Five Tips for Selling Your Used Car

This May be the Best Time EVER to Sell or Trade in Your Used Car

With the supply chain clogged and the worldwide shortage of microchips, some owners have actually sold their used vehicles for more than they paid for them. Add to that the fact that more potential new-car buyers are considering used models, and the seller is in the driver’s seat. 

This year could well be the exception to just about any rule when it comes to car buying and selling, and 2021 has been a seller’s market, but don’t take too much for granted. Used cars are selling for record high prices, and that’s clearly good news for those looking to sell, but do your research to find your path to getting the best price. 

While it’s hard for experts to predict when things may stabilize in the car market, you can still benefit from expert tips to get your best deal. Before you take any action to sell your car, you’ll need to assess its value. The easiest way to find out your car’s worth—without leaving home—is by using a service like the Kelley Blue Book Private Party Value, Trade-in Value, or Carvana. Getting this quote then allows you to make comparisons for online or in-person offers. 

Once you know your car’s value and have several comparisons in hand, here are a few tips for making a successful sale.

1. Sell Your Used Car By Owner

If you are not in a rush and don’t mind a little extra work, you can maximize your price even more in this market by selling your car yourself. This option means you will be negotiating directly with potential buyers and can hold out for the “retail price” instead of the dealer’s trade-in. It also allows you to keep the money a dealership would tack on to refurbish and repair defects in your car. 

2. Sell Your Used Car in the First or Second Quarter of 2022

Industry experts who capture data about these things report that the best time of year to sell or trade in your car is the first or second quarter, thanks to a larger market of shoppers around this time, and because a used car “feels newer” to a buyer when there is a longer stretch before a new model year comes out. 

3. Get Your Car’s Paperwork in Order

This sounds mundane (because it is), but get your paperwork in order before you put your car on the market. This may take longer than you think, since there is no shortage of paperwork to be completed when a car is sold in Florida. For an overview of this process, check with the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or this J.D. Power report to get everything up-to-date. One more thing: order a Carfax or AutoCheck report to show to prospective buyers. This provides vehicle history for damage, accidents, number of owners and other information. 

4. Take Great Photos

If you plan to prepare a listing to run in the multitude of online car markets out there, stand out by taking high-quality photographs of your (impeccably clean) vehicle. How? Find a nice location and photograph your car there just after sunset (to ensure the best lighting). Take shots from every angle. Inside, include shots of the driver’s seat, trunk and dashboard (with a close-up of the odometer). And don’t forget to take an image of your engine. 

5. Secure Your Transaction

The whole point of doing your research and putting together a plan to sell your used car yourself is for you to receive the best possible return for your efforts. So, what’s the safest and most secure way to get your money, once you’ve struck a deal? Let serious potential buyers know from your first contact how you expect payment.

The two best payment methods, suggests one financial expert, are cash or wire transfer. If you choose to be paid in cash, politely let the buyer know ahead of time that you will count it at your meeting place and mark each bill with a counterfeit detector pen. A wire transfer can often be conducted the same day, and receipt can be confirmed with your bank before you complete the transaction. 

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