Trading In vs Selling Your Used Car

You’ve had your car for a few years now, maybe more than a few years, and you’re thinking about getting into something different. That something different could be used, new or certified pre-owned, but no matter what, you have to decide what to do with your current vehicle. Setting aside donating your vehicle to one of many reputable charities, as well as passing it on to your recently-licensed son or daughter, you’ll need to decide whether to sell in privately or trade it in to the dealership where you buy your next vehicle. Here are a couple of things to consider as you make up your mind.

The Money
All things being equal, you will most likely get more money by selling your car yourself. When you trade in a car at the dealership, you will be given the wholesale price as set by an industry standard for your make, model, year and mileage. You can look this up yourself as well if you know which guide your local dealerships tend to use. This is not a situation to get emotional about; remember, this is a business transaction. You can always test the trade-in waters and then decide to sell your car yourself, or the opposite as well. Finding out how much a dealership is going to give you for you trade is a good first step; just like looking in your bank account to see how much you’re willing to put down in cash. From there you can make an informed decision about the next vehicle you want to buy.

The Time (and timing)
It will take all of 15 minutes to trade-in (AKA sell) your current conveyance at the dealership. They will usually have a person who assesses all of the possible trade-ins that come in and they’ll check it out while you’re taking a look at what they have on the lot. Except for the tinge of pain you might feel when you think back to what you originally paid for the vehicle and what you can get for it now, the process is basically effortless. On the other hand, selling your car yourself will take time. Time to advertise it, time to talk to people who are possibly interested, time to show it to people who are definitely interested, and time to make the final transaction. If you have a plan on when you want to buy a new car, you might not end up selling your current one until after you buy the new one; and then you obviously can’t use that money for the down payment.

Two more things to think about are the people and the taxes. On the money side, you may lessen your taxable sales amount by trading in your car depending on how your state handles such transactions. On the people side, to be blunt, you may have to deal with individuals you’d rather not if you sell it yourself. So there’s a bit to think about; find your comfort zone and enjoy the search for your next ride!

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