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Pawnshops have existed all over the world since ancient times. Today, they can be found in almost every community and offer items and service unique to each one. This means that when you need to find a good pawn shop, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by your options.

So, what can you do when you need to find the best pawn shop in your community? Here are some tips on how to find the best pawn shop near you:

Familiarize yourself with how pawn shops operate

If you are new to working with your local pawn shop, you will have a more positive experience if you learn how a pawn shop works. Since ancient times, pawn shops have played a vital role in the communities they serve, offering reliable funding sources and fair prices on gently used items.

You can do one of three things at your local pawn shop: buy, sell, or pawn an item of value. While buying and selling are pretty straightforward, pawning can be confusing for those unfamiliar with pawnshop loans. When you pawn an item, you borrow money from your pawnbroker against the value of your item. This type of transaction is called a collateral loan, as you are exchanging your item for a nominal cash loan.

When you repay your pawn loan, you will get your item back and are free to use it again for another loan later if necessary. If you do not repay, your pawnbroker takes possession of your item and will resell it, with no additional fees or penalties to you.

Look up reviews of your local pawnshop

Take advantage of the internet and see what your neighbors and community have to say about their local pawn shops. Review sites like Yelp are easy to use and can be filtered to answer specific questions you might have about a particular shop’s customer service or other concerns. However, keep in mind that no high-volume business will be able to please everyone all the time. Pawnshops are no exception. To get around this inevitability, read recent reviews, and look for patterns; this will give you an idea of what you can expect. Pawnshops on good terms with their community will have plenty of people raving about their service.

Make sure your local pawnshop clearly displays its certifications

Pawnshops nationwide must follow local, state, and federal laws. They are also regulated by the IRS, the department of homeland security, and the US Treasury department. Because of all this official oversight, a local pawnshop should prominently display their current licenses.

Also, a reputable pawnbroker will be able to explain how they will store and secure your item while you are repaying the loan. If you encounter a pawn shop near you that does not display their licenses or is hesitant to explain any part of the process to you, it is probably best to take your business elsewhere.

Keep in mind that a pawn shop is a business

Like all other businesses, your local pawn shop needs to be profitable to survive. Because of that, keep in mind that even the best pawn shop in the world cannot offer full retail value on items they buy or provide loans against. Additionally, expect to answer clarifying questions about the goods you bring into sell or pawn.

For example, if you bring in a video game console, expect your pawnbroker to thoroughly inspect it and plug it in to ensure that it works before they extend you an offer. Where other items are concerned, such as jewelry, your pawnbroker may request proof of authentication or other certification. Your local pawn shop must gather all this information to ensure they can resell the item and make sure they are not dealing with stolen goods.

Consider the location of your local pawnshop

Location is an essential factor in finding the best pawn shop near you. For example, if your local pawn shop has been in the same place for many years, that is a good indicator that they are established as an essential and trustworthy part of their community. If your pawnbroker has multiple locations within an area, that is a good sign that they are a growing and promising business.

Another critical aspect of a pawn shop’s location is that when the shop is near to where you live, work or shop, or is otherwise easy for you to get to, it is statistically more likely that you will repay your loan on time. Working with a pawnshop that is out of your way can make repayment a chore and increase your chances of paying late or miss payments.

Observe

If at all possible, visit your local pawnshop and watch them work so that you can observe their customer service skills. A reputable pawn shop will work hard to earn your business and convince you that you should become a repeat customer through their actions. Upon walking in, the staff should be approachable and respectful of your space. They should be willing to answer questions about their policies, terms, and rates. They should not pressure customers to buy anything or sign a contract before the terms are entirely understood.

A general rule of thumb is that the best pawn shops near you will be clear about everything they are doing and are willing to answer customers’ questions. Sales slips and price tags should be clear.

Trust your gut

Even if you select a pawnshop that meets all the criteria we’ve listed so far, trust your gut when you deal with them online and in person. If something feels off about the people, shop, or location, do not be afraid to leave and look elsewhere. Doing business with the best pawn shop near you should be a positive experience all around. Sacrificing your safety and comfort is not a worthy compromise. There is likely another pawnshop nearby that will feel more secure and treat you with the respect you deserve.

If you live in or near Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley, the best pawn shop near you is, hands down, Azusa Pawn! We are the area’s fastest-growing pawn shop, and for a good reason: we go above and beyond, every time. We look forward to earning your business – visit us in person or online today!