How to get maximum resale value for your new iPad

Wait, what? It's not even shipping yet! Even so, consider planning ahead for a year from now, when you'll probably be looking to unload it in favor of an iPad 4.

Flash-forward to March 2013.
Flash-forward to March, 2013. Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Getting ready to order an iPad 3? (Sorry, a "new iPad"?) For some, the answer is a resounding, "Hell, yes!" I'm fairly tempted myself, what with that lovely Retina display, blazing A5X processor, and sweet, sweet 4G LTE.

Of course, if history repeats itself, a year from now we'll all be getting ready to order an iPad 4 (or "Newer iPad," if Apple's nomenclature department is feeling lazy once again). And that means we'll be looking to unload our new--er, old--wait, huh?--iPads.

It may sound crazy today, but if you want to get the most bang for your resale buck, it's best to plan ahead--starting right now. Here's how to make sure you get top dollar when the time comes to list your new iPad on eBay--sometime around March 2013.

1. Skip the engraving. Much as you might like to take advantage of Apple's free engraving option, informing the world, "No one touches Rick's iPad but Rick," or dedicating it to "My sweet baboo," an engraved iPad will fetch less than a pristine one. If you want customization, slap on a skin.

2. Buy a case. A scratch here and a scuff there won't diminish your iPad's capabilities, but it will lower its resale value. Think about it: wouldn't you pay more for a used one that's "like new, not a mark on it," than one that "has a few scratches and dings"? Apple's Smart Cover may be cool, but it's not a case. Spring for something that'll protect your iPad on all sides. Added bonus: it'll protect your iPad on all sides.

3. Protect the screen. The iPad's glass screen may be scratch-resistant, but it's not scratch-proof. And, let's face it, the screen is everything, so it makes sense to keep yours as pristine as possible. A good screen protector may run you $20-30 (though you can find dirt-cheap ones on eBay), but it has the added benefit of reducing glare, eliminating fingerprints, and possibly even keeping the screen from shattering if you drop it. Some protectors also promise to ward off germs, like the Fuse Antibacterial Screen Guard .

4. Keep everything. The more original items you can bundle with your iPad, the more attractive it'll be to buyers. That means keeping the box, the inserts, the user guide (slight as it might be), and even the little plastic wrappers for the earbuds and sync cable. In fact, if you already have earbuds and a cable, you might as well leave the new ones in the box. That's a selling point you can leverage later on.

5. Don't unbox it. Just kidding.

What are your third-gen iPad purchase plans? Do they include selling your iPad 1 or 2? If you've already unloaded yours, what resale tips would you share with your fellow upgraders?

 

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