What to Know About Trading & Selling in the CS:GO Skin Exchange

Writer for Buff, Remi Smith
By Remi Smith
Joel Taylor, editor for Buff
Edited by Joel Taylor
Fact-check by Saguy Aizen

Updated July 17, 2023.

A phone screen displaying the CS:GO logo, displayed against a colorful LED computer keyboard.

We've personally met players who've bought entire new high-end gaming PCs for themselves just off of trading and selling skins from CS:GO. If you've got some fancy skins on your account that you want to trade or sell for a bit of cash, or just want to start getting in on the exchange, we're here to help!

Keep reading to find out how to do this and make some real money.

Difference Between Trading & Selling CS:GO Skins

Whether you're looking to upgrade your in-game gear with some new skins, or you're looking to make a profit on the CS:GO exchange, you'll either have to sell or trade your skins. But what is the difference between those two options, and what are the benefits of both?

Selling Skins

Skins change in value over time. As more skins come out and others become less available, collectors and sellers will affect the general marketplace value for specific items. Having a skin from 4 years ago might be more valuable now than it ever was, so keeping and "investing" in skins, then selling them at another time can earn you some profit.

You might also just have unwanted skins you're willing to sell. Either way, you can sell your skins on places like the Steam Marketplace (which is the safest) or third-party platforms.

Trading Skins

Trading skins is a much more delicate way of making money, but it's also a much faster way to make a profit.

Trading involves gaining knowledge of market trends and niches, knowing what collectors are looking for, and joining active trading communities. Finding the best way to trade usually involves rinse-and-repeat methods, such as finding discounted items and reselling them for a profit to collectors or for a more valuable item that you can sell to another collector.

Trading requires a lot more effort than just selling skins, but it's a great way to socialize in lobbies and become part of some great communities.

How to Identify a Reliable CS:GO Exchange Site

You've probably heard of as many dodgy CS:GO skin exchange sites as we have, so we've narrowed down some ways you can find the legitimate ones.

Browse the Site

Common sense is a powerful tool. Keep an eye out for things that seem illegitimate such as deals that are too good to be true or outdated information. Check how long the site has been around and keep an eye out for poor spelling and grammar.

If you get a bad gut feeling about the site, you should probably avoid it.

Check Online Reviews

Loads of people ask whether a site is legit or not, and many websites research this to provide an answer. Browse online and see if people have had good or bad experiences with certain trading sites.

Review Online Forums & Reddit Threads

Reddit is a surprisingly great place to ask and find questions about whether a site is safe for trading. Don't be afraid to ask!

Read the Terms & Conditions

The terms and conditions of a site can be a dead giveaway for potentially fraudulent activity. It will be a drag, but reading the T's and C's will help put your mind at ease.

How to Sell CS:GO Skins

So you've got some valuable skins you want to sell, but you want cash instead of filling your Steam wallet by selling on the Steam marketplace. Here are two great ways to go about selling your skins for real cash:

However, before selling with either method, you'll need to find your trade URL on Steam. To do so, simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to your Steam inventory
  2. Steam Inventory screenshot
  3. Click on "Trade Offers"
  4. Steam Trade Offers screenshot
  5. Click on "Who can send me Trade Offers"
  6. Steam screenshot of Trade Offers page
  7. Find your Trade URL under "Third-Party Sites"
  8. Steam Trade URL screenshot

Now that you know what your trade URL is, proceed with either of the two following methods:

1. Sell Via an Auction Service

Selling your skins through an auction site works a lot like eBay or Amazon, you'd have to sign up as a seller on the site, then put your item up for sale for an asking price of whatever you set. Buyers who are interested will ask to buy or start bidding for your item, and once the bidding window closes, you'll get a trade request, then get paid for your item.

The upside to auctioning is that you often get paid what you set your price as, the downside is you have to wait for someone to take an interest, which can be a while.

If you're ready to auction your skins, getting started is super easy with these steps:

  1. Sign in to your chosen safe auction site Thankfully, most of them let you sign in with Steam, which makes finding your inventory a bit easier.
  2. Input your trade URL onto the site
  3. Put your item up for auction Each site will have a suggested price listing based on the average price of that skin. It's best to find prices at lots of different sources to make sure you get the best deal.

And that's that! After someone takes interest in the trade, or you get the highest bid, you'll also receive a trade request on Steam. Simply accept it on both platforms, and you'll get paid.

2. Sell Via a Bot-Powered Platform

Bot-powered platforms are usually much faster when it comes to making sales but are generally less profitable. When a site lets you sell an item instantly, it's usually bot-powered. In this case, a price is given to you by a bot, and you can choose to either sell it for that amount or wait until that price changes. The bots will then use your items in their marketplace to make trade profits.

Getting set up is just as easy as the auction sites:

  1. Sign in to your chosen safe auction site
  2. Enter your trade URL
  3. Let the bot check your inventory for prices
  4. Pick what you want to sell
  5. Get paid straight to your chosen bank!

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How to Trade CS:GO Skins on Steam

Ah, the good ol' classic way of trading, similar to how Dota skins are traded on Steam. It's the easiest and safest way without having to ever leave Steam and sign-up to any 3rd-party platforms, making it the preferred method for thousands of players. Here's how it's done:

  1. Authenticate your account You'll need to have 2-factor authentication with Steam Guard enabled for more than 15 days to be able to trade.
  2. Open your friends list Find it under your profile tab in Steam, or "View" > "Friends list."
  3. View the profile of the person you wish to trade with Make sure you know this person is credible.
  4. Select "More" Hit the dropdown menu on the top-right of their profile, and select "offer a trade."
  5. Choose what you'd like to trade In the new window, set your inventory to show CS:GO items.
  6. Drag your trade items from both inventories into the trade boxes Pick which items you'd like to trade for in their inventory, and which ones you'd like to trade them for from yours.
  7. Confirm the trade contents and make an offer Remember to type a description in before you hit send, so they know why you're trading.

» Have extra Dota skins? Learn how to trade them for CS:GO skins.

Get to Trading

Whether you've got a collection of skins you'd like to sell for some cash, or you'd like to start trading up your inventory to fancy start-track knives and cool gloves, it's all possible with a little time and effort. Just remember that there are loads of malicious people out there, so trade safely!

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