This guide is for beginner TF2 traders that want to get started with unusual trading or for any trader that want to learn new ways of making a profit with unusuals. When it comes to trading I can’t be bothered with knowing every little detail about the TF2 economy or all the unusual effects in the game and it’s value, don’t get me wrong, I love trading but I want it to be simple and easy to do my trading, and in this guide I’ll show you how you can do unusual trading with just a basic knowledge of the TF2 economy.
I’ll try to cover everything you need to know to get started with unusual trading but that being said this is by no means a perfect unusual trading guide, there’s things I don’t know and things regarding Unusual trading I won’t mention, that being said I have tried covering as much as possible, the guide is well over 6000+ words with plenty of info and exact methods where I show each step of the way on how you can make a profit with unusual trading.
To start with unusual trading you’ll need around 8-12 keys, the more the better of course but that’s the minimum at the time when this guide was made. You can find a bunch of TF2 key shops/resellers over in one of my other guides, (where to buy TF2 keys).
TF2 unusual effects & value
What effects to buy?
To get a basic overview of what effect that are popular and in demand you can head over to Backpack.tf’s Unusual Effect pricelist, here you’ll find all the effects listed in order of the effect’s average price for hats with the effect in question. Effects with a high average are seen as good looking and exclusive, general speaking.
This doesn’t mean a effect is more popular/easier to sell because it has a higher price, a higher price unusual effect can be harder to sell because people don’t have/don’t want to spend that kind of money on a hat. A cheaper unusual effect can be more in demand just because it’s more affordable. When it comes to the question, what effects should you buy? I don’t have a good answer for you, any effect could be a good investment for the right price.
If you’re new to Unusual trading I’d suggest you start trading with low tier unusuals, these are the cheapest unusuals around, they have a stable lowest price that doesn’t move around that much, they’re also cheap which is great if you’re low on funds.
In my experience effects that have a tiny visual impact and are modest in their appearance are the least sought after, effects like Bubbling and Nuts n’ Bolts for example are two terrible effects (in my opinion), from a distance you can barley see those effects and they can almost look like regular hats. That being said, I made plenty of profit with hats with those effects, just be cautions buying hats you suspect isn’t in-demand among other traders.
Another good first investment could be to buy a unusuals that are in the mid-price range, trying to find a hat that either have a in-demand unusual effect on a ugly hat, or the other way around, a ugly effect on a in-demand hat could be a good investment.
Checking value of unusuals
When checking out a unusual’s price your best bet is to head over to Backpack.tf and check what the suggested value is, either head over to your inventory on Backpack.tf and find your unusual there, click it then choose stats and you’ll come to unusuals page where you can see the price and other stats about your unusual. You can also use the search on Backpack.tf to find the value of a hat, or you can find your hat in the unusual list where all the unusuals are listed.
Checking a items value over at Backpack.tf is a good start but you should never trust these price suggestions blindly, there’s things you need to consider, for example it’s quite common that a price suggestion are outdated and inaccurate because the market has changed since the suggestion was made. There’s a few things you can do to help you determine a unusual’s value, apart from just checking the suggested value on Backpack.tf.
You can check the current buyers/sellers listings on Backpack.tf, this can be a good indication what the current value of a item is, there’s almost always people trying to buy unusuals way below it’s value, try and ignore those buy listings because that won’t help you get a accurate value of your hat.
- If the price suggestion is relatively new you can check it out and see what past sales has gone for. Both suggestions that are approved and not approved can be worth checking out. You’ll find the price suggestions at the bottom of a unusual’ss Backpack.tf page.
- Check the Marketplace.tf price and find out if it’s been sold for cash recently.
- What’s the price on the Steam market
- Compare the price with other unusuals that have the same effect or the same hat but with other effects. Preferably one with a more up to date price suggestion.
- Search for the hat on TF2Outpost and see if there’s any sellers there.
Duped unusuals (clean/not clean)
Another thing to consider is if your hat duped/not clean, which could lower the value of a unusual. This is something that effects higher valued unusuals and people generally don’t care if a low tier/cheap unusual is duped or not.
