are we are own worst enemies?

Why do audiophiles sell their used equipment for 50% or more, off of the retail price. I feel that if a piece of used equipment is in mint condition, 65% of retail would be a fair asking price. Since most of the sellers on audiogon sell their equipment for 50% of retail, I am forced to do the same, if I want to make a sale. I find this practice strange, especially when dealers will only discount 10% of retail on new equipment. Anyone care to comment?
You pose an interesting question. Audiogon is a market that consists of buyers and sellers. Economic theory on free markets states that at some point price equilibrium is met. It is set at point where supply and demand meet. When there is a greater demand than supply then prices rise. When there is a greater supply than demand then prices fall. It is no different in this market. We would demand higher prices for our equipment if we could get it. I would argue that the market has determined acceptable prices based on what we will pay. Technological advances in digital technology has not helped those of us who have digital items for sale either.
Go to eBay and sell your stuff for more than you should be allowed to. If you want 65% for near mint, then ask 65% and be patient, a person who really wants it will appear eventually. 50% is for demo traders. At 50% people can trade stuff, try it out, and if not to their taste can resell for 50%.
You make a sound point (pun intended) -- I also happen to agree that it is not necessary to automatically price your used gear at 50% below retail. The audio "blue book" often lists audio gear at about half of MSRP, but like the "blue book" price for automobiles, the price should be a starting point based on some common standards. Like cars that have low mileage and are in top condition, nearly new, non-obsolescent audio gear (such as speakers, analog preamps, power amps, tonearms, etc.) should retain its value better over time. Equipment that is subject to frequent technical change (such as digital equipment, surround processors, etc.), or subject to wear (such as phono cartridges) will lose their value more quickly.

When I price my equipment for sale, I try to decide what I think is a fair value for both me and the buyer. I take into consideration factors such as age and condition of the item, the price I originally paid (I set the price based on what I paid, not the MSRP), whether the item has a transferrable warranty (such as Bryston equipment), etc.

Ultimately, the buyer and seller must both agree on the perceived fairness of the price, and that perceived "fair value" may be 50% of MSRP, and it may be more.
Jazz nut, You really need to evaluate what you own. If you have bought a new sony receiver for 1,000 then $500 would be tops unless somone really wanted that unit.Which is again based on supply and demand. There are some High end audio manufactures who seem to hold their value extremly well such as Levinson ,Krell audio Research & Jeff Rowland to name the top few. Now these Are very well known and are among the best when it comes to build quality and customer support. Yes the prices are high but the resale value is also high. Iam not saying buy a peice of gear because the resale value is high you must buy what you like but when it comes time to sell you must also realize what the majority of the people own and want. Its too bad people dont appreciate other high end that isnt as well known. There are many under rated companys out there. So dont get upset when you dont get what you want just hold out and the buyer will come.
BTW: I have had a pair of Martin Logan Ascents on Audiogon for a little over 3 weeks and they are still there. They are in mint condition and Iam asking 3,500 I get I had a guy offer me 2,000 for them they list for 4,400 they are only 4 months old. So the morale to my story is we all go through it from time to time. I had sold my Levinson 335 for 5,500 which was a little high but it was two months old but it sold. Stick to your guns. Good Luck
50-60% of MSRP seems to cover by far the majority of items for sale.
Supply and demand! First, it has been my experience that many high end dealers will discount 10-15% off list on most products. Certain manufactures, even though they make great equipment, produce in large volumes, have very loose distribution, really don't care who sells their product, don't protect their dealers (allowing sales from "web stores" with no physical building). These product lines usually have much higher markups allowing dealers to get a larger return for their risks associated with this increased competion. It also means that prices can be "footballed" making the MSRP a joke! It is interesting to note the number of retailers listed in the new equipment reports in Stereophile...are there 5-15 retailers or 50-100 retailers? Some used equipment prices tend to get depressed by new technology...right now, digital products seem to be getting hammered, due to new formats, sampling rates, and upsampling. People are somewhat hesitant to buy right now. Sometimes a manufacturer will have a price DECREASE on a product...there goes the price on the used market! When a product is improved, (for example Nordost Red Dawn Rev. 2) then guess what happens to the price price of the original product on the used market? Some used equipment just doesn't seem to show up that often (Accuphase and Atma-sphere come to mind) which will firm the price (low supply). The really GOOD NEWS is people can build a much better used system then they would be able to afford if buying new!
You are right. Also, most of the potential buyers I've dealt with over time have wanted mint condition, but were unwilling to pay a premium for it. I buy most of my equipment new (yes, usually at 10% off give or take), because I don't want wear and tear, etc. My gear is usually pristine by the time I sell it, which is not long after I've purchased it (I do have my "keepers" though), because I like change. I set my prices with condition in mind. Many people do not understand that something in true mint condition is worth much more than one in good or even excellent condition.
As has been mentioned before, it's a matter of how desperate you are to sell an item balanced by how much a potential buyer wants buy what you have to sell.

