20 November 2018Last updated


Second-hand savvy

The UAE is a transient place, which means there’s a thriving market for pre-loved goods, so make it work for you...

By Catherine Harper
10 Feb 2015 | 12:10 am
  • Don't miss out on the good stuff.

    Source:Aiza Castillo-Domingo/ANM

Sell on your old items

Insider tips from’s Irina Katchan

What price should I expect to get?

We recommend sellers do a quick search for similar items to find an indication of the appropriate price point, bearing in mind the condition of your item. Usually, sellers aim for 40 to 70 per cent of the new retail price.

What about scams?

While this is an issue more for the buyer of items than the seller, the seller needs to be careful too. Always buy and sell face to face. Meet people during the day, or in a properly lit location, so you can review the condition of the item. Never wire any money, and don’t give out your bank details to anyone, no matter what the circumstances.

How do I market my stuff?

Follow these four tips:

1 Use a catchy title to draw a buyer’s attention.

2 Write a detailed description – the wittier the better – to engage buyers.

3 Include plenty of decent photos, not just images you’ve taken from the net.

4 Share a link to your ad on every social media site you can access.

I can’t be bothered with time-wasters...

It’s good to keep in mind that buyers will try to negotiate the price especially if your item isn’t competitively priced. However, you can mention that the price is not negotiable and emphasise you’d like to speak to serious buyers only.

Bagging a bargain

Janelle Malone, founder of, says second-hand is not just for furniture – she’s found some of her favourite luxury items

this way. Even if the price might seem really low, she says you still need to be sure you’re getting value for money. “I now possess some timeless Chanel pearls and a Louis Vuitton travel bag – items I would have never have bought in the store but managed to secure second-hand, heavily discounted. To make sure I’m really getting a good deal, I have a big try-on session and work out what I actually need, so that I don’t end up spending money on impulse buys I don’t need but am tempted to buy just because they’re a good price second-hand. Regardless of the price, if you don’t need it, it‘s not a good deal.”

Who can I trust with my money?

If you’re serious about saving, it’s time to get some tailored financial advice. Independent money coach Jessica Cook gives her tips for finding the right financial adviser “The most common misconception I’ve found is that people believe, by going to the insurance or investment company directly, they’ll save money. This isn’t the case, as the cost of the advice is built into the price of the product they buy, whether directly or via a broker.

“The advantage of working with a broker is an experienced professional will have had an opportunity to guide you on the most appropriate course of action and may highlight some other solutions that might not have been immediately obvious.

“Don’t assume regulation of financial planning is the same in the UAE as it is in your home country – in my view it is more advanced in many

Western countries. While significant strides are being made, there’s still work to be done.

“A referral from a friend or colleague is often the best way to find an adviser but that’s only the first step in selection. When meeting a financial planner for the first time, he or she will ask you lots of personal questions – this is essential to be able to do the job correctly – but before you answer, make sure he or she has answered these five questions to your satisfaction. Remember, you’re interviewing the person for the job of looking after your and your family’s financial well-being.”

1 How long have you worked at this company and who regulates it? (Regulators outside the UAE don’t count. Check the regulator’s website or ask to see a copy of the licence.)

2 How are you remunerated? Is it commission or fees or a combination? (You need transparency and notification when you incur fees.)

3 What qualifications do you have in financial planning? (Ask to see certificates.)

4 How many years have you been a financial planner? (Decide if it’s long enough for you to feel comfortable.)

5 How long have you been resident in the UAE? (Decide how long is enough and ask to see a visa.) These steps won’t prevent bad advice in all its forms, but they should limit the opportunity.”

Where to find the best pre-loved bargains

Baby Bazaar, Times Square, Dubai,

Cash Converters, Shaikh Zayed Road, Dubai

Facebook: Bella’s Second-Hand Boutique

Facebook: Buy It, Sell It, Swap It Dubai

Facebook: Second-Hand Dubai

St Mary’s Thrift Store, Oud Metha

The Auction House, Al Quoz, 

By Catherine Harper

By Catherine Harper