How to check if a hat is duped then? Head over to your inventory or the inventory of the seller on backpack.tf and locate the unusual, click it and then choose “History”. Here you’ll see most of the past owners of this unusual and if the hat is duped you’ll see a small text that says “Duplicated” in the right top corner. Checking the history before buying any unusual is also a good thing, this let’s you see if there’s any banned people or known scammers (They will have their name in red and crossed over) in the recent history.
Get help price checking your Unusual
When a hat doesn’t have a price on Backpack.tf or if you’re unsure if the pricing is correct (old price, etc etc) you can ask for advice to get your unusual priced, one of the better places to get your item price checked is the Backpack.tf forum, there’s a thread available for people looking for help determining the value of their TF2 items, you’ll find the price checking thread over here.
How to avoid scammers
There’s a few things you can do in order to avoid trading with a scammer (or alt of a scammer)
- Check their rep over at rep.tf. Just copy paste their Steam profile URL or Steam ID and you’ll get a summary of their reputation on different TF2 community sites. (including their Steamrep & Backpack.tf status) If anything fishy shows up I’d avoid trading with them.
- Another red flag for me is if the Steam account has a low level, a short account age or if they played TF2 (or any other game) for only a low amount of hours, these things doesn’t automatically mean they’re a scammers but it could be a sign that this is a new account a scammer has made to hide their identity.
- Go read Backpack.tf’s Guide for Background Checks for more info about this topic where they go in much more detail on what warning signs to be aware of.
Sites to help you find Unusual hats to buy
There’s plenty of ways to get your hands on some unusual hats, down below I’ll be listings a few of the options you have when trying to find some good deals on unusuals. If you’re to lazy to go through the whole list I suggest you just use Backpack.tf and TF2Outpost, they’re by far the most active places for TF2 unusual trading. And if you feel like you need additional options you can check out the rest of the sites on the list later.
Backpack.tf is a major trading site that we talked about already in the guide, but it’s not only good for price checking, it’s also great for finding unusuals or selling your own hats. Each unusual has it’s own page where you can find buyers and sellers for it, and also it’s price suggestion and any past price suggestion, and other basic info about the hat.
If you have Backpack.tf premium you can search for deals on cheap unusuals and sort the results after the % discount the deal has, it’s no way a must be it can be a great tool to find unusuals to buy. It’s nothing I would recommend new traders though, considering it cost keys each month for premium. A alternative is to use classifieds listings over at the site, where you can see all the unusuals up for sale, but more on that later in the guide
TF2Outpost is one of the more popular places for trading in TF2 and it’s active when it comes to unusual trading. There’s a premium membership that gives you 25 extra listings on the site and all your trades will be bumped every 30 minutes, the premium is only worth getting if you use the site a lot, nothing a new trader should invest in.
Bazaar.tf has a similar setup as TF2Outpost where people can make classifieds listings to buy and sell their TF2 items, the only down side with Bazaar and it’s a huge one is that it’s much less active then the two above sites and the site is really struggling with it’s user base. That being said it can still be a decent place to find unusuals to buy or to post your own listings on Bazaar.
Backpack.tf forum is a active place when it comes to Unusual trading, when looking to buy or sell your unusuals I suggest you make a post in the Team Fortress 2 Item Trading or cash trading section where you can list what hats you’re interested in and what you’re selling. Just don’t start spamming your listings all over the place, nobody likes that.
The forum is also a pretty active place when it comes to discussing everything surrounding the TF2 economy, so if you have any questions about trading this could be a good place to start looking at.
r/TF2Trade is a subreddit devoted to TF2 trading, a good number of the posts are about buying & selling unusuals. You can also make your own post on the subreddit, but just make sure you use the right formatting for the title before posting, otherwise you’ll get your posted deleted pretty fast.
Here you can also ask for a price check for your Unusual if you’re uncertain about it’s value, but considering it’s not the most active site I would expect you to get a faster reply if asked in the Backpack.tf forums instead.
The Steam Community TF2 trade forum wouldn’t be my first choice if you’re looking to find people to trade with, it’s filled with lowballing and spammy posts, but if you’re looking for yet another place to advertise your trades on, it might be worth your time, just don’t expect greatness from this place.