You do have at least some control over how much an item will sell for. How? Well, by how well the item up for sale or auction is advertised. As an example, if you see a commercial on TV that is wanting you to buy their fast food (i.e. Mc Donald's, BK, Wendy's, Subway, etc.), usually, the commercial that does the best job advertising (i.e. packaging) their product will get the most interest, which in turn generates the most sales.

Another way to look at it would be to take two items that are exactly the same. The only difference between the two items are how they are packaged/presented. Item one is being advertised without any pictures, or maybe one poorly shot photo, not much info on it besides the model name and what it is. Item two has a well laid out page, high quality pictureS, and complete information, with condition, shipping estimates, availability, payment types accepted, etc., etc. It's virtually guaranteed that given the same place and time both ads are listed, item two will get more for their item than item one will.

From our experience, here are some ways to get more for your gear...

• Provide at least one good high quality photo
• Brand and model number
• The quantity (i.e. pair, one, etc.)
• The more info that you can include, the better
• Any accolades from private and professional sources
• Any feedback from others about you as the seller
• Condition and age of the item for sale
• Timing (in auctions) and placement of advertisement
• Comparisons to other items of the same type
• When you can ship, how fast, and with estimated prices
• Types of payments you accept
• Have patience -don't sell unless you get a fair price

• On auctions, $1 w/your reserve set @ your lowest selling price is a good way to sell, although you may have to reslist once or twice before you get a sale. | One dollar, no reserve auctions are the most popular, and you are 99.9% guaranteed to get a sale the first time. However, it is risky, so an auction of this sort should be given 1-2 weeks to run -the longer you can run this type of auction, the more you will get for it.

Bottom line, the more information and patience that you can give to your ad, the more ($) you will be rewarded for your item.


Assuming you get 10-20% off MSRP if you buy new from a dealer, buying used from an individual at 65-70% of MSRP could be saving you as little as 10-15%. Price has to be your overriding concern by a large margin to make this attractive - if I can buy a new piece of gear for $4000 ($5000MSRP) from a local dealer vs. paying $3500 to an individual for a used piece, it's probably worth the $500 to be sure of warranty coverage, proper operation, exact condition, possible audition opportunities, etc.

If you know exactly what you want, you can often find something as a demo or a clearance from the dealers that actively sell online for 60-80% of MSRP. Some of my best purchases were exactly that - peace of mind, confident of what I was getting, etc.

Ultimately, the individual selling a piece of gear has to inhabit the price points below that or it's not compelling, leaving the 50% of MSRP price (give or take) as the natural target. If you have something almost brand new, where the model is still hot off the press and the great reviews are just coming out, you can get above that level, but for the typical sale there's just not enough to justify going much above that pricing point. -Kirk

