How to find a good pawnbroker.

The famous three gold balls sign of a pawnbroker's shop, above a street in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, eastern England.

When you’re running low on cash but not on valuable assets the best place to go is a pawn shop. You have the option of taking out a collateral loan on or selling your valuable items in order to get the cash infusion you need.

Not all pawn shops are the same, however, and taking the time to do your homework and find the best pawnbroker in your area is the best way to ensure that your experience at the pawn shop is a good one!

Here are four items to check up on in order to make sure your experience at the pawn shop is a good one.

Affiliations – Find out if the pawn shop you’re considering is a member of the National Pawnbrokers Association. To be a member, pawnbrokers have to adhere to strict standards of business, so you want to make sure the pawn shop you are considering is an affiliate.

Reviews – Just like any other business you will be able to find reviews, both positive and negative, on social media sites that will give you some idea of how the pawnbroker operates her business. Be wary of anything with too many negative comments. Also ask friends and family who they have used in the past. First hand reviews from people you know are always better than thoughts from a stranger!

Reputation – While new businesses don’t necessarily equal poor experiences, a pawnbroker that has been around for a long time has probably been around for a reason. You’re more likely to get not only an great businessperson, but also someone with more expertise. Look for a pawnbroker that has been around for many years and has built a solid reputation in the community.

Specialties — Some pawn shops specialize in different areas of merchandise and expertise than others. Consider the item you are trying to pawn or sell and look for a pawnbroker that has expertise in dealing with that type of item. While it is a pawnbroker’s business to know something about everything, you will probably get the best deal from someone who has expert knowledge of your particular item.