iPhone 5 release, trade-in information: How to sell your old (AAPL) iPhone and get the most money

The new iPhone 5 is out which means a lot of folks are ditching their old iPhone for the new one. How do you get the most for your old phone?

There are many companies online that will buy your used iPhone, like Gazelle.com and Usell.com . I checked out both sites to see how much they would buy an iPhone 4S with 16GB of memory.

On both sites you have to answer a few questions describing the condition of the phone. I filled out the information stating the phone was in excellent condition and it comes with the original box, manual and software.

Usell.com offered the most, $223 and Gazelle offered $200. Both sites offer quick payment after your phone is inspected by the company and it is in the shape you described. Once that is done you will get paid through PayPal or check.

That is an okay price, but can you sell that iPhone 4S for a better price? I did little research on eBay. This site is a little different from Usell.com and Gazelle.com because you are selling them to other users and not a business, which can be riskier.

It also means you might get more for it since you are selling it to another user and not a company that will turn around and sell your phone for a profit. I did a search on eBay for auctions and buy it now. I did not look for current auctions but instead only searched listings that ended already. This is how you can truly see what the iPhone is selling for on eBay. For the iPhone 4S with 16GB, the average price Monday was $300 and the cheapest one sold for $180 and that one had water damage.

Let's take it a step further; when you sell items on eBay you have fees. Let's say I sold that iPhone 4S for $300 on eBay. I have to take 9% of the sale price and give that to eBay for their fee. Then there is PayPal , this is how your buyer on eBay will pay for the phone. In addition, PayPal is also a good protection because it helps to make sure you get paid. PayPal charges 2.9% of total sale plus $.30 fee per transaction.

We cannot forget you have to pay to ship it. You can ship an iPhone using Flat Rate USPS priority mail for $5. So after paying all the fees you end up getting $259.78 for selling your iPhone on eBay. In the end you are making more money by selling your phone on eBay. Is it worth it? I know I always like to maximize my money so I have no problems selling things on eBay and PayPal is a good form of protection for both the buyer and seller.

You have to do what you feel comfortable with. Sometimes dealing with the online companies that have a good reputation like Gazelle.com and Usell.com might be the better route and less hassle. Also check out Craigslist.org. This is another way to sell your iPhone.

Last time I looked, most iPhone 4S with 16GB where selling for $300 and up, although I did see a few for $225. It is risky selling on Craigslist because you have to deliver to goods in person and there is no protection when selling on Craigslist.  

Keep in mind these prices continuously change, so a price you may see today, may not be the same tomorrow.

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