Buy & sell licences for dummies

We created a process, so that buying and selling of licences is easy even for kids, always transparent about what is going on and risk free for both, the buyer and the seller.

This system is foolproof. You will see.

How to determine the price?

The price for a licence is determined by 3 different factors:

    • What are the alternatives for the buyer?
    • Other drivers, which influence the price
    • Is it a “naked licence” or in combination with other official plugins?


1. The perspective of the buyer

We do not evaluate the perspective of the seller because there is only one goal for him/her: The highest price possible 🙂

But the buyer is more “complicated”. He has basically 2 options.

A. He buys new directly from Xenforo

As of 07/2020 a new licence costs 160 USD (we do not reflect taxes here, because they differ from one person to the other, some do not pay taxes at all).

So this would be the alternative for the buyer, right? No, unfortunately this is not as simple

There are 2 “drivers” you have to be aware of.

First, if the buyer owns already more than one licence, he will pay less than 160 USD. See here the official discounts from Xenforo, depending on how many licences you do own already (as of 07/2020):

So if you are negotiating with a buyer who owns already several licences, he will not be willing to pay the same price as a buyer who does not have any licence yet. At least he wil try not to do. But more on this later.

Second you have to be aware of the rules at Xenforo. The same licence can be sold only one time. After that, this licence is not valid anymore for any kind of transfer.

In other words, the buyer who buys new, can sell it later on again for price “x”.  The buyer who buys second hand, can not sell the same licence again.

Obviously this has do be reflected in then second hand price of a Xenforo licence 😉

Therfore this “x” has to be deducted from the 160 USD price tag as the alternative price. The alternative price is maximum 160-x and minimum 130-x


B. He buys second hand over this platform

Sometimes you want or need to save costs or you think you will never want to sell the licence again. Whatever the reason is, second hand has to be cheaper than buying new. Otherwise you would act illogical.

Reflecting this alternative price from A, the range for a used Xenforo only (“naked”) licence with full 12 months of free updates can be only around 80 USD.

Why? Because if you buy new for max. 160 USD* and if you would get more than 80 USD when selling it again (i.e. 100 USD), you would always buy new, right? Because than the math is: 160-100= 60 USD.

So the brand new licence would cost you only 60 USD since you get so much money if you sell it again later.

Many newcomers do not know that or never cared to do the math. But you should.

Of course you can decide to pay more, but than you have to have a specific reason to pay more than it is worth it.

One reason could be that you do not have enough money to buy brand new. So you might be willing to pay i.e. 110 USD. We do not recommend this, but this is up to you of course.

And do not get trapped by other licence marketplaces. There is a lot of fake trades out there just to increase traffic and attractivity for sellers & buyers. Do not believe in these numbers. In 99% of the cases they are fake. There is one platform for example, on whch 95% of the offers are either fake or licences, which are not allwed to be tranferred again or nulled licences. You will only find out after you contacted the sellers by PM. If he replies at all. 🙂


2. Other drivers, which influence the price

A. Duration

The most important factor is the the time you are still allowed to download new updates without renewing your licence first.  A licence, which has still 12 months of free updates is worth more than a licence with only 2 weeks left for new updates.

We call this time for free updates available “duration”. The duration can be at best 12 months and at worst 1 day.

A licence that has no duration left is not allowed to be sold according to the rules of Xenforo. That licence is then “not valid for transfer” in the words of Xenforo.

But do not worry. You do not have to calculate the value for the individual duration yourself. We do this for you. We have published a spreadsheet for this. We calculate this by months the licence is still eligable for new updates.


B. Perspective of a seller/ human behaviour

Unfortunately, it is not as easy as we would like to have it. Or let’s say the real prices of real transactions are not as logical, as it should be if you only do the mathematical approach.

“naked licence” (without official addons):

You can see in the spreadsheet clearly in column #1 (light bue) what the price for a licence should be, if you do the objective mathematical approach. But human beeings do not act this way. There is something like an emotional hurdle based on opportunity costs.

Let’s take an example. A seller will never sell a licence, which has 1 month duration left for only 25 USD. But 25 USD would be the mathematical correct price.

