Updated 8/7/18

How To Sell A Car?

There are several different ways to sell your car. You can sell online via different third-party websites such as eBay (online auction), Craigslist or Facebook (online classifieds) selling privately. You can also trade at a dealership. What exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of each way?

trading at a dealership


Online Auction

Online auction sites allow you to sell anything from your shaved ginger beard (I know a Scottish person who really did this!) to antiques, and even your vehicle. There’s a fee associated with listing on sites such as eBay motors. Your listing will be available to a wide audience nationally. Options of selling; listing an auction or a “buy it now”. The “buy it now” listing is essentially a classified ad.

Putting your vehicle up for auction, there is no guarantee it’s going to sell for the price you need. If there’s a lien (loan) on the vehicle, this would have to be settled in full before you are able to sell it. Who has that kind of money sitting under the mattress? Is someone going to travel across the country to buy your car? Probably not, unless it’s really cheap or rare. There is one more word…scammers.

Classified Advert

Talking of scammers. Scams are rife on websites such as craigslist. Vehicle sales are just one of the many on there. When you see a photo of an eighties truck that looks new in the height of summer when you are looking in February, that is usually a pretty good indication something isn’t right. The best ones are when a seller tells you they are on a military base across the country or on a mission in Africa. Ya know, the ones want you to wire money before you even see the vehicle.

From a selling point of view, the great news is it’s free to make an online listing. The not so good news, aside from the scammers, you will probably be hounded with soliciting phone calls from people that have no intentions of buying your vehicle or want to sell it for you (for a large fee).

Update: A New Scam

that has recently been happening is people calling pretending to be interested in buying your vehicle, but want you to purchase an accident report. If it not a CarFax or AutoCheck, this is most likely a scam where you have to pay for the report. Trading at a dealership you’ll never be asked to pay for a car history report.

Private Sale

Your buddies next door neighbors girlfriend wants to buy your vehicle. That’s great, you found a buyer who is going to give you the price you’re asking. Now what? Well, assuming it’s paid off (no finance) the buyer will have to come up with cash. Loan approvals can take a few days. Actually receiving the cash could take weeks to finalize.

Selling car privately takes time

Paperwork then has to be sent back and forth. Some of which has to be notarized. A good point is, banks will usually type up a bill of sale for you to give to your buyer. A downside is, this is a lengthy process and not the easiest. Private sales work best where loans aren’t involved, that way it’s quicker, however, a notarized title/bill of sale is still required.

Trading at a dealership

This is by far the easiest most stress-free way to sell your vehicle on top of getting to choose a new vehicle. Trading at a dealership, you won’t have to worry about the paperwork, it’s all done for you. You don’t have to worry about scammers because you can see the person in front of you.

Most of the time your old vehicle is taken on the same day you get your new one.

The other benefit of trading at a dealership is, you’ll get a temp tag on your new vehicle for 60 days (not available with private sales) giving you more time to save for sales tax and plates. Oh and on that note of sales tax, trading in your vehicle, you only pay the tax on the difference between your old vehicle and the new one. This cannot be done on private sales.


trading at a dealership

You might also like Top10 Questions to ask when buying a used car or truck.

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