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How to Sell Stolen Items Without Joining the Thieves Guild in Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V

A good thief works alone.
Skyrim Shop
Image via Bethesda Game Studios/Microsoft

Although there are far worse crimes in Skyrim than thievery or pickpocketing, shopkeepers and merchants take theft very personally and will refuse to buy any stolen items. How these shopkeepers know what items are definitively stolen is anyone’s guess, but if players want to sell their stolen items, they will need to find alternative methods to do so.

Joining the Thieves Guild will always be the easiest solution, as it is the simplest and most straightforward method. The Thieves Guild in Skyrim is precisely what it seems, a faction entirely comprised of criminals who make their money by stealing everyone else’s. Although many players can have an enjoyable playthrough within the Thieves Guild, many players simply desire the privilege of selling their pilfered wares, without all that Thieves Guild quest nonsense. This guide is for those who want to make an honest living by stealing and selling merchandise, without crawling around in the sewers of Riften to do it.

Although the Thieves Guild will always be the easiest solution, the Thieves Guild isn’t everyone’s favorite faction, so the second easiest solution would be to remove the “Stolen” tag from the contraband. Removing the “Stolen” tag from stolen goods will allow the player to sell the pilfered merchandise to any merchant or shopkeeper, regardless of the merchandise’s origins. There are many myths and rumors regarding functional methods of removing the “Stolen” tag, but the easiest way is actually quite simple.

Players will need to own a house and have a follower to use this method. If you don’t have a house or a follower, don’t worry, they’re both incredibly easy to get.

How to Obtain a Follower in Skyrim

The quickest way to obtain a follower in Skyrim is to go to Riverwood and hire either Faendal or Sven as a follower. To do this, players will need to complete “A Lovely Letter”, a short but simple quest:

  • Travel via teleport or on foot to Riverwood.
  • Locate and speak to Sven. He will ask you to deliver a disdainful letter to Camilla Valerius, and tell her it’s from Faendal, his rival.
    • You may also locate and speak to Faendal instead, and he will also give you a fake letter from Sven. It doesn’t truly matter which one you speak to first, Sven is just less of a wanderer and is easier to track down.
  • Locate and speak to Camilla Valerius. You will get the option to either give her the letter or to tell her it’s a fake. If you tell Camilla it’s a fake, it will endear Faendal to you as a follower. If you give the letter to her and say nothing, it will endear Sven to you as a follower.
  • Whichever option you choose, all you need to do then is go back to whichever prospective follower you’ve chosen and speak to them again.
  • Either Sven or Faendal will follow you and help you along your journey from then on.

How to Acquire a House in Skyrim

The quickest way to get a house in Skyrim is to purchase Breezehome (A locked, vacant house) in Whiterun. To do this, players will need at least $5,000 gold and must have completed the “Dragons Rising” story mission.

  • Travel via teleport or on foot to Whiterun.
  • From Whiterun, go to Dragonsreach and locate Proventus Avenicci. He’s usually wandering around the Living Quarters or hanging around the Jarl of Whiterun.
  • Speak to Proventus Avenicci. You will be given multiple dialogue options, one of which being an offer to purchase a house in Whiterun for 5,000 gold. Select this dialogue option.
  • He will then ask if you’d like to purchase decorations for your home for extra gold, but this is optional and decorations can always be purchased later on.
  • After purchasing the house, exit Dragonsreach and go back to Whiterun, where you will find Breezehome unlocked and under your ownership.

How to Remove the “Stolen” Tag from Stolen Items

This is the easiest way to sell stolen items without getting involved with the Thieves Guild. It only takes a few moments to complete this process, and all of your stolen goods will be able to be sold anywhere.

  • Enter your home with your follower in tow.
  • Locate an empty chest or an empty piece of furniture that doubles as a vessel for storage.
  • Open the chest or container and store any stolen merchandise inside, then close it.
  • Turn and speak to your follower. Many dialogue options will pop up, including an option commanding them to do something for you. Select this command.
  • Turn back to the storage container. A prompt will appear, commanding the follower to take the entire contents of the container. Select this prompt.
  • Your follower will empty any stolen items from the container into their inventory. To retrieve it, speak to them again and command them to trade some things with you.
  • After selecting this option, you will gain full access to your follower’s inventory. Take all your items from their inventory, and they will automatically be transferred into yours.
  • After taking your items back from your follower, locate the same stolen items in your inventory. The “Stolen” tag will no longer be applied to your stolen items and will now be able to be sold to any merchant.
Skyrim Elder Scrolls Town
Image via Bethesda Game Studios/Microsoft

If you don’t want to bother with a house or a follower, there is another method to sell stolen goods in the game, but it’s not as beginner-friendly.

How to Sell Stolen Goods Directly to Any Shopkeeper

To use this alternative method, players will need to have a minimum of 90 points invested into their Speech skill in their Skilltree.

  • Once there are enough Speech skill points accumulated, players will be able to attain the Investor perk, which allows them to invest in shopkeepers to increase their available gold.
  • After the Investor perk is obtained, players will then be able to move on to the Fence perk, a perk within the Speech skill that allows the player to sell stolen goods to any merchant they’ve invested in.
  • Once both of these skills are achieved, you will be able to sell any stolen items directly to any merchants you’re invested in.

There are many more rumored methods for selling stolen items without the Thieves Guild, but these are the only two proven methods that don’t include hacking or glitching the game. Although playing through glitched or hacked versions of Skyrim can prove to be an interesting experience, being able to achieve the same result through authentic methods always feels so much more rewarding.

If you love Skyrim and can’t wait for Skyrim Elder Scrolls VI to come out, you can always fill the void with Elder Scrolls Online, or the other top-selling games that scored alongside Skyrim: Elder Scrolls V on Steam!

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