South Africans are enjoying greater access to broadband via free WiFi initiatives and urban hotspots, so it is no surprise that laptops and PCs are a hot commodity – particularly second hand ones.

“Laptops are one of the most requested and fastest selling items on Gumtree,” says Claire Cobbledick, head of marketing for Gumtree South Africa. “There is constant churn in the category which is why it’s important to price your second hand computer correctly.”

To assist prospective buyers and sellers, Gumtree has created a laptop price checker that enables shoppers to quickly and easily determine which models are selling at which price.

“The checker displays the average selling price of each model and allows you to drag your cursor along the pricing scale to determine the price point at which your laptop will sell the fastest,” Cobbledick explains. “For example, a Dell Inspiron’s average selling price on Gumtree is R4 195.26 but if you are willing to drop your price to R3815 you are guaranteed a very quick sale. Of course, you could also choose to go for the maximum selling price, which is about R4600 according to the checker.”

The checker automatically draws real-time information from  the classifieds’ site to determine what sellers are asking for their various laptops. “While pricing is obviously influenced by the condition and age of the item, as well as demand, it’s a great guideline for shoppers and sellers. There is no need to overpay or underprice if you have a holistic overview of the market – which has been tricky to establish in the second hand space until now.”

Cobbledick advises customers to be careful when selling high-value electronics. “Never pay for an item until you’ve actually verified that it works as advertised and until you’ve physically received it. Meet in a public place such as a police station or a coffee shop and if possible, bring a friend with you. If you are receiving payment via EFT, make sure the funding has cleared in your account before handing over an item. We highly recommend using our preferred third party facilitator Shepherd, powered by Standard Bank, for high-value transactions or if you would like to have an item couriered. That way there is no need to meet in person and payment is guaranteed if the buyer accepts the item.”