But he will rather keep it. Understandable, I think. Why should he sell it for only 25 USD? Therefore the pure mathematical approach is very objective, but useless for the reality.

We have to use a different approach. Let’s forget for a second the duration. What would be the price, a seller wants to have at least, as an absolute minimum, to be willing to sell?

We do follow the 2nd hand market for Xenforo licences for many years already. At the end of the day, the lowest offer accepted was in 99% of the cases 65 USD. No matter what the duration was. Why this?

If the seller wants to renew the licence himself, he has to pay 55 USD (naked licence). So he expects at least 10 USD more than this. He knows, that by the math this is too expensive for those licences, which have a lower duration than 6 months. No matter which mathematical model you use.

But he does not care.

This is the reason, why you can only use the maths with different durations for those licences, which have a longer duration than 6 months. In Reality, you basically pay for everything with a duration of 7/8 months or less 65 USD, for durations of 7/8 months and more accordingly a premium (column #5).

We did different calculations too (column #2-#4), but at the end of the day, it did not overlap with the numbers which have been payed in reality. So column #5 is the most realistic one.

Why not column #4? Because the prices for 11 and 12 months duration are too high. It will be hard to find a buyer, who is willing to pay that price.

Why? If the buyer buys a licence directly now from Xenforo, he pays 160 USD. He can sell it, no matter with which duration, for at least 65 USD. If he pays now 110 for a licence, which he can not sell anymore, he would be stupid. 160 USD minus 65 USD = 95 USD. Someone who has 110, has also 160 in most cases. The buyer which can not afford it, will rather look for a licence with a shorter duration to save money.

And for that buyer 65 USD sounds a lot better than 95 or 110 😉

So column #5 is the best compromise and reflects also the trades over the last 5 years.

You can now have a hot discussion about the steps inbetween (each months = 7.5 USD). We made it easy for us and split the different months in equal steps. At the end of the day, it is a waste of time to discus a long time about 3 USD more or less for a licence 😉

If you compare the different columns #1 up to #5 with each other for the duraions 8+ months, you will realise, that they are pretty close to each other in most cases.

This spreadsheet shall only give you more transparency, to support you in your decision as a buyer and as a seller.

It is up to you what you pay. But as explained above, it makes the most sense to stick with the numbers of column #5.


3. Naked or not?

The spreadsheet above is for naked licences only. There is a difference, whether it is a “naked” Xenforo licence or if it comes with an official addon like Xenforo Media Gallery (XMG) or Resource Manager (RM) or both.

Each addon costs on the first purchase 55 USD. It is linked to the XF-licence number and can neither be transferred alone, nor can it be moved to another licence number. So if you decide to buy an official addon, this is a marriage with that licence forever and the only way to get divorced, is to let the XF team delete it for you. This is like killing your wife. This means, that it can never be activated again. These are 100% sunk costs. A dead body.

This is important to know. Because if you buy a 2nd hand XF licence with an official addon attached without needing the addon, you are forced to pay every 12 months in addition to the 55 USD renewal fee for the XF licences also 15 USD renewal fee for that addon. So your yearly renewal costs are suddenly not 55 anymore, but 70 USD now. And if you have 2 addons, it is 85 USD each year. So be cautious what you are buying, if you do not need it.

Check whether it is worth it for you and delete it in time before the renewal date in case you do not need it, to save unnecessary renewal costs.

I think the 2nd hand price for a XF licence with ONE additional addon should not be more expensive than plus 15 USD, if 2 addons are attached, maximum 30 USD more than in the spreadsheet above.

As always: Use your own judgement!


How to use the spreadsheet?

Simply pick the duration in the Excel sheet which is applicable for your transaction. Search for the duration of your “deal” in column #5 and you know the correct price for you. This is totally transparent. These prices are fair and reflect most transactions in the past.


Middleman Service

This is a free service we recommend for this platform to guarantee a risk free trade for both, the buyer and the seller. We are still working on the details.



* = In this calculation we do not take into account the buyers with already several licences. They have to bite the bullet, that they pay more than it does make sense for them, because no seller will sell its licences with full 12 month duration for less than 80 US 😉

For a large volume licence owner, the best prices would be at 130-80=50 USD. No seller will do that.