The Difference Between Pawning And Selling


If you are new to pawn shops or have never had to use a pawn shop before then you might be a little confused between the two very basic services that most pawn shops offer.

That is that the pawn shop will either offer to pawn (or loan against) your item(s) or that they can also offer to buy your item outright.

Now, on the surface level it might seem very similar. You are taking an item to the pawn shop and leaving it with them and in exchange they are giving you cash you can use to cover bills or other emergency expenses that have popped up out of no place on you.


Seems pretty similar at first but the truth is that there is a huge difference between pawning your items or selling them to a pawn shop.

I know that this might get a little confusing for some people who are completely new to the whole pawn industry so I’m going to break this down into baby sized chunks that will definitely help get you through these two concepts so that the next time you go to a pawn shop, you feel in complete control over what is going on and the options you have presented to you.

difference between pawning and selling
The major differences between pawning and selling an item is if you can get it back in the future and how much money the pawn shop offers you for it.

What Is Pawning or A Pawn Loan

When you pawn something you are essentially just leaving it at the pawn shop for them to hold and they are going to give you some money so that you can handle whatever responsibilities that you have in front of you.

When you have the money saved up, you can then go back to the pawn shop and repay the pawn loan plus any interest that was owed on it. When you do this the pawn shop will then return your items in the same condition in which you left them.

In other words, it’s a lot like letting a buddy hold onto your TV because you need to borrow $100 to take care of something. When you give your friend back the $100, you will get your TV back.

Sounds pretty reasonable right?

Now there is one catch that you need to know about. It’s not as if time is unlimited on the loan. You only have a certain set period of time during which you have to repay that loan to get your items back. Normally it’s someplace between 60-120 days but that depends on the state you live in and the laws that govern how pawn shops operate within that state.

If for whatever reason you aren’t able to come back into the pawn shop and repay that loan on time as you agreed to, the pawn shop will then keep whatever items you made a loan against and try to resell them so that they can get their money back.

However, in most states you can make monthly payments on the loan to extend it and thereby extending the time that you have to get your items back. However, how that is done will depend on the state you live in as well and you will have to ask your local pawn shops if they offer that option and how exactly it works in your state.

What Does It Mean To Sell Something

Okay, now when you sell something to a pawn shop, it may seem very similar in a lot of ways.

You are giving the pawn shop something and they are paying you money for it. However, unlike a pawn, when you sell something you can’t come back and get it later. Whatever you sold the pawn shop is now theirs to do with whatever they want to do with it. You no longer have claim or right to getting that item back.

So imagine it this way. Let’s say that the same buddy of yours from above has the $100 you need again but now instead of just loaning it to you, he wants to buy your TV from you because he needs a TV. He gives you the $100, you give him the TV and it’s all done. There’s no getting it back after that.

That’s exactly how selling something to a pawn shop works as well. Once it’s theirs, it’s theirs no matter what other circumstances may arise or come up for you down the road.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that when you sell something that you will often get more money for it than if you had made a loan on it. There’s a few accounting reasons for this, but it’s important to know because if you need the most money possible it turns out that you best option may be to just sell whatever the item in question is so you can make ends meet or cover whatever responsibility has come up.

Just remember though, you can’t come back and get it later and if they do agree to resell it to you – it will be at a much higher price than if you had just made a loan against it instead.

Which Is The Best Option

This basically comes down to two things:

  1. Do You Need Or Want The Item Back In The Future
  2. Do You Need The Absolute Most Money Possible And Have Nothing Else To Pawn

If you need or want the item back in the future then the best option available to you is to just simply pawn the merchandise so that you have the right and option to come back and get those items at a future date.

If however you need the absolute most money possible and don’t have anything else that you can reasonably pawn, then you may have to sell those items to get you the money you need to handle whatever it is that has come up.

Unfortunately this is not a scenario where you can have your cake and eat it to. It’s basically one or the other and you will have to decide which option fits your current needs the best.