You’ll probably have a better chance snagging some deals on the Steam Community market instead, but more on that later on in this guide.
Scrap.tf Unusual bot is a trading bot that buys and sells unusuals, if you’re going to sell your hat to the bot you should expect to lose profit doing so, the bot’s rates is not in favour for sellers, instead it can be a good place to get rid of your unusuals if you see no other option and you can’t get a hat sold. The potential for a good deal is much better when it comes to buying hats from the bot, it requires a lot of price checking and luck though. The Youtuber The Virtual economist (a channel about TF2 trading) has a great video about snagging deals from the Scrap.tf bot, I suggest you check it out if you want to try your luck with the bot.
Scrap.tf Auctions is another section on Scrap.tf where people put their items up for auction and people can bid with their items to win the auction, it’s pretty straight forward and there’s plenty of unusuals being posted here. If you have the patience and dedication browsing through all the over-priced auction it can be worth it, but the good deals are quite rare in my experience.
Unusual Trading servers
I haven’t got much experience with TF2 unusual trading servers but I compiled a short list below to help you get started with some of the bigger trading servers. If you have any other suggestions of servers worth mentioning I’d love to add the to the list, just leave a comment at the bottom of the page and I’ll check it out.
Here’s also a short video tutorial by Pyrofuzion on how to find trade server using the in-game server browser. It’s pretty straight forward, simply go to the server browser and search for “trad” (without the “e” in the end) and you’ll end up with a list of active servers. Watch the video for a step by step.
Where to buy cheap Unusuals (Step-by-step)
Below I’ll be showing a few step by step examples on how you can find cheap unusuals, I’ll try and be as thorough as possible in my description on how to do this in order to help new traders to pick up these methods and get started with finding some good deals, that being said these are very basic ways of finding good deals so it’s nothing too advanced, they’re a good start for anyone just starting out with Unusual trading.
A quick heads up before we get into it. Finding good deals can take quite some time and you should always price check the unusual you’re interested in buying, it’s easy to rush into a deal and later find out it wasn’t any good, so be thorough in your research.
How to find Quick sales and cheap Unusuals for sale (on Backpack.tf)
Here’s a easy way to get you started with finding cheap unusuals to buy, we’re going to head over to Backpack.tf and their classifieds section where all the items that are being sold on the site is listed. You’ll find that section of the site by hovering over the Trading tab in the top menu then clicking the Classifieds listings. Then you we want to sort the search result so that only Unusuals show up in your search, click on the “…” near the magnifying glass in the search, then choose “Unusual” under the Quality tab, the search will be sorted by cheapest first by default, leave it like that. (or just use this link to get a Classifieds search for unusuals)
What we’re going to get is a search filled with listings on Unusuals being sold on the site, you’ll see plenty of hats being sold at a few keys discount, just be sure that you check the price of the unusual before buying it, as we talked about previously in the guide, not all Backpack.tf price suggestions are accurate so you always need to check to see if it’s a accurate price. Keep browsing the listings until you find a good deal in your price range worth investing in.
A lot of sellers that are quick selling (selling their unusual at a discount) are looking to get TF2 keys as payment (often mentioned as “pure”), often people will write in their sell listings if they’re only interested in pure as payment. This is not always the case but as a rule of thumb you should expect to have to pay more when buying a unusual with a unusual of your own.
Buy cheap TF2 Unusuals for money
This next section is about buying unusuals for money, I understand it’s not for everyone to spend cash to get unusuals, but it can be a good way to start with unusual trading just because all the good deals you can find when buying with cash. I won’t get into cash trading where you trade directly with other people using Paypal, mainly because I have very little experience regarding that, and it’s also nothing I would recommend new traders to do because of the high risk of being scammed. Instead we’ll be using different cash marketplaces that are dealing with TF2 items, they’re a safer and easier way of dealing with cash trading.
I’d suggest you have at least $20 to spend, but the more the better of course.
