Trading-in vs. Private Selling: Which is the Better Way to Sell Your Car?
Which of the two sale options will you choose when you sell your car?
Nothing lasts forever—at least not when it comes to your car. Sooner or later, you will have to let it go, whether you will be moving on to buy a new vehicle, you need to trim your liabilities, or you simply aim to cash out some assets to generate money.
Choosing the right sale method doesn’t need to be a difficult decision because there are only two logical options. You can opt to trade it in at a trusted dealership or sell it on your own.
“Choosing the right sale method doesn’t need to be a difficult decision.”
Both means of selling your car come with their own set of pros and cons. The decision to choose could be prompted by basic factors like the urgency, convenience, and target profits.
Trading in your car
If you seek convenience when selling your car, trading in your car is the better choice. You can sell the car without spending much of your time and effort and without depleting your patience. In general, such transactions can possibly take as fast as 5 minutes to complete. You can have the sale on the schedule most convenient to you, plus you can leave the dealership to take care of the legwork and documentation.
Most dealerships buy used cars in any condition—whether the vehicles are in near-mint condition or are coming with dings, dents, rust, or rips. In many cases, a car that doesn’t run can still be sold and towed.
“Most dealerships buy used cars in any condition.”
However, the downside could be a factor that matters the most to you. Trading in your car is not the option to take if your goal is to generate the greatest amount of cash from the transaction. Convenience comes with a cost and in this case, it may translate to a sale amount that could be up to 20% less than the car’s market value. If you think your vehicle deserves a higher offer price, the next option might make more sense.
Selling through a private sale
If you aim to make a bigger amount of cash from the transaction, if you are not in a hurry, or if you are certain you could possibly sell your vehicle at an amount that won’t undervalue it, you can decide to sell the car on your own. Not having to deal with a dealer means you can set your own terms when selling the car.
“Not having to deal with dealer means you can set your own terms when selling the car.”
The process will start with finding a prospective buyer, which won’t be exhilarating and will likely require placing ads, tapping your personal network, or slapping a ‘For Sale’ sticker on the car’s window. No one can tell how long you’ll wait to find that buyer or how much you’ll spend for advertising and maintenance (of course, you’ll have to make sure the vehicle is in its most presentable condition all the time). You will also have to deal with the paperwork and legwork yourself.
However, if you sell your car on your own, you’ll enjoy the chance of making more money from the transaction. That will leave you free of the guilt of undervaluing your old companion. If your car is a popular model, remains in excellent (or near new) condition, has low mileage, and all maintenance receipts prove it is a ‘clean item’, you can possibly sell it faster than anticipated at an agreed price that can send you laughing all the way to the bank.
“If you sell your car on your own, you’ll enjoy the greater chance of making more money from the transaction.”
The decision is yours to make. Which of the two sale options will you choose when you sell your car?