A few weeks ago I was looking to upgrade from the One Plus 6t to the One Plus 7 Pro. I wanted that all screen display and that 90 hz refresh rate. I figured with the One Plus trade in program I should at minimum get half off. Boy was I surprised when I saw that they were going to offer me only $240 for a phone that was barely 6 months old. So I decided to turn to Swappa and see what they could do for me.

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Swappa is a site where people can go to sell and purchase electronics, particularly smartphones. Started in 2010 by Ben Edwards, Swappa is a user market that focuses on allowing members to sell “gently used” tech without the junk. Where they try and be different from EBay and Craigslist is in streamlining the process by not allowing blacklisted phones, simplifying the process, and making the fees low. I personally bought 3 devices from them and sold 2, and the process is what’s advertised. But even for those who may be new, they have a great staff willing to help you out.

 I had a chat with an experienced seller who has sold over 200 devices so we can provide you, the user, tips on how to make selling your phone smooth and easy. I will share their tips towards the end after I walk you through how to get your device sold.

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If you have not done so already, set up an account with Swappa. The account is free and easy to set up. Also go ahead and set up a PayPal account as well, as this will be the way you will go about purchasing and getting paid for your device. Going through PayPal provide both parties protection in the event the deal goes South.


Prepare your device for sale

Selling a phone is real easy to do. Just click on the tab to “Sell”, choose the category of the device you are selling (iPhones, [Phones Android, Windows, etc], Video Games, Home Tech, Laptops, iPads + Tablets, or select All Categories to see a list if you do not know which category your device falls in).

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Click on the phone you are planning on selling. Next click on which carrier your phone is through. You will get a page to select the color, storage, memory, edition, and model. If you do not know, or forgot, you can go to your phone settings, and scroll down to the About Phone section. After all that, you will get to choose your asking price + $10 fee that is passed on to the buyer. Under the price is an information box that will give you an idea what the other listings were (lowest, recent sold price, etc).

My suggestion is to look at what the phone has been selling at and go from there. If you want to sell quick, drop the price a little, but if you want to get max value you may have to be willing to wait it out a little.



You will be prompted to write down your listing number on a piece of paper and include that in the photos of your device. This is where you can shine. First make sure to clean your device with a microfiber cleaning cloth. Clean the screen and your device to inspect it of any defects. This is personally why I recommend keeping your phone in a case and with a screen protector. It will protect your device from the wear and tear that may not damage your device, but will keep you from being able to get the maximum value for your phone.  

Once you get your device cleaned, make sure to take photos from multiple angles. Top, sides, back, with screen on, and screen off. You want to capture every angle and speck so the buyer can see what they are buying. And be honest about the device. An example is I noticed a small speck on the back of my phone. I suspected it was dust but as I cleaned it more, it turned out to be a small nick. Something that could have easily been missed, in fact I missed it at first and only noticed it in the right light. I changed my listing from “Like New” to “Good” and notated in the device description that there was a minor nick on the back that was barely noticeable. This was done so that if the buyer complained about it later, I could point to it being notated in the descriptions.

Presentation is everything. Doing just the little things can be the difference in you getting your device sold, especially if you want it sold in a hurry. Keep the box and packaging stored away so that it can be shipped in its original packaging. Books, cords, sim ejection tool, all should be cleaned and in the box. I personally leave the sim ejection tool in the original packaging, as I have an extra one I keep on my key ring.


The extras will set you apart

I will personally buy 2 or 3 cases for a phone. Partly because I like a different look. The cases that I buy on Amazon are about 10-15 bucks. Same for screen protectors. I will buy a box of glass screen protectors and will have another set as a spare, that 90% of the time will not get opened. So what I will do is take a picture of the phone, the original box, cord, and cases laid out neat and cleaned up. And when I go to ship the device I will make sure to add a pack of screen protectors. 

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What happens next.

When a person agrees to buy, you will get a notification by email, and you will see on Swappa the buyer. You will also notice that your PayPal will be loaded with the money from the purchaser. At that point the buyer will confirm their address, and you have 2 days to ship out the device. Once you ship the device, save the tracking number as you will need to enter that into Swappa. The purchaser will get the device and get a chance to verify they got what you said you sent. And then they will be able to close and rate you.

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A tip from the experts


At the beginning of the article, I said I talked to someone who sold over 200 devices on Swappa. I wanted to ask that person some tips to make the process smoother for those trying to sell their phone.

Their advice below:

  • If it is a hot device you need sold, and it is a “busier section” pay the $5 fee to make it a “Featured” listing
  • Be honest and transparent. Take a lot of good photos, and respond to questions as soon as possible.
  • To avoid fraud, ship to the address tied to their PayPal account. This will ensure you will maintain PayPal’s seller protection.
  • You get two days to ship your device. Take the first day to reach out to the person and make sure they are legit. A staffer can help by checking their account, but you as the seller should be active in the process. An example comment to make to the buyer, “Hey, thanks for purchasing my device. I was wanting to let you know I plan on sending your item using _______carrier and will require a signature upon delivery. I hope that will not be an issue. Thanks!”

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I personally used the advice above, and had my device sold without issue. The biggest point is to take the time to reach out to the buyer before you rush out to mail your device. This is the internet, and as much as Swappa work to make sure they weed out any junk device and fraudulent buyers, anyone can make an account. And you can not always know what the person on the other end of the keyboard is thinking. But if you follow the steps above, you will lessen any chance of being a victim of fraud.

Like I said, I personally sold several devices and purchased iPhones, iPads, android phones, and I have been satisfied with every purchase. Even when I as a buyer screwed up, the staff was friendly and helped smooth everything out for both me and the seller. And because of this, I feel more comfortable buying and selling a used phone through Swappa over other platforms.

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