Trade Your Car Or Sell Privately: Pros And Cons: Part IV

August 26, 2010

The used car market is generally strong in all regions of the country. This makes it tempting to sell your old car privately instead of trading it in at a dealership. After all, you’ll probably get more for it by selling it versus trading it at a dealership.

Let's take the example of the 2006 Honda Civic sedan I used in yesterday's article. Using figures from Kelly Blue Book (, an average private seller would net $2,280 more by selling this Civic privately than trading it at a dealership. Is it worth the extra effort of selling it yourself? Let’s take a closer look at what’s involved.

Selling Your Car Privately
It used to be that all you had to do was insert a five line ad in the local paper, sit back and wait for your telephone to ring. Those were the good old days. Now, you have to know your way around cars and the Internet to stand any chance of not just selling your car, but getting all you should for it.

- You have to learn how to prepare your car for sale. This means performing a basic cleaning or paying for a professional detail job. You also need to determine which repairs to make before you put it on the market.

- One of the major mistakes private sellers make is pricing their car incorrectly. Too high a price and no one calls or emails, leaving your car unsold weeks or months later. Price your car too low and you leave money on the table; some of the time, lots of money. Savvy car sellers use a pricing strategy that allows the market to determine the price, putting the maximum number of dollars in their pocket

- You need to post your ad online. Do you choose one of the hundreds of free websites? If so which ones? Or do you pay for a premium website in hopes that will help your car sell quicker?

- It’s proven that the more pictures of your vehicle you post in your ad the better the response from prospective buyers. What pictures do you take and how do you upload them?

We’ve only just begun to detail the issues private sellers are required to address if they hope to sell their vehicle. We continue in tomorrow’s article.


The author is not only a contributor to this website, but has written the only comprehensive guide to selling your car online: HELP! I Gotta Sell My Car NOW! New Rules for Selling Your Vehicle Online. The book is available on

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