When you get a new car, getting rid of your old one can be a secondary concern. But when you need that car gone in a hurry, there are several good ways to balance minimizing the hassle and getting the best price.
Trade it in
If you bought your new car at a dealership, the quickest way to sell your old car is to trade it in as part of the same transaction. But be warned that your salesperson is well aware of this convenience and will offer you a lowball price accordingly – especially if you got a good deal on the car you’re buying and the dealer is counting on making its profit on your trade-in.
Research the value of your car at the Kelley Blue Book and by checking listings for similar vehicles on AutoTrader.com or Cars.com, and unless you’re in a big rush, be prepared to keep it if your dealer doesn’t offer you a competitive price.
Take it to CarMax
CarMax is a respectable chain of used-car dealerships with more than 120 locations nationwide. If any of those locations is convenient to you, bring your car there to receive a free written offer that CarMax will honor at any time over the next seven days. And any time you accept the CarMax offer, you’re paid on the spot.
Sometimes CarMax will offer you a fair price and sometimes it won’t – but it will provide a guaranteed baseline that you can always return to, giving you a week to see whether you can get a better price somewhere else. Also consider getting the CarMax offer before buying your new car so you can ask your dealer to beat that price when you negotiate a trade-in.
Sell it privately
It’s generally slower and more of a hassle to sell your car privately than to a dealership, but it’s often more lucrative. Craigslist is popular and free. To speed up the process, make sure your ad is complete – honestly describe the condition of your car and include a wide variety of clear photos. See what other sellers are asking and determine your price based on theirs, and undercut them to sell your car faster.
Brady Holt, a Washington D.C. newspaper reporter, has had a lifelong interest in cars in the automotive world, and he’ll share his thoughts at every available opportunity. Brady has written for Examiner.com since 2008, publishing hundreds of car reviews, automotive news pieces and other features. His work can be found on Examiner.com.