What is the Best Way to Sell Your Car?

May 4, 2022

What is the Best Way to Sell Your Car?

Do you have a car you want to sell? Maybe you’ve just gotten a new one and don’t need your old wheels anymore. Or, perhaps you want to sell your car so you can buy that new model you’ve been eyeing. Whatever the case may be, there are all kinds of ways to make a deal in today’s world. The key is to choose the right selling option for you.

Explore Your Options

Before you buy a “for sale” sign and stick it in your window, explore all the possibilities. You definitely could sell your vehicle yourself. If you go that route, you can drive around with that for sale sign. Or, you could list your car on online sites or even put an ad in the local paper. If you don’t want to put in all that work, however, you could also visit your local dealership and inquire about a trade-in offer. Some dealerships will also pay you a fee outright for your vehicle without requiring you to do a trade-in. 

There are tons of different ways to go about the car selling process. So, spend some time researching each option, as well as its pros and cons, to decide which one is the best fit for you and your situation.

Sell Your Car On Your Own

If you’re not afraid of a little hard work, then selling your car on your own may be for you. If you choose this path, you can decide how much to ask for your vehicle and which buyers to target. On the downside, you’ll also be responsible for advertising and taking care of all the legal requirements and documentation that go into a car sale. If you decide the work is worth it, the following tips can help you achieve success.

Pay A Visit to the DMV

Each state has its own rules and requirements for selling a car. Thankfully, your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is a wonderful resource. Visit your local office, either in person or online, and learn about the process for selling your vehicle. 

For best results, come up with a list of questions before your visit. Many of these questions might be answered during the course of the visit or in the informational materials provided. However, if there are any questions left over, you can ask them and make sure you understand the answers.

 If you skip this step, you might make a mistake that could hold up the sales process. Impatient buyers might even move on to someone else. So, though it may not be fun, take the time to fully understand the process. It will make everything go a lot more smoothly.

Be On the Lookout for Car Buying Scams

Sadly, scams are all too common these days. In fact, there are even scams that specifically target people who are trying to sell their vehicles. From writing out bogus checks to establishing false escrow services, there are a host of ways that “buyers” can try and take advantage of you. 

To protect yourself, make an effort to deal only with buyers you can meet in person, face to face. Additionally, never hand over your title until the buyer has paid for the car and you have verified that the payment is legitimate. If anything sounds “off” or “fishy” about a buyer’s request, go with your gut and seek legal advice before proceeding. In fact, consulting with a legal professional about any prospective deal is a wise idea.

Best Way to Sell Your Car

Set a Reasonable Asking Price

When you sell your car on your own, you’re free to ask whatever amount you want for it. However, just asking for something doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it. You’ll stand a much better chance of selling your vehicle and selling it quickly if you set a reasonable asking price. 

Knowing how much your car is worth can be tricky. Fortunately, there are many good online resources that can help you determine the value of your car. With that said, though, the value and what people are willing to pay can vary somewhat. As such, spend time researching similar sales in your area, and use what you find, as well as the value, to set a fair price. Also, take into consideration any damage or issues your vehicle might have that could lower the asking price. On the flipside, upgrades you have made could also raise the price.

Keep in mind, too, that most buyers will want to negotiate. For that reason, you may want to consider setting your asking price a little bit higher than what you actually hope to get. This can help buyers feel like they’re getting a good deal while also helping you make a fair profit.

Make Your Car Look its Best

Presentation can make a big difference in how fast your car sells and in how much it sells for. Thus, it makes sense to spruce up your vehicle as much as possible. Before listing it, give it a good, thorough cleaning inside and out. Consider repairing any minor cosmetic issues as well. Then, take good, clear photos of your vehicle. These will come in handy if you advertise your car via an online platform or if you communicate with prospective buyers online. 

Get the Word Out

There are countless sites where you can list your vehicle, and you should definitely use them to your advantage. But, don’t underestimate the power of good old-fashioned word-of-mouth advertising. Tell anyone and everyone that you are looking to sell your car. There’s a high probability that you’ll know someone who will know someone who is in the market for a vehicle.

Some buyers also have luck with parking or driving their vehicles in areas where they will be seen by a lot of people. If you try this trick, just make sure you do it somewhere safe and where you won’t get towed. Also, include clear but not easily traceable contact details, such as an email address you’ve created specifically for the purpose of selling the car. This will help you advertise to a wide range of people without putting yourself at risk.

Best Way to Sell Your Car

Thinking About a Trade-In?

As mentioned, the do-it-yourself approach isn’t for everyone. If you want to bypass the above steps and get rid of your car quickly, consider a trade-in. Many dealerships will take your current vehicle and allow you to use its value toward a new or new-to-you car. This can be an excellent choice, particularly if your vehicle still has a high value.

If you take this route, speak to several local dealerships in your area and find out which ones are willing to do a trade-in deal. Compare how much each dealership is willing to give you for your vehicle, as well as their selection of available cars. Once you’ve found a dealership you want to work with, follow these useful tips. 

Know What Your Vehicle is Worth

When you sell your car privately, you need to know its value. The same is true when you do a trade-in deal. Be aware, though, that trade-in value is often much lower than a private sale value. Typically, it will be close to the car’s wholesale value. So, when you conduct your research, you’ll want to see what the wholesale worth of your vehicle is. A good dealership will offer you around that price or more in trade-in credit. If you’re not clued in to what value you should expect, it’s all too easy to get stuck with a not-so-great deal, so don’t skip this step.

Deliver the Details

When it’s time for your trade-in, don’t show up at the dealership empty-handed. Instead, bring along any and all records and receipts related to your vehicle. You should be able to show the dealership how much you paid for the car and any repairs, servicing, or general maintenance you’ve had done. If you’ve taken great care of your car and/or made some repairs recently, it should fetch a higher value, which can help you get a better deal.

Sell Without a Trade-In

If a trade-in isn’t for you, know that some dealerships will pay you for your car outright. This can be a good choice if you want to buy a new car but not from a dealership, or if you just need to unload your old car quickly. Just like with trade-in deals, you should visit several dealerships and compare offers to get the best deal possible.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide when and how to sell your car. But, if you know you’re going to be parting ways with your wheels soon, start looking into your choices. Review the options and tips presented here. Then, when you’re ready, make your move.