When you're selling your car, you have two main options to consider:
- Should I sell my car online?
- Should I trade it in to the dealership?
Thanks to the internet, it's easier than ever to answer the question: where can I sell my car? Technology has made finding someone who buys used cars quite convenient. However, there are some things to keep in mind before you begin the process of selling or trading in your old vehicle.
First steps to take before selling your car
The first step to selling your car is determining its value. To know whether you're getting a good deal or not, you must find out how much your car, with all its wear, tear, and mileage, is going for on the market. There are several online resources to help you put a number on your vehicle's value. It can show you both the retail and wholesale prices of your car. The retail value is closer to what you may receive when selling to a private party, while the wholesale value represents what you may expect a dealer to offer you in exchange for your used vehicle.
Usually, the retail value exceeds the wholesale value, but there are other factors to consider that can affect the price you receive for your car. You can also check out classified listings of your vehicle's make, model, and year for a better idea of what others are willing to pay for your old car. Make sure to account for mileage, wear, and tear for the most accurate comparison.
The amount you get for your car is often determined by the amount of time you're willing to put into selling it. That includes detailing, repairing, and advertising the vehicle.
Even if a private buyer offers you a higher price for your car than a dealership, you might have to put more work into getting the car up to par for an individual buyer. Whereas, dealerships often take cars as-is. Selling your car to a dealership is the simpler and more straightforward option. It can save you time and eliminate some of the hassles of the paperwork you have to deal with selling to a private party.
The condition of your car can affect the price it sells for, however, expensive repairs may not be worth going through with. Instead, it may be wiser to list the vehicle's major issues in the advertisement. There are, however, some simple car fixes that may be worth considering before you sell. These are things that won't cost much time or money to fix but may secure a better price for your car.
Some small fixes you can make to your car before selling include:
- Replacing the windshield wipers
- Fixing a chipped windshield
- Replacing air filters
- Changing spark plugs
- Changing brake pads
Whatever you decide to repair, make sure it adds significant value to your vehicle, otherwise, it could be better simply disclosing the damage on the advertisement rather than fixing it. Spending $500 on a new paint job isn't very wise if it doesn't raise your vehicle's price tag.
Where to advertise your car
After determining your car's value and making the repairs needed to help your vehicle reflect its highest value, you are ready to attract potential buyers. Advertising your used vehicle is key to attracting quality buyers, especially if you are interested in selling to a private buyer.
Here are some methods to consider when advertising your used vehicle:
- Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces: These sites offer a convenient way to get in touch with a buyer. Usually, it only takes uploading a few photos and vehicle descriptions to determine what buyers are willing to pay for your car.
- Online Classifieds: Listing your car online as a classified ad is a good way to make sure your vehicle is getting adequate exposure, though, some of these sites may cost money in subscription or posting fees.
- Online forums and social media: Try posting your vehicle on message boards or social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Family and Friends: Word of mouth can be an effective method for advertising your used vehicle and finding local buyers. Spread the word through your circle of friends, family members, and co-workers.
- For Sale Signs: If you don't mind leaving the car outside of a garage, consider posting a For Sale sign directly on the vehicle.
Pros and cons of selling your car online
Selling your car online means more eyes on your advertisements. The more people that see your ad, the better chance you have of selling your car at the price you want. However, there is still a deal of hassle involved in posting and maintaining ads online.
Pros of selling your car online
- Selling the car yourself means you may get the retail price (or close to it) for your vehicle. Selling your car to the dealership means you'll get closer to the wholesale price.
- The Internet offers a large pool of potential buyers.
- Auction-style bidding means you may be able to sell your car for more than it's worth, especially if you're selling classic or vintage model cars.
- You'll have a variety of tools available for marketing and pricing your vehicle.
Cons of selling your car online
- It may take weeks or months to sell your vehicle.
- You have to post, maintain, and renew ads for your vehicle.
- There is more paperwork and the potential for a complicated payment process.
The bottom line
The Internet brings with it a large pool of eager buyers, but grabbing their attention takes time and effort. There is no guarantee you can sell the car, and if the process drags on long enough, it could cost you subscription and posting fees. The upside, of course, is that there's a better likelihood of you getting the retail price for your old vehicle. On the other hand, dealerships can be more accommodating, especially if you're in the market for a new car and less concerned about the price you get for your old one.