Most high end audio equipment has a 40% mark-up over dealer cost. Cabling is closer to 50%, some dealers offer new equipement at heavily discounted prices. I bought my Sony SCD-1 just after it was introduced two years ago for $3200 un-opened with warrenty ($5000 MSR). Today I could sell it for about the same used. If $5000 had been the price I and anyone else paid, the price used might be higher. I think it's hard to expect re-sale pricing to be higher than dealer cost on anything when some people are able to buy at the dealer cost. Cabling is the worst in my opinion. New prices are all over the board. When you go to sell your cable people want 20-30% off the 50% they see advertised. At 75-80% off retail the consumer who pays full price takes a huge hit. The best thing the industry could do is to either hold the line on retail pricing or lower the mark-up across the board so the used costs retained value. As long as people have brick and morter shops, the price must remain where it is, it then becomes the responsability of the on-line retailer to hold the retail pricing. Of course this also will not happen so the only answer I see is don't pay retail!
You may get 65% for your item, if it is almost new, is in demand and is the current model (not needing upgrade). Often older equipment is replaced by models that are better and cheaper making the old one now worth much less. There is often huge price drops in cable, especially MIT. Yesterday's $10,000 reference is tomorow's $1,000 model. Audio Research VT150 Monoblocks at $14,000 pr was blown away by the VT100 at $4,500. That's just the way it is.
Thanks for all the interesting responses. My point is that lets say I purchased an amp new for $10000, kept it in pristine condition, and it is a current model, I feel that $6000 or even $6500 would be a fair asking price. Now I log onto a used audio web site and see the same amp advertised in mint condition for $4500 or less, I must now list mine at a comparable price, if I hope for a sale. I propse that us audiophiles increase the value of our used equipement by listing them at a higher asking price. If you go to your local high end dealer and price his used equipement (that he received on trade-ins), you would see that he is usualy asking 60 to 70 percent of retail.
Jadem6, a 40% markup as standard sounds awfully low to me. That would mean a product with dealer cost of $2000 would sell for $2800 after being marked-up 40%. A 40% margin (67% markup) seems more reasonable.
Jazz_nut - that's the point, though - if a local dealer has a trade-in and is asking $6500 for that same amp, why would somebody buy it from an individual over the internet at the same price? There's a lot of things that can go wrong, which are offset by getting a VERY good price. You mitigate the risk by buying from somebody you know and paying a bit more.

I know what you're getting at - I have bought some mint pieces from individuals that could have been fairly priced higher, knowing what I came to know after the purchase. But I've seen other things that sounded as good in the ads that didn't turn out to be as good, so you have to average it all out. If you have a truly mint piece, you can probably get a bit more by following the marketing advice given earlier in the thread - go out of your way to make contact with a potential buyer and be sure they know "mint" means MINT. -Kirk

jazz_nut: a couple of points. first, you've got a greedy dealer if you get a discount of only 10%. you should expect 20-25%; if you don't get it, shop elsewhere. second, in reply to other posts, the typical highend dealer price is 60 points, meaning a $10,000 MSRP product costs the dealer $6,000 + shipping. as already correctly noted, wire is sold at 40-50 points to the dealer. so, if you trade with a decent dealer and pay $7,500 for a $10,000 product, do you REALLY think it's worth $6,000-6,500 used? i don't, especially if its outmoded by a newer model. -kelly
Cornfedboy, where do you get 25% off? I will soon be in the market for an audio reseasrch vt200mk2 and a reference 2mk2. Can you get me 25 or 30% off retail?
Thank-you Cornfed for stating my responce in the right way. The numbers I was trying to state are the same as Kelly's, I think my lingo is wrong. I agree with the statement that if you can't get 20-25% off than look elsewhere, once you learn to buy at an acceptable price the used prices will make sense too.
If you are buying audio gear to resell in a few months or so, then buy well-known, well-reviewed gear (i.e. Krell, Mark Levinson, Wilson Audio, etc.) -or a hot ticket or hard to get items (i.e. latest technology, raved by reviewers, etc.). In this case, it doesn't have to sound the best, it just has to be in demand.

On the other hand, if you are buying audio gear to put together a system that you plan to keep for a number of years, then you will get your money's worth out of it from extensive use, and you will wait (and perhaps even turn down a few reasonable offers) until someone wants to buy it from you for a price that you are willing to sell it for -because you had just as soon keep your system because it gives you a satisfying musical experience. In this case it doesn't have to be the most popular (due to minimal advertising campaigns), it just sounds good to you.
What some of you are missing is the fact that without the internet, most used, high end gear could only be moved by trade-in, unless you live in a major metro area. And you know what dlears give you for a trade!!! The fact that you can expect to get 50%, on average, for good high end gear is only a result of the worldwide market that the internet allows. And don't forget that if you sell at 50%, that means you can buy at 50% also. However, really mint, current or classic analog gear can probably bring a somewhat higher price if you are willing to wait for the right buyer (and to determine that it really is mint, they probably need to do a physical inspection, which means that worldwide market is not available; this translates to less demand=lower selling price).

Also, unless you as good a customer (in terms of longevity as well as volume) as Cornfed is, don't be misled by his ability to buy at such a large discount. And you don't get to be that good a customer by buying large amounts of gear over the net. So we accept the advantages and the drawbacks of the net.