Buying Unusuals on Marketplace.tf
Marketplace.tf is a large marketplace where people can buy & sell their TF2 items for money, the site is by far the biggest place when it comes to TF2 Unusual cash trading. The site has a deals page where you can find discounted unusuals which can be a good place to start looking for some cheap unusuals to buy. I suggest that you always double check the price over at Backpack.tf before buying anything on the site, just because the suggested price that’s displayed on Marketplace isn’t always up to date, and don’t trust the % discount number because it’s quite often inaccurate in my experience.
If you’re planning on selling your items on the site there’s a 10% sales fee to consider. (but no fee when buying)
Buy orders on Marketplace
Another way to snag some deals that requires significantly more patience is to place buy orders on Marketplace.tf. When placing a buy order on a item you’ll automatically buy that items for the price that you set in your buy order (if you have enough funds in your account). You can use buy orders to your advantage in several ways but I like to use them in two main ways.
Buy orders on cheap Unusuals
I like to place buy orders on cheap (low tier) unusuals, what I usually do first is that I search for unusuals then sort by cheapest first. Then the grind begins, just open up all the cheap unusuals you can find and start placing buy orders for them. The minimum price for unusuals are pretty stable, at the time of writing of this guide I know that I can always get 8 keys for any unusual (this may have changed since I wrote this guide, so don’t see it as a guideline), this helps me when placing a shit ton of buy orders, I don’t need to check the value for each of these unusuals because I already know the minimum value, so I know I will make a good deal if I place a buy order at around 8 keys. Depending on how you value a key in cash you then I get a minimum value that you can place a buy order for. At the moment I can buy a TF2 key for around $1.9.
$1.9 x 8 =$15.2 (key price x minimum unusual value = my buy order) It’s also important that you don’t make your buy order ridiculously low, if you do that you’ll never get your buy order fulfilled. It can still be a good deal for both parties without totally ripping of the seller.
I had the most luck with placing buy orders where there’s more then one seller for a unusual. If there’s several unusuals of the same hat & effect then the sellers tend to compete with each other and driving the price down, so if you can’t be bothered with placing 100s of buy orders I would target the unusuals with multiple sellers.
Placing buy orders on discounted Unusuals
The other way I like to use buy orders is to place buy orders on already discounted unusuals, head over to the deals page and sort the listings by Deal % for the deals with the highest percent discount, then start looking for good deals in your price range, this requires a lot more knowledge about pricing unusuals and the different effects, because we can’t blindly rely on the discount % number, so always double check the actual value of a hat, then place a buy order that’s lower then the current price but without lowballing the seller to much, it should be a price that’s reasonable for both the buyer & seller.
The chances are that a seller that placed a unusual up for sale at a discount is looking to quicksell it and get rid of it fast, with the buy order we’re providing the seller with a quick way to get cash instantly in exchange for additional discount for us. This doesn’t always work and it requires a lot of patience, funds and luck.
There’s two alternatives to Marketplace that also deal with TF2 cash trading (but no where near as big of a supply as Marketplace.tf when it comes to unusuals)
- Opskins – A big CSGO marketplace that also offers support for TF2 items, they have a confusing search for unusuals and their suggested price for unusuals are most of the time inaccurate, but if you have the time & knowledge to browse though the many unusuals being sold their you can find some deals (Opskins has a 10% sales fee)
- Bitskins – Another CSGO skin cash marketplace that just recently opened up for TF2 items, still quite limited in their supply of TF2 items. (Bitskins has a 5% sales fee)
Buy Unusuals on the Steam Community market
The Steam Community market is yet another place where a lot of unusual are being bought and sold, in general the prices are a bit higher on the market but that doesn’t mean there’s no cheap unusuals to snag here. A good start for your bargain hunt is to look what the cheapest unusuals are going for right now, here’s a search on the community market for unusuals sorted by the cheapest first.
You can also take advantage of the buy order function to grab a bargain, but then you have to have both patience and be lucky. You’ll find the best prices on the market during the big Steam sales (Summer/winter sale) when people tend to sell offer their hats so that they can buy the games they want during the sale. It’s a fantastic time of the year when there’s plenty of cheap unusuals to find.
