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eBay puts up big cash for used phones ahead of Galaxy S III arrival

eBay's Instant Sale site is offering as much as $300 for a working iPhone 4 or $250 for a Droid Razr Maxx through the end of June.

My used phone is still worth what I paid for it, on eBay Instant Sale this week, at least. Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET

The housing market may never get back to where it was in the boom years, but even if you can't flip your condo it could be possible to flip your phone this month with some help from eBay.

eBay's Instant Sale site is offering some pretty big bucks for used flagship smartphones through the end of June, a promotion timed to coincide with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III later this week. For example, an iPhone 4 with 32GB in working condition could be worth as much as $300 -- that's $100 more than competing buyback site Gazelle is currently offering.

eBay is showing love to existing Android phone owners, too, with a used Galaxy S II fetching up to $220 and a Droid Razr Maxx worth as much as $250. If you're able to work it so you can get a subsidized price on your Samsung Galaxy S III, you could end up upgrading for a net cost of zero, or even make some money on the deal.

Here's some more example trade-in offers that eBay sent along:

• Apple iPhone 4 8GB: up to $230
• Blackberry 9800 Torch: up to $145
• Blackberry 9900 Bold: up to $200
• HTC Sensation 4G: up to $185
• HTC Rezound: up to $175
• Motorola Droid Razr: up to $200
• Samsung Infuse 4G: up to $160
• Samsung Galaxy 2 II Skyrocket: up to $195

After locking in an offer on your used smartphone, you'll have a week to send it off using a free shipping label that's provided from eBay. After your phone is received and its condition is verified, you get paid.

I might not be in the market for a new phone at the moment, but with the impending debut of Microsoft's Surface laptop/tablet thing-y, I'll eagerly be looking forward to future eBay trade-in promotions. Perhaps they'll be willing to buy my laptop, tablet, and e-reader for top dollar the week before the Surface goes on sale.

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