Each option has its own pros and cons - selling a car privately will often mean that you'll get more money for the vehicle. But it also means that you need to do the paperwork,deal directly with inquiries from scammers and tire-kickers, and make sure the title is transferred. Trading a car into a car dealership can be an easier way to sell your car, but it won't often yield the best return monetarily. The third option is to sell your car to an online car buyer directly. This is often the fastest and most convenient method, especially if you have a damaged,wrecked or broken-down car.

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Here are some things to consider when deciding how to sell a car:

  • Does your car have a lien? It's easier to sell a car if you own the title. Often you'll need to pay off the lien to transfer the title to the new owner if you sell privately, and most people in this situation opt to sell the car to a dealer or business that handles that paperwork.
  • What is the value of your car? This isn't an abstract question. Your make, model, and the condition of your vehicle will tell you what the fair market value is. Remember that you won't get the highest amount if you're selling to a dealer, who will need to prepare and resell the vehicle.
  • Is it more important to sell quickly or get the highest return? If you're more interested in getting the most money back from your vehicle, selling privately will likely reap you the best reward. However, if you need to get rid of the car quickly, it might be worth it to you to go with a car dealership (if you're purchasing a new car) or selling to a company that deals in buying cars, like DamagedCars.com.
  • Has your car been damaged in an accident? If your car isn't drivable, it still has value but it narrows the options for sale. Damage to a car, even when it's repaired, can significantly decrease the value, too.

This article will give you the detailed steps to sell your car privately in a number of scenarios. But we also want to touch base on your other options, like trading the car in. Each scenario is a bit different and the right choice for you will depend on your situation.

How to Sell My Car to a Dealer - Pros and Cons

How to Sell My Car to a DealerOne of the most common ways that a car owner sells their car is by trading it in for a new car. If you're interested in purchasing a new car, especially if your current vehicle still has a lien, this can be an easy way to go. The car dealership will tell you how much money your trade in is worth and that amount will be taken off the price of the new car. The car dealership can also accomplish all of the paperwork to make sure ownership is transferred over and transfer your license plates.

Some people will even sell their old car to a dealership without buying a new car. This is a straightforward process and the dealership can handle all of the paperwork to ensure that the title is transferred correctly. For the seller, it's an easy process that ends in the receipt of a check for the full amount agreed upon.This comes with a few caveats. Car dealerships will often give you better value for your car if you're trading it in for a new purchase through their dealership. They will not give you the top dollar in either case, though that might be worth it to save the work in selling privately. Car dealerships will also never pick up a car - they won't usually purchase cars that aren't drivable or damaged. They also may not purchase older cars with high mileage.

Benefits to Selling or Trading in Your Car to a Dealership

They make the paperwork process easy.
If you're buying a car through the dealer, it can be a good way to get the price down on your new purchase.
There's no work in finding a buyer or time commitment to meeting people who want to test drive the car.
They're easy to work with if you have an existing lien.

The Negative Aspect of Trading in Your Car to a Dealership

You will not get the most money for the car. It's likely that you can sell it for a higher price privately.
They will not take damaged or broken-down cars.
They may not take a car with excessive mileage.

Options - How to Sell My Car Fast

How to Sell My Car FastBig dealerships or companies that purchase cars are not your only option. You can sell your car privately through Craigslist, ads in the paper, or other social media and local boards. You can also sell your car to online companies, like DamagedCars.com, who come and pick up the vehicle.

Private Sales

Determine Value. The first step in a private sale is determining the worth of the car. You can look up your make, model, and specifics (such as mileage and condition) on sites like Kelley Blue Book. But,keep in mind Kelley Blue Book gives you retail values. You can expect to get 20 to 25-percent less than KBB says, even more if the car is damaged.

You can also click the button below to check and see how much your car is worth.

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If You Owe Money on the Car. If your car currently has a lien, that means that the lender holds the actual title to your car. You can't complete a private sale without the lender transferring the title to the new buyer. This situation makes it a little trickier of a private sale,though it can be done if your lender is local. In this case, you need to verify the amount due on your lien beforehand and the actual purchase would likely take place at the bank or lien holder's address, so that the balance can be paid and the title transferred.

If your loan is actually more than the worth of your car, this is not going to be an option for you, unless you're paying the balance out of pocket in order to secure the title for the purchaser. In many cases, when someone is "upside down"on their car loan, they'll go through a car dealer for a trade in to wrap the debt into their next loan, which will keep you in debt for a lot longer. The better financial move is to pay down the loan until you own the majority of the vehicle and then sell it.

Placing Your Ad. There are a number of venues to place a private ad for your car. You might decide to post on your own social media, so that you'll be dealing more with people you know in the real world. You might post ads on Craigslist or on local message boards and in newspapers. These decisions are completely up to your comfort level. In any event, include as much information about the car as possible along with your asking price. Keep in mind, this will require you to deal directly with potential buyers, scammers and tire-kickers.

Screening Buyers. It may take a while to find a buyer. Any type of advertisement is bound to yield a lot of people, some less serious than others. Screen the applicants by phone conversation and then follow safety protocols to meet strangers in a neutral place. You may also want to have a second person with you for safety and definitely let people know where you're going and what time.

Negotiating the Price. Once you've found an interested buyer and they've test driven the car, you'll want to settle on a final price.

Paperwork and Payment. The title should be signed over to the new owner when they've paid in full. Their payment needs to be verified, either through a cash transaction or a verified cashier’s check. You should also record the new owner's plate number and information, as well as the VIN and information on the car in a sales transaction receipt which both parties sign and keep. These Bill of Sales can be found online and are easy to create and fill out.

In the case of a private car sale, you'll want to verify the specific DMV regulations in your state. You'll also want to disclose all pertinent and known information about the vehicle before the sale. Any of these options might be the right choice for your needs. The real choice is in whether you want to sell the car fast or for more money back on your investment.

If all of this sounds like it’s not for you, you can click the button below to get a guaranteed offer for your car from DamagedCars.com. We will make you a no-obligation offer, fast and pay you on the spot when we pick up your car.

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