Another way of finding cheap unusuals on the Steam community market is to just go through a bunch of listings and comparing it’s price with Backpack.tf’s suggested price and trying to find hats below the suggested price, just be prepared that this is a tedious task that’s quite time consuming. When I do this I usually search for one unusual effect at a time, make a new search and type in the unusual effect you’re looking for, then tick the box that says “Include descriptions in search”, then tick the box for Unusuals under Quality, this search will get you all the unusuals with that effect.
Then I open another tab in my browser with Backpack.tf’s unusual effect list then I’ll click my way through to the effect I’m looking for, now I have a list of all the Steam market listings for that effect in on tab and all the suggested prices in another. Then I’ll just start comparing the two with each other, trying to find some cheap deals. It usual take a lot of price comparing until you find something worth buying (and a lot of the time I don’t find anything).
On Backpack.tf all the price suggestions will be shown in keys and on the Steam market all the unusuals will be sold for money (dollar, euro or your countries currency), so before you can compare the two prices to see if there a cheap deal your looking at you need to convert the unusual price into a price that’s based on keys. You do this by simply heading over to the TF2 key listings on the Steam market, check what lowest possible price for a key is, then take the unusual price and divided it with the TF2 key price, and then you have your unusual price in keys.
What I do is that I just simplify the conversion, I just take the unusual price and divide it by 2. (because that what a key usual go for). Keys are usually a bit more expensive when bought on the Steam market compared to when you buy them for cash, and if you like you can use the price for keys when bought in cash instead.
Buy Orders on the Steam market
Another way to snag some unusuals is to place Buy orders on unusuals on the Steam Community market, doing this requires two things, Steam funds and a lot of patience. For the best result I suggest you place a lot of buy orders to increase your chances of getting something bought, but that can only be done if you have a bunch of Steam funds. It can also be a good idea to update your buy orders from time to time in case someone has made a buy order that’s higher then yours.
On the Steam market each unusual hat has it’s own page, here you’ll find all hats for sale with all the different effects all displayed on that hat’s page, it’s not like on Backpack.tf where each hat with a specific effect has it’s own page. Just because unusuals is grouped up like this on the market you should always expect to get a hat with a cheap effect when buying using buy orders. (Nut n’ bolts, Bubbling, Aces High, Dead Presidents, etc etc). Consider that when placing your buy order, make your buy order so low that you can still make some profit if you happen to buy a hat with a cheap effect.
After you placed your order all you can do is wait, and sometimes it can take quite some time to get your buy order to go through. Like I mentioned before the prices on unusuals usually drop during the big sales on Steam, so those are your best time to snag the best deals with your buy orders.
Buying TF2 Unusuals on OPskins
Opskins is mainly a CSGO marketplace where people can buy and sell their items for real money, but over the years the TF2 section grown quite abit and it is now a pretty good alternative to Marketplace.tf. In this section I’ll talk about how you can find cheap deals on Unusuals on Opskins and how to check if the deal is worth making. A word of advice before we start this, Opskins has a suggested price on their items, it’s a number that’s suppose to help you determine how much a item is worth and help you see if a item is being sold for a discount, this value is most of the time inaccurate and you can’t really rely on it to be correct, so always double check on Backpack.tf for the items actual value before spending your cash.
- Make sure you change the game you’re search for is set to Team Fortress 2 and then head over and search for “Unusuals”, after you done that I like to sort my results by Low to high, so I get the cheapest unusuals first, these are the ones that are the most interesting for me (and my budget).
- Next step I’d like to do is to check the current price for TF2 keys on OPskins, this will help me convert the Unusual money prices on Opskins into key values instead.
- Take the price and divide it by the current key price, that will give you the unusuals price in keys
- I also like to open up a Backpack.tf tab for easy price checking to see if a deal is worth making.
Similar to finding good deals on the Steam market this can be quite time consuming, but with time you’ll learn which effects/hats that are worth checking, and that will make the searching much faster. I suggest you start with price checking either unusuals that are very cheap or Unusuals that have a relatively low price but has a effect that there’s only a few off in the search you have up on OPskins. I would ignore hats with the Nuts n’ Bolts, Aces High, Dead Presidents and Bubbling effect, unless it has a low price or if it’s on a hat that’s stands out in the search or that you know has a higher then average value.
