a discounted price, or you can get the item back.

When You Get Paid

If you want to earn some extra cash for your unwanted items, but aren’t in a hurry to get it, a consignment shop may be a better option. If, however, you need that cash immediately, or you need the cash quickly but don’t necessarily want to sell your items, you’re better off going to a pawn shop.

With consignment shops, you receive money when the item sells. Depending on the store’s policies, you may be waiting 90 days or more to get your money. You also run the risk that if your item doesn’t sell, you won’t get paid at all. However, if your item doesn’t sell on consignment, you can still get your stuff back and then try to sell it another way.

With pawn shops, you get cash on the spot. When you visit the pawn shop, the employee will ask if you want to sell or pawn, so you have the option of selling your item(s) right then and there and walking away with your money. If you decide to pawn, you get the best of both worlds. You maintain ownership of your stuff and can use it as collateral for a short-term loan. 

Getting a pawn loan is quick, easy, and hassle-free. Most loans can be done in minutes, require very little paperwork, are paid immediately and, unlike traditional loans, have zero effect on your credit. Once you repay the loan, usually within 30 days, you get your stuff back. You can even use it as collateral multiple times, as long as you repay each loan on time and become a trusted repeat customer. In fact, most pawn shops prefer to issue loans rather than buy or sell personal property, because it’s easier and more cost-effective.

How the Shop Is Paid

Consignment shops and their sellers get paid when items are sold. Generally, the consignment shop receives a percentage of the item’s sale price, while the seller receives the rest. Because consignment shops typically have standard store policies on how these percentages are charged, you should be aware of these terms and ask any questions you have before you give your items over for consignment.

By comparison, pawn shops get paid in two ways. First, if you pay back your pawn shop loan in full, the pawn shop earns interest on the loan. About 80% of all pawn loans in the U.S. are paid back in full. However, if you don’t pay back the loan on time, the pawn shop can then sell your item and keep the entire profit earned from that sale.

Consignment shops and pawn shops offer different advantages for people looking to make some money from their gently used goods. Hopefully these tips can help you determine which option works best for you, depending on your needs and personal situation. If you need cash quickly and have valuable items that you wouldn’t immediately miss, a short-term pawn loan could be a great option for you. 

At Gene’s Jewelry & Pawn, we specialize in treating customers like family and offering you the best prices for your items. For more than 30 years, we have provided our customers with the high level of service they deserve. Visit one of our locations in North Charleston, Moncks Corner or Goose Creek, SC, today and see how we can help you. Or visit us online to see some of our outstanding items for sale or to get a free estimate for your items!

Buying Resale vs Retail

These days, buying anything, especially new products, can be a bit of a challenge. Between price increases, product shortages, delays and all sorts of other factors, shopping for the stuff we want can be downright time-consuming and frustrating. However, more people are turning to shopping resale versus retail and discovering the many benefits of buying gently used items.

By 2023, the secondhand and resale market is expected to reach $53 billion in sales. The resale industry is booming – growing 11 times faster than traditional retail – thanks to a combination of factors, including inflation, supply chain shortages and customer demand for more sustainable, affordable ways to shop. 

When it comes to shopping for things like clothes, toys, electronics, furniture and more, our tendency is to buy them new. Let’s face it, it’s fast and convenient to be able to pop into the closest big-box store and pick up whatever you need. But have you ever really stopped to think about what buying retail may really cost you? Buying all new products not only costs you more money, but it also has a significant impact on our environment. Bargain hunters can easily tell you there are many benefits to buying gently used goods, including big savings, more value, less impact on the environment and extended life for many of the things we use every day.

Saving Money by Buying Resale vs Retail

This is perhaps one of the most obvious and well-known benefits of buying secondhand. You can often find gently used goods priced up to half off what you would pay if you were buying new. And those savings can seriously add up over time, which means you can buy even more for the same amount you would spend on a brand-new item.

Whether you’re shopping for furniture, power tools, musical instruments, jewelry, or electronics, you’ll be able to find quality items at lower prices than if you bought them brand new. You can also find name-brand clothing, shoes, luxury purses and more for a fraction of the cost. By spending less, your money goes much further.

For example, did you know you can often find genuine luxury items, like coveted Louis Vuitton handbags, at your neighborhood pawn shop? You’ll be amazed at the wide variety of quality merchandise you can find at deeply discounted prices. Check out our tips for the best things to buy at a pawn shop and start looking for great ways to lighten the impact on your budget by shopping secondhand.

Helping the Planet and Reducing Waste

When you consider all the resources that go into creating new products, as well as all the packaging that goes along with it, it’s no wonder our environment is feeling the pinch. For instance, did you know it takes an average of 1,800 gallons of water to make a new pair of jeans?

Buying secondhand means the natural resources and energy that went into creating those goods have already been used. In fact, when you buy used, you’re giving well-loved items a second life, saving them from being thrown out, reducing waste, and preventing old items from ending up in landfills or incinerators.

Supporting Local Businesses and Your Neighbors

Whether you’re buying from a pawn shop, thrift store, consignment shop, vintage store, or a pop-up market down the street, the money you spend stays in your community. Besides being a trusted reseller, pawn shops also provide another valuable community service by offering convenient short-term loans for immediate cash. So, by shopping at your local pawn shop, you’re also supporting local businesses and your neighbors and helping your local economy. Not only do they appreciate your business more than the big-box retailer down the street, they support your neighborhood by using the dollars you spend to invest in their business and supporting other area businesses.

By buying resale at a local pawn shop, you can also benefit more than if you buy from an unknown seller online. From saving time to offering more security, flexibility and convenience, buying gently used merchandise at a local pawn shop is more advantageous than buying on Craigslist or other online resellers.  

Finding and/or Creating Unique Items

Besides offering numerous benefits, half the fun of thrift shopping, browsing consignment shops or venturing into a pawn shop is the thrill of the chase. By shopping resale, you never know what you may find, and if you treat it like a fun adventure, you’ll reap even more benefits from your shopping experience. Whether you’re looking for an interesting piece of furniture for your home, a new outfit to wear for a special event, or a cool gift for a special loved one, you’ll find unique, sometimes hard-to-find items at your local pawn shop.

When you buy new, you’re often buying a mass-produced item your friends and neighbors might all have. But by buying used, you get to own special items you can’t find just anywhere. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer or want to make a special piece even more unique, refurbishing used furniture or rehabbing gently loved home goods are great ways to put your crafty skills to work and create one-of-a-kind pieces no one else has.

Appreciating the Art of Second-Hand Shopping

Now that you know more about the benefits, you can better appreciate how fun and exciting it can be to buy secondhand items. And if you’re new to buying gently used items, we can certainly help. Gene’s Pawn is committed to treating you like family. Our business is built on trust, reliability and honesty. We offer only the highest quality merchandise and an extensive collection of pre-owned jewelry, electronics, home goods and much, much more. 

Visit one of our three greater Charleston area locations today and take your time strolling through the shop. You never know what you may discover, but we can guarantee you’ll find the best selection for the best price at Gene’s. When you’re looking for a great bargain on a wide variety of quality merchandise, Gene’s is the perfect place! Visit us today – we look forward to seeing you soon!