Whether you’re looking to replace your car or offload an extra one to take advantage of elevated used-car values, selling a vehicle privately can get you more money than trading it in to a dealer. The financial gain comes with some tradeoffs, however. You’ll need to dedicate more time and effort to the selling process, and there are more risks involved from screening potential buyers, going on test drives and taking payment. Learn how to navigate each step of the process to ensure the extra effort pays off.
1. Determine Your Car’s Value
Many factors influence a car’s value. The vehicle’s age, mileage and condition are important, but external variables including market conditions, fuel prices and brand appeal also play a role. For example, the inventory shortage has caused a spike in used-car values, especially for older vehicles: Among Cars.com dealers, the median price for a 10-year-old (model-year 2012) used car was $16,331 as of July 2022. In comparison, the median price of a 10-year-old (model-year 2010) vehicle was just $8,995 in July 2020. To determine the vehicle’s value, look at comparable used-car listings or get the vehicle appraised by a dealer or used-car chain like CarMax.