January 20, 2015

Should You Sell Your Car Yourself or Trade It In?

Maybe your car is getting too small for your family; maybe it doesn’t fit your new job or lifestyle. Whatever the reason, there are many ways to get rid of an old car in preparation for buying a new used car. Most people will choose one of two options: advertising and selling the car on their own, or trading the car in to a dealer. Each of these options has pros and cons, but which one is right for you?

Selling By Yourself

Browsing through Craigslist or the local classifieds, you might think that everyone is selling their own cars. Certainly the Internet has made it easier to sell your car without a dealer, but it’s also made it easier for people to compare cars being sold and chase the best deals. Selling your car on your own takes time, patience, and a willingness to put some work in.

Why would you want to sell your car yourself? First off, private sellers can often make more money from their sale than what you get at a car dealership. This is especially true if your car is a popular model or if it’s in exceptional condition.

Along with the money, private sellers have complete control over the terms for their car’s sale. There will likely be less negotiating than with a dealership, a big plus to sellers who don’t want a complicated sale.

On the other hand, selling your car yourself does come with some drawbacks. First, you’ll need to do some research before you sell to make sure you’re offering your car at a good price for your area. Search around and see if you can find other similar models to your own, and make note of how much they’re going for. You can also appraise your car online at kbb.com or other auto appraisal sites to get a sense of its value.

Another drawback of selling privately is that you will likely have to do some maintenance to your car before you can sell it. It’s always a good idea to invest in a tune-up or some basic mechanical work to guarantee there are no issues with the car. This will also put you in a better negotiating position when you’re trying to sell.

Private sales also take longer than trade-ins, since you have to wait for a buyer to come to you. If you’re planning on selling your car yourself, be prepared to wait on a seller for weeks or even months if your car is older or has a lot of miles.

Finally, remember that you’ll need to pay taxes on your sale when you sell privately. That’s because the state sees your sale proceeds as income. You won’t get to keep every penny of the sale price.

Trading Your Car In

In contrast to selling your car yourself, trading it in is generally a smoother and less complicated process. Most trade-ins take only a few hours to process, compared to the days, weeks, or even months required to sell a car on your own. However, there are some negatives to trade-ins that you should be aware of.

On the upside, trading your car in is above all faster and easier than selling it yourself. When you bring your car to a dealership, you can get your trade processed in a short time. Furthermore, you can even browse for a new car during your wait time.

Trading your car in also protects you from legal repercussions from selling your car yourself. If someone buys a car from a private seller and later finds a problem, that can land the seller in legal trouble. In contrast, trading a car in to a dealer removes your responsibility for any problems later on.

Finally, since you can roll your trade-in’s value into a down payment for a new car, you can save money on replacing your vehicle. Trading in your car makes it easier to get a good down payment without having to take money out of your paycheck each month.

The downsides of trading in your car aren’t too severe, but they do bear mentioning. First, you probably won’t get as much money back from a trade-in as you do from private sale. That’s because the dealer needs to put the work in to refurbish and tune the car. You can get a sense for what a dealer will pay from the Blue Book value of your car, but remember that the Blue Book is just a guideline, not a rule.

Finally, trading in a car at a dealership locks you into shopping for another car at that dealer. Make sure you choose your dealer carefully so you can get a good selection of vehicles once your trade is complete.

Whether you sold your car yourself or you have one you want to trade in, The KEY is the perfect place to shop for your next used car in Oklahoma City. With a huge selection covering all major makes and models, we have just the right model for you at a great price. We also offer special financing to cover buyers with less-than-perfect credit or other financial circumstances. Come to The KEY today to get pre-approved in only minutes and find your next car!


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