Should You Trade in Your Car or Sell It Privately?

Should You Trade in Your Car or Sell It Privately?

One bright spot for consumers wishing to trade in or sell cars privately is that used car values are rising, which helps offset the costlier cost of purchasing a new car due to inventory scarcity. The median price of all used cars from dealers was a 40% increase. You have three options when it comes time to sell your car: sell it to a dealer, trade it in, or sell it privately.

While trading in or selling to a dealer is a quicker and easier process, selling privately typically has a financial advantage. Find the best path for you and discover how to sell your used car for the maximum money, no matter what method you choose.

Why Sell Cars Privately?

If you want to sell your car for the most money possible, going private might be the best option. Private-party buyers typically don't purchase cars with the intention of reselling them for a profit, in contrast to dealers. This increases your chances of receiving a greater offer for the vehicle. If you sell privately, you have more options for negotiating than if you trade in or sell to a dealer, where you can only consider the highest offer.

Selling privately might occasionally result in receiving a higher price for a pre-owned vehicle. Older, high-mileage trade-ins are typically sent to a wholesale auction by dealers, which results in higher expenses for them and a lesser offer for you. A few reasonably priced solutions are still available to customers due to the inventory shortage: 

As of the median price among dealers for a used car that was ten years old (model year 2012) was low. If your vintage car is in decent condition, buyers on a tight budget may probably be interested in it.

Why Trade In or Sell to a Dealer?

Dealing with a dealer directly offers convenience to sellers who value their time more than the promise of greater money. While a dealership allows you to trade in your old car for a new one and purchase a new one all in one place, selling privately involves more labor and uncertainty: 

In addition to making an advertisement and listing the car online, you'll also need to follow up with prospective purchasers and arrange for test drives for strangers upon request. You must maintain vigilance until the deal is closed, even if you have an acceptable offer in place. This entails transferring ownership of the car and ensuring that you get paid.

If you feel that selling privately won't be worth the bother due to the financial benefit, trading in or selling to a dealer is a less stressful option, but it still requires some preparation. Similar to a private sale, you'll have to ascertain the car's worth, compile the required paperwork, and get it ready for evaluation.

In certain situations, trading in a car can have tax benefits that help balance out the financial disadvantage in addition to saving time and effort. The trade-in value of your old car can be credited towards the purchase price of another vehicle you acquire at the same time, reducing the total amount of taxes you owe. 

For instance, you will only pay taxes on the difference between the agreed-upon price and the trade-in amount for a new car. (It should be noted that this benefit is exclusive to states that impose sales taxes on automobiles and grant a trade-in tax exemption.)

How to Sell Your Car for the Most Money

Making the necessary preparations can help you receive a higher price for the car, regardless of whether you choose to sell your car privately or through a dealership. You might be shocked at how much your automobile is worth if the inventory deficit continues to drive up used-car values. 

Get estimates from several dealers like, and use resources like the used-car selling on our website to estimate the market worth. Get the automobile ready for the appraisal by giving it a thorough washing, fixing any small issues, and gathering all of the accessories, such as extra key fobs.

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