Author Topic: How do I sell a car?  (Read 708 times)

waltworks

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How do I sell a car?
« on: February 06, 2019, 02:34:39 PM »
Ok, I should know this already, but I've never owned a car worth enough to sell before in my life (this one was given to our family but doesn't fit our needs very well) and I'm struggling a little.

I have it listed on the local newspaper's website (KSL is the main way to buy and sell stuff in Salt Lake City and has a zillion ads for cars from both dealers and individuals) with some decent pictures, priced at a reasonable price.

But I'm getting just bombarded with spam, basically. Phone calls from people who want to list the car with their special car-selling service. Scammers who want me to punch lots of personal information into bogus websites. Crazy people who offer me 75% of the blue book value or want to trade for some weird item they've got, etc.

The signal/noise ratio is just intolerable. Is there a way to sell a ~$18000 used car without taking a haircut selling it/trading it to a dealership AND keep your sanity at the same time? I'm tempted to just throw up my hands and trade it in for a car we can actually use plus a few thousand dollars, but losing $2-3k in the process is a bummer.

-W


Fishindude

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 03:32:28 PM »
I've had good success using Craigslist.
Just be careful where you meet up, have someone with you in a public place.  Accept only cash or go into your bank and do a wire transfer.

Syonyk

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 04:23:47 PM »
Oh, MAN!  $18,000????  Hey, look, I'm reallllly interested in your Car For Sale, but I just don't have all the money right now - can I make payments?  I can put... uh... say, $50 down, and then $50/mo for the next 300 months?  I think it's a great deal for all of us!  You get rid of you're car and get money and I get you're car!

====

Craigslist is a pain in the rear for selling cars, but it does have the least fees.

If it's in good mechanical shape, I'd clean it up, take a ton of pictures, take some good video of it, and put it on eBay (if you've sold stuff there before, that helps a ton).  I've sold some oddball vehicles there.

SunnyDays

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 04:28:30 PM »
Advertise at work and tell everyone you know that you're selling.  Put a For Sale sign on it as you drive it around.

neo von retorch

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 04:38:46 PM »
I sold a $14,000 sports car on CraigsList - there was a lot of spam (a lot of $9-11k offers sight unseen), but one thing that helped was only accepting email. I can delete email spam very quickly. I hate dealing with text or, god forbid, phone calls. That and I put weird things in CL that CL shoppers understand.

"Make sure you tell me what you like about the car, so I know you're not a robot. Like a specific feature only this car has but I didn't explicitly list." Hmm that's a terrible example I just made up. That and something like "First person to offer me actual blue book private party can drive it away. Full payment only. I'll ignore you if you didn't read everything I wrote here!"

Someone that really wants the car and will pay what it is worth will go through one or two hoops to get through to you on the other end.

Oh, and by the way, I sold my car to the first person I met with! Probably just luck. But they had seen a slightly higher KBB value than I had in mind, and we met in the middle and both walked away happy!

Another Reader

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 06:19:22 PM »
Selling an $18k car is difficult because most people don't have the cash to give you and banks won't loan on private party sales.  Get an offer from CarMax.  It will likely be the highest dealer offer you will get unless the car is in high demand.  It's the realistic floor to work up from.  Try Nextdoor and Facebook to get a better pool of buyers.  And blue book value is the correct value only if someone is willing to pay you that.

Jon Bon

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2019, 05:32:32 AM »
Cars.com is free.

I believe Autotrader is too.

CL is for Cars selling under 10k, usually under 5k. A nicer car would do better on a more legitimate site.

Recently my dear Aunt took her old (and kind of cool) Jag to Carmax, they offered her 2500 for it. I promptly lost my mind and insisted on selling it for her.  I sold it 2 weeks later for 5500. So yeah Carmax is gonna pretty much gonna try and screw you. How do you think they make so much money*?Too many people are too lazy to sell a car themselves (or cant due to a lien). Sure the market is smaller because most dont have 18000 in cash, but it only takes one.

Post on the sites above, wait a bit dont be in a hurry. Cars don't lose value if you are not driving them!


*
https://www.autonews.com/article/20180528/RETAIL04/180529848/carmax-leads-all-publics-in-used-sales-profits


Another Reader

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2019, 06:39:29 AM »
Cars.com is free.

I believe Autotrader is too.

CL is for Cars selling under 10k, usually under 5k. A nicer car would do better on a more legitimate site.

Recently my dear Aunt took her old (and kind of cool) Jag to Carmax, they offered her 2500 for it. I promptly lost my mind and insisted on selling it for her.  I sold it 2 weeks later for 5500. So yeah Carmax is gonna pretty much gonna try and screw you. How do you think they make so much money*?Too many people are too lazy to sell a car themselves (or cant due to a lien). Sure the market is smaller because most dont have 18000 in cash, but it only takes one.

Post on the sites above, wait a bit dont be in a hurry. Cars don't lose value if you are not driving them!


*
https://www.autonews.com/article/20180528/RETAIL04/180529848/carmax-leads-all-publics-in-used-sales-profits

The article is not really relevant.  Dealer used car prices and values are higher than private party values.  The spread between is less for private party sales.

CarMax does better on newer, in demand cars they can keep and sell for top dollar.  They aren't interested in old cars, because it costs money to hold them and sell them off at auction.  They are a reference point for what a newer car is worth.  If you can find a private party able to pay cash, you will get more than CarMax. 

KBB and Edmunds are often inaccurate.  I'm not sure how their private party sales data is collected and analyzed.  In the end, the car is worth what someone will pay you.  Improve where you advertise and you will find out what it's really worth in a private sale.

Cars can lose value if you don't drive them.  Turn over a model year, and the value drops, even if the miles are unchanged.  That's especially true for newer models.

neo von retorch

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2019, 07:01:54 AM »
Yes - I wasn't implying KBB or "blue book value" is a gold standard for selling your private party car. It was more relevant to my story / example than anything, and it can give you a starting point. Depending on the popularity of the model, you can check out cars.com, autotrader.com, etc and find similar models close to you (and not so close) to know what your "competition" looks like as far as miles, condition and pricing.