Selling Your Car



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Classic Cars


Buyer's Guide

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Sell a Car

Donate a Car



     Selling your car requires some of the same information needed to buy a used car.  You can find the info to help you price your car here.

     Once you've got a price range in mind, you've got to decide how much effort you want to put into the effort.  For those who want every penny possible dollar their car can sell for, selling your car on your own to another private party is almost certainly the way to go, especially if you plan well in advance and take your time about it.

     Unless you own some type of specialty or classic car, try the simplest and cheapest methods first.  A simple "For Sale" sign in the window of the car is the first way to try.  Be sure to include a price and a phone number.  At home, at work, and anywhere else you go, you'll want to park so that the sign is as visible as it can be.  At the same time, you might put up a flyer in the break room at work if that would be permitted.

     If that doesn't work, several online sites (some links are show to the right) will allow you to list your car for sale online for prices ranging from $25 or so up to $75 or more.  Some listings for 3-4 weeks, but others run until your car is sold.  I appreciate the price of these services, and the features are fairly impressive, but I still have reservations.  My concern is this.  I don't know a single person who's bought or sold a car in this way.  Do you?  (If so, I'd love to hear about your experience!)  Until it becomes more accepted, I think it's likely to be a waste of time and money.

     One online option that does seem worthwhile for classic cars is ebay.  Why?  It's simple.  They've captured huge numbers of buyers and sellers for any type of merchandise.  What's more, you can easily observe auctions run there for any period of time to see how successful they are before you offer your own vehicle for sale.

     Finally, for the average seller of the average car, there are the paper and ink classifieds.  Logic tells me that these should not be the most cost-effective, but experience tells me that at this point in time, they still are.  Think about your car when choosing your publication.  For a rare classic, you might choose a publication that reaches an entire region of the country.  For a $1,000-3,000 car, you'll probably want to use something very local.  How far would you drive to look at a car in that price range?

     With any of these "private party" approaches, it's important to consider not only the price you'll receive, but also the increased effort, aggravation, and loss of privacy/safety.  A few examples?  Well, most callers will be a waste of your time for a variety of reasons.  Many of those who make appointments to come see your car won't.  Finally, there is the "Wacko Wildcard" to consider.  I don't mean to be negative, but do you really want to invite stranger to call your home or come there to see the car?  Of course most will be totally harmless, but it only takes one...

     For those who just want to dispose of their car with a minimum of hassle, I'd recommend donation or sale/trade-in to a dealer.  Of course donation is the easiest, and the tax write-off will have some value.  Sale to a dealer is the next best thing.  You may have to negotiate a price, or visit several dealers to get the best price, but still, it is almost certain to be simpler than selling to another private party.


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