Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

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The Best Way to Sell a Car

There was a time when you wanted to sell a vehicle, you had to pay for a classified ad in a newspaper or other physical publication. It might not have been the most ideal way to sell a car, but there were few options at the time. A lot has changed over the years that have altered the way we sell cars. Sure, the birth of the internet transformed the way we sell cars, but there are other factors as well. For example, the way dealerships have evolved has dramatically affected the sales of both new and used cars. So you want to sell your car, and you are thinking about how to go about doing that. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of different ways to sell your car so you can decide what’s best for you.

Private Sales

One popular way to sell a car is by simply sticking a “for sale” sign in the window and parking it out front of your house. The biggest downfall to this method is that you aren’t going to reach a vast audience unless you happen to live on a busy highway. The upside is that a “for sale” sign costs a few bucks, so it is a cheap way to sell a car. Of course, if you are the frugal type, you could simply make your own “for sale” sign.

Thanks to the Internet, you have a number of ways in which you can sell a car. You can utilize sites like Craigslist to list your car; even Facebook has a marketplace where you can list things to sell. While listing on these sites won’t cost anything, there are still a few drawbacks. One of the biggest cons to this method is having people constantly (hopefully) email or text you about their interest in your car, which can get to be quite an inconvenience.

A couple of huge problems that could crop up when selling your car in the private market are scams and dealing with undesirable people. Internet ads reach a lot of people, which is both good and bad. It’s good because the chances are greater that you will reach a potential buyer, and it’s bad because people are waiting to scam you or just waste your time.

There are other drawbacks when selling a car to a private party. First, you can expect the process to take time; you aren’t going to list your car on Monday morning and have it sold Monday evening. In all likelihood, the sale of your car could take days, if not weeks. Also, you have to be careful about the payment you accept, personal checks are out of the question, and it could be nerve-racking carrying around a huge chunk of cash after the sale.

A person is passing a set of car keys to another person in front of a car.

Online Car Dealers Buy Cars

CarMax and other similar online car dealers will buy your car from you. Even if you don’t buy from them, you can sell your car to these companies. There are a lot of upsides to this method. For example, it’s an easy process. All you have to do is schedule an online appraisal and then bring your car to one of their locations. Their offer is good for seven days to give you time to think about it. Best of all, you don’t have to deal with getting scammed or the other issues that could happen when selling to a private party.

The downside to this method is that you probably won’t get what you think you should for your car. Therefore, it would be a good idea to go to the Kelly Blue Book website to get a good idea of what your car is worth before settling on the price that CarMax, or whatever online car seller you prefer to use, offers.

Word of Mouth

This is another old-school way to sell a car, and really not a bad way to go at that. You start by getting the word around at work or at social functions that you have a car for sale and see if that piques any interest. If that fails, then post something on social media that only your friends will see. You might be surprised by the interest people take.

The upside to this method of selling a car is that you are either dealing with somebody you know or work with, or you are dealing with a friend of somebody you know. This is a huge benefit as you will no doubt encounter a few weirdos and unethical people posting your car for sale on Craigslist.

As with the other methods of selling a car, there are a few downsides to selling your car by word of mouth. The first problem is that you aren’t going to reach as many people as you would selling your car with other methods. The second problem is that it could take a very long time to sell your car, which isn’t good if you need to sell it quickly. Lastly, if you are selling your car to a friend or work acquaintance, they might expect you to give them a great deal because they already know you. So you might not get market value for your car.

A white toy car is shown with a hundred dollar bill tied to the roof.

Take it to the Dealership

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can sell your car, but taking it to a dealership is a brilliant move. Let’s start with the fact that it won’t cost you anything to sell your car to a dealership, so you save money by not having to buy a “for sale” sign or having to pay to post it on an auto-selling website. It’s also a very easy process; all you do is throw the necessary documents in the car and drive it to the dealership. Yup, all you have to do is bring along the title, and in a very short amount of time, you will be free from your car and have money in your bank account. There is no reason to worry about getting scammed or having a check bounce, and you don’t have to suffer the burden of walking around with a wad of cash in your pocket.

Selling your car to a dealership also means you don’t have to deal with sketchy people or people you would never want to encounter in the first place. Taking your car to the dealership means you get to converse with a friendly and knowledgeable employee who will go out of their way to ensure you have a good experience. Here’s the kicker, even if you owe money on the car you want to sell, the dealership will handle that. That is a big headache that you don’t have to deal with by taking your car to the dealership.

Another benefit of taking your car to the dealership is that you don’t have to actually sell them the car; you can use it for a trade-in. You can negotiate a great deal on a new car when you have something to bargain with. Lastly, selling your car to a dealership is a quick and painless process that will be finished before you know it. You will wake up one morning with the task of selling your car and go to sleep that night with the warm feeling that the task is complete.

There are several options to choose when you are ready to sell your car. You might be thinking about which way is best for you, and while methods like selling it on Craigslist or selling it to a private party have their upsides, they also have several cons. There is no need to fret over the situation; simply drive your car to a dealership, and the process will be pleasant and quick, and having that extra money in the bank is never a bad thing.