What is the Fastest Way to Sell a Car?
March 16, 2022
When the demand for used cars is on the uptick, buyers might look at their vehicle and see the potential for a financial windfall. Some vehicles that are popular with buyers might be more valuable than car owners realize.
If a car isn’t being used or if the owner wants to upgrade to a new model, what is the fastest way to sell a car to get that money quickly? The options for selling a car include:
- Selling the car privately
- Selling the car to a dealership
- Using the car as a trade-in
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Private Sale
There is one major advantage to selling a car privately. A private sale allows for the owner to make the most money for their vehicle.
A private sale doesn’t have a middleman; the buyer is purchasing the car to use for their own needs. When selling to a dealership, the dealership is actually the middleman in the deal. Since the dealership will resell the car, it needs to build in a profit on a purchase. For this reason, the dealership will typically pay less for the vehicle.
When a buyer wants to sell a car privately, they can use Kelley Blue Book (KBB) to research the resale value of their vehicle. KBB will prompt the owner to either enter the make/model or the VIN or license plate number of their vehicle.
The owner also will need to select the trim of their vehicle as well as any upgraded features (they also could just select the base trim). KBB will ask the owner about the condition of the vehicle, too. Car owners should be honest about the vehicle’s condition. Selecting that the car is in excellent condition when it isn’t will result in an inflated value.
Once buyers understand the value of their car, they also need to clean the car and opt for a detailing, too (if they can afford it). Make sure the car is clean inside and out; remove any stains from the upholstery (if possible).
The seller also should make any necessary repairs. In addition, they should disclose any issues when listing their car.
Buyers will want to review a Carfax report, and car owners should have the report available. Car owners also should have maintenance records for the vehicle. If something still needs to be repaired, the seller needs to disclose this.
Pocket Sense reports that severe damages need to be disclosed for legal and ethical reasons. The site further explains that “…the buyer must be told about any car that has been flooded; such an event can leave the engine useless, the frame rusted and the interior moldy. Any car that has had a salvage title (has been totaled by an insurance company) in the past must be reported in writing as such.”
When selling a vehicle privately, the car owner also has to decide how to sell it and where to list the vehicle for sale. Some sellers might use Craigslist, but others prefer other selling platforms. When using any online site, sellers should be cautious when dealing with buyers:
- Never meet a buyer alone, always take someone (for test drives, too)
- Meet in a public place
- Complete the sales transaction at your bank or use a secure payment system
- Keep a paper trail, too (follow all state laws related to title transfers)
KBB dedicated an article to how to stay safe when selling a vehicle. Those who are considering a private sale might review it.
Selling to a Dealership Can be a Simpler Solution
Car owners who are reading about how to sell a vehicle privately might feel completely overwhelmed. Handling a private sale isn’t for every car owner. Selling to a dealership could be a much easier process. There is only one downside: the sale will be less profitable.
Dealerships won’t offer as much for a vehicle as the owner might receive in a private sale. Dealerships need to build in their profit margin, and this means less cash for the seller.
Car owners have two options in selling their car to a dealership. They can use the car as a trade-in or just sell it directly. Both options, though, might offer a similar purchase price.
Before selling a car to a dealership or using it as a trade-in, car owners should research the trade-in value of their vehicle via KBB. The steps required to obtain the trade-in value are the same as those outlined for uncovering the resale value.
Again, be honest about the condition. A car owner isn’t going to put one past a car dealership. However, understanding the trade-in value could help car owners receive the best price for their vehicle.
The process for trading in or selling the car to a dealership is fairly simple. The car owner will need to sign over their title to the dealership; this process could vary by state. However, typically, the owner signs and dates the back of the title (and prints their name, too).
The dealership also can typically walk a buyer through the steps of the sale. This is another reason why and how the selling process with a dealership can be much simpler. Since the dealership handles the sales process constantly, they are well-versed.
In addition, car owners won’t have to worry about how they will be paid for their car. They may receive less than they want, though. When using the car as a trade-in, the value of the trade-in will help offset the purchase price of the new car.
Selling to Carvana and Other Sites
Think of sites like Carvana as online dealerships. If a car owner wants to sell their car, selling a car to an online dealership also is fairly simple. Each company, though, could have their own process.
Carvana lets car owners get a quote for the price of selling their car; car owners will need their VIN or license plate number, though. The price that a car owner receives for their car might be in line with the trade-in value. Carvana and their competitors also need to build in their profit margin.
When is the Best Time to Sell a Car?
There are certain days, months and even holidays that could offer better prices or deals for buyers. Is there an ideal time to sell a vehicle?
Right now might be the best time to sell. This is due to the fact that the used inventory is crunched. KBB explains that dealerships are looking for used cars, and the site reports that “Used cars priced under $10,000 remain in the shortest supply. Vehicles in the $10,000 to $15,000 range are almost as hard to find….”
For individuals who own older cars might get a better price than they might expect. As the market begins to correct, though, prices might not be so high for sellers and buyers.
When demand is normal and the supply of used cars isn’t low, when is the best time to sell a car? Carbuzz reports that March and September are the worst months to sell, but February through around April and May are times when tax filers receive refunds. These months might be a good time to sell a car.
Explore New Car Options with RelayCars
Those who are interested in selling their vehicle might also want to purchase a new model. If a buyer has no idea what model is the best for their needs or budget, it’s time to start researching and exploring all the options.
However, even buyers who are just thinking about buying a new car can have fun exploring new models. The RelayCars app and mobile site provide immersive tools that transform the car shopping experience. Explore vehicles using interactive 3D models or preview vehicles within augmented reality or virtual reality car showrooms.
Download the RelayCars app for free via Google Play (for Android devices) or the App Store (for Apple devices). In the app, car shoppers can use their fingertips to interact with 3D models of their favorite vehicles; turn the car around and see it from different angles. The app also gives shoppers the opportunity to explore vehicles via a virtual reality showroom; however, users must have access to Google Cardboard.
Car shoppers also can visit the RelayCars website on their mobile devices. The mobile site gives car shoppers the opportunity to explore cars via 3D interactive imagery. In addition, the mobile site offers an augmented reality experience.
To access the augmented reality experience, car shoppers use the camera of their phone to capture their real-world environment. Whatever environment is shown via the camera is where a 3D image of the selected vehicle will appear. Preview a car anywhere or just check it out in the driveway.
Both the RelayCars mobile site and the mobile app let car shoppers preview models in different paint hues. In addition, RelayCars also lets buyers research the MSRP and other pertinent data of thousands of popular models.
While the easiest way to sell a car might simply be to sell it to a dealership (or offer it up as a trade-in), the RelayCars website and app provide the easiest tools for researching a new car. After selling that older car, use RelayCars to preview a virtual inventory of makes and models and have fun exploring the possibilities.