Here’s two examples of deals I found
At the time one of the cheapest unusuals available on Opskins where this Bubbling Letch’s LED sitting at $16.5. The suggested price is way off and it’s no even near 45% off, so let’s ignore that.
Next step for me would be to determine the $ value of a key so I can calculate what $16.5 would be in keys. There’s plenty of ways to do this, you can either just use a value that you buy keys for or a find out the lowest possible price for keys and use that. What I like to do is simple use the current lowest price for TF2 keys on OPskins and use that, and that’s what I would suggest new traders to do (because it’s the easiest).
At the moment a key goes for $1.90 on OpSkins.
I will then take the unusual price and divide it with the key price. $16.50 / 1.9 = 8.7. This means I’m basically buying this unusual hat for 8.7 keys. But before I go ahead and buy the hat I need to check the suggested price on Backpack.tf to see if the deal is worth it. Either head over to the Backpack.tf unusual price list or you can just google the name and effect of your hat and the Backpack.tf page for that hat should show up.
The suggested price is 12-13 keys but the price suggestion is outdated (a year old), so it’s most likely not accurate. I also check and see if there’s any other sellers for the hat on the Backpack.tf page, this can be a good indication of the current value of the hat, at the moment there’s no other sellers. There’s a few buyers at around 8 keys, mostly trading bots just buying low tier unusuals, so that doesn’t help us much. I’ll also check what this hat is priced at with other effects on it. After checking around it seems reasonable that I can get 10-11 keys for it, if I don’t find any buyer willing to pay keys I can also try selling it on Steam market for a decent profit.
Next up I also found a Disco Beat Down Doctor’s Sack for $26.50, this unusual wasn’t among the cheapest ones so it required a bit more browsing around, what caught my eye was the Disco Beat effect which is a good looking cheap unusual effect on a decent looking hat. Once again we’ll ignore the Suggested Price, it is NOT 57% off, that would be crazy good.
We’ll start off with finding out the key price, we’ll take the key price and divide it with the buy price. $26.5 / $1.9 = 14 keys.
I’ll then go over to Backpack.tf and check it’s suggested price, it’s currently sitting at 16-17 keys. There’s no other sellers for this hat on Backpack.tf which is a good thing, and there’s plenty of buyers offering around 12 keys, I can make a assumption that other traders have determine that they can make a few keys profit if they buy it at 12 keys.
This deal isn’t a sure thing, and I would say it’s a bit more risky then my previous purchases. But after looking around I’m fairly certain I can get at least 15 keys for this unusual. It’s a good looking effect that I had good luck with in the past and that makes me more confident that it will be a good deal.
Selling your Unusuals
Here’s a quick and dirty list of ideas on how you can get your unusual sold, some of these site we talked about already and you can of course use most of the sites I talked about in the buying unusuals section of the guide when selling too.
This list can be good to go over if you find yourself stuck with a item that you just can’t get sold, I’m usually pretty patience but after having my sell listings up for a long time and not getting it sold it’s can be a good time to try some different to get it sold.
You can sell it for keys (also referred to as pure). Selling for pure can be difficult to do with some items, if the hat you’re trying to sell isn’t in demand most traders would want a discount on the hat when paying in pure. Simply lowering your price could help getting your hat sold for keys.
Head over to Backpack.tf and TF2Outpost and start looking for unusuals that are for sale that you would want to trade your unusual for, be prepared to overpay with your offer though, or you can try and add some keys to make your deal more appealing. (also known as a mixed offer).
Either send a trade offer to the other trader or add them on Steam to discuss a potential trade.
Always remember (or write down) how much you paid for your unusual initially, this will help you determine if you’re making profit on a trade or not.
You can also try and trade your unusual for CSGO items, this requires some basic knowledge of both the TF2 & CSGO market though. And I would say based on my experience you’ll have a easier time trading your CSGO items for TF2 items then the other way around. The CSGO economy is much bigger and a lot of the CSGO skins are quite stable, making the CSGO economy much more appealing for some traders.
Sell it without a profit or a slight loss to one of the many trade bots on Backpack.tf, just check out the unusuals listing page on Backpack.tf and you’ll most likely find trading bots willing to buy your hat, just be prepared that they will pay under the unusual’s value.
Selling it for real money over at Marketplace.tf can be a good way of getting your hats sold, just be aware that there’s a 10% sales fee when selling your unusual and that could eat up some of your profit. After the sale you can cash out through Paypal or spend your newly earned money on the site.
You can also try Opskins/Bitskins, these two site don’t have as many TF2 traders dealing with unusuals so it can be hard to sell your hats over there, your best bet for unusuals is selling it on Marketplace.tf.
You can also put it up on the Community market with a price that’s close to the suggested price from Backpack.tf. But be prepared to wait quite some time to get your hat sold on the market, I suggest you place it on the market with a slight discount if you want to speed up your sale.
Keep in mind that when selling on the Steam market there’s no direct way of cashing out your Steam funds, you could either buy TF2 keys from the market and cash your funds out that way or do what I prefer to do with my Steam funds, place a bunch of buy orders on unusual hats, it’s a great way of getting more money from your Steam wallet funds but it usually take a lot of time for my buy orders to go through, especially if I’m lowballing with my buy orders, but more on that in the Steam market section of this guide.
Unusual trading – How I do it
Trading with low tier unusuals
In this section I’ll explain how I make a profit trading with unusuals, I’ll try and be as transparent as possible so that you can easily get a hang of it. This is by no means the only way to trade with unusuals, it’s just how I like to do it.
I tend to mostly trade with low tier unusuals, these are the cheapest unusuals in the game, they’re not the most desirable hats in the game but there’s always a pretty good demand for these unusuals. Instead of buying & selling one expensive unusual I rather trade with 10 cheap unusuals, the profit per trade will most likely be much less but the risk that my hats will lose value or that I’m going to make a bad trade is not that likely. Another benefit of dealing with cheap unusuals is that I don’t need to have a knowledge about all the different effects and prices in the TF2 economy, I know how many keys I bought it for and how much I want to sell it for, it’s a very straight-forward way of trading.
Buying & Selling
I always buy my hats under the market value and I sell them for a relatively low profit, that’s the basic idea of it all. I use Backpack.tf and TF2Outpost to find people to trade with, I start off by making classifieds listings asking to buy unusuals on these two sites, I usually wait for sellers to come to me with their deals, but you’ll get a better result if you’re actively looking for sellers/good deals and send them your offers.
In general I tend to only deal with keys as payment when buying and selling my hats, you’ll have a easier time buying a hat for a discount if you’re able to pay with keys (aka. pure), getting the hats sold for keys is harder though and for some hats selling for a slight discount will help you getting your hat sold faster.
From time to time I get a hat that I can’t sell, I have no problem sitting on a hat for a long time but after a couple of months I usually would want to sell it and get rid of it, I have a few options then, I either just lower the asking price a bit and try to undercut the other sellers for my hat.
I can also head over to Marketplace.tf and sell it for cash, I usually list it with a slight discount just to get it sold faster. My last option is that I sell it on the Steam market, these prices are surprisingly high on the market, the downsides is that 15% sales fee that eats up a lot of profit, these two option usually requires plenty of patience before I get them sold.
Worth mentioning is that I use a trading bot (using the Bot.tf service), this let’s me to deal with a lot of transactions and being able to have a lot of buy listings up at the same time, but there’s also a negative aspect of using a bot, my buy prices isn’t always up to date so from time to time I’ll buy hats for more then they’re actually worth, if I did everything manually this would have been easily avoided and I could also be taking other unusuals as payment instead of just keys as it is now.
Other guides & resources
There’s quite a few Youtubers that do these journeys where you can follow them trading up a low valued item to a expensive unusual or something similar, watching these kind of trading series is a great way for new traders to learn, just because you can see the trading process step by step and they usually share they’re trading and thought process along the way. Down below I linked to a few of my favourite trading journey series on Youtube.