Buying gold and silver is not as straightforward as it sounds. There’s a lot to know when purchasing these precious metals for the first time, but if you know what you’re doing, collecting gold and silver also has a tremendous upside because these metals are often worth a lot of money. Whether you’re looking to make an investment, or simply hunting gold and silver as a hobby, you need to keep a few things in mind.

What’s Your Purpose?

First of all, you must determine why it is you are wanting to buy gold and silver. Are you looking for something that will appreciate over time? Are you hoping to barter or trade in the future? Some people purchase gold and silver to diversify their cash assets or to hold in their IRAs. Buying gold and silver can be an insurance and an investment for the future, especially if the economy collapses. If that happens, you will have a tangible investment to help you weather such a calamity.

Know the Pros and Cons

Some gold and silver options are better than others. The pros to look for in a dealer when you’re looking to acquire precious metals include things like low premiums, purity levels, affordability for limited budgets, government guarantees of purity or a long history of trading worldwide. Also be sure to research the potential downsides of the dealer, including high premiums, limited durability, ineligibility for IRAs or a lack of aesthetic value.

Resale Value

Consider the marketability of what you decide to buy. Chances are, you’ll want to sell it later on. Resale value is an important consideration when making a decision.

When To Buy

Keep in mind that you’ll need to follow the price of gold and silver before making your purchase. First, you need to decide when will be the right time to invest and develop an understanding of what factors affect the price of gold so you can maximize your purchase power.

Outside events like war, changes at the central bank, supply and demand and the size of the average transaction can all influence the spot price. Those factors can make it so the price is constantly fluctuating. Remember this phrase: “buy low, sell high.”

Research Your Retailer

Be sure to research reputable retailers in your area. Some stores may add on hidden fees or sell products that aren’t as good as they advertised. Be sure you are buying from an established source you can trust, taking into account things like price, buyback policies and reputation.

Find a retailer that will help you make a purchase that will benefit you the most. You never want to buy something that you’re not sure about, so ask a lot of questions and do your homework.