Car Buying Advice

Trade or Sell-It-Yourself

Trade or Sell-It-Yourself

You have decided to buy a new car, but what do you do with your old car? You have 3 choices… keep it, give it away, or sell it. Now the first two are easy, but the last one comes with some challenge. Trade-in or sell-it yourself — Hmmm… If you sell-it-yourself, do you sell your car to a dealer or do you sell your car to a private party? Either choice has its advantages and disadvantages. You can sell your car to an auto dealer at the point of purchase of a new car – also known as trade-in. The one true advantage to this approach is you get rid of the car quickly with relatively little work. The down side of this approach is that you sell the car at a discount.

 The dealer is in the business of selling cars retail, so he or she wants to make a profit. The car dealer’s profit is in direct competition with you getting what you want/need out of the car. If you think the car is worth $7500, you may be right and the dealer may agree. However, the dealer can’t give you that much for your used car and make money too.

The car dealer is likely to give you far less. In some cases thousands less. The dealer is going to give you the wholesale value of the car. This is the same price he/she is going to pay for the same car at the dealer auction. You have to ask yourself if the convenience of trade-in is worth the cost. The answer will go a long way to shaping your decision.

for sale by owner

Your other alternative is sell-it yourself. There is an opportunity to make a lot more on your used car. This decision could mean hundreds or thousands of dollars in your pocket, depending on the condition, year, make model, and value of your car. By selling the car yourself you have more control and more options.  You open yourself up to a larger audience of buyers that are more likely to develop an emotional bond with your “gently” used car.

The challenge with this option is that there is a lot more work involved. First you have to advertise your car. You could go old-school and put up a flyer in the laundry mat, the library, and the grocery store. However, if you want to sell the car this month or even this year… you may want to list the car online. There are a number of solid sites that offer free or near free consumer to consumer auto listings. Some of the top sites are , , , and .

Once you have listed your car online now all you have to do now is wait for the phone to ring – right? If you have taken good pics (at least 6) and taken the time to write a good description you should get calls if you price the car right. Yup… you have to do some research on what your car is worth. Additionally, you have to do some research on what your car is selling for too. Those two numbers may not be the same. You will have to experiment to get the pricing right. You want to sell the car, but you want to get as much out of it as you can. Otherwise, you might as well have done a trade-in.

Go to to get used car pricing. You can find that information at the other “automotive” shopping sites listed above too. If this feels like its going o be work, then you are right. Now you have to field calls and negotiate over the phone with an untold number of shoppers. You could get lucky and agree on a price with the first caller and he/she has the cash to buy your car. The other option is you take a dozen calls  or more and answer lots of questions about your gently used car and only one of the three car shoppers that you make an appointment with show up on time or at all to the appointment and chooses to not renegotiate the deal you discussed on the phone.

Choosing to do a trade-in saves time, but costs money. Sell-it-yourself is a good way to make more money, but there is some work involved. Most people make this decision by which commodity they have more of… time or money.  The choice is yours… Trad-in or sell-it-yourself Good luck!

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