So, you’re finally ready for a new car — or maybe you’re just giving up on car ownership all together — but you’re not sure what to do with your current vehicle just yet. Luckily, there are quite a few options these days to sell your car.
Selling Your Car Privately
A private car sale can be beneficial to both buyer and seller. Since there’s little to no overhead involved (like with dealerships), a buyer may get a better deal, and a seller may get a higher price. Consult a resource like Kelley Blue Book to determine what your car is worth and get estimates for both trade-in value and private sale value.
Get Your Vehicle Ready to Show
Once you’ve settled on an asking price for your car, get it ready. A clean, well-kept car can put buyers at ease and reinforce the idea that you were a conscientious owner. You can also build trust with a buyer if you have a vehicle history report for your car based on its Vehicle Identification Number or VIN — several sites online offer this as a paid service.
Advertise Your Car
Now that it’s clean and you’ve got everything in order, it’s time to get the word out. You can try free online listing sites, online auctions, a classified ad in your local paper, used-car publications, and of course. . . a sign in the window. Also, don’t forget your social networks! Someone you know may have a friend or family member looking for exactly the kind of car you’re selling.
Be Available to the Buyer
Get ready — this is the time-consuming part! Once those calls and emails start coming in from potential buyers, you’ll be answering a lot of questions. Ask some questions of your own and try to weed out buyers who aren’t serious about your car.
Finalize the Sale
Great! You’ve found your buyer. Now what? Well, you’re going to need to transfer your title and registration. Paperwork requirements vary so it’s important to check with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles before proceeding.
When switching cars, remember that you don’t have to wait for your car insurance policy to expire before switching insurance companies. This is a perfect opportunity to explore your car insurance options.
Trading-In Your Car
Want to avoid the hassle of selling a car on your own? Think about trading it in at a dealership. Sure, you’ll probably get less for it than if you sold it privately, but you also won’t have to worry about making yourself available to potential buyers’ phone calls, emails, and test-drive requests — and that equals big savings in time and effort.
Donating Your Vehicle
If you find your car isn’t worth much as a trade-in, and also wouldn’t be worth attempting to sell privately, you may want to consider donating your vehicle. Many charitable organizations offer a car donation program, so your “soon-to-be-ex” car can help your favorite cause. . . and maybe even earn you a tax benefit. According to the IRS, “The most common types of qualified organizations are section 501(c)(3) organizations, such as charitable, educational, or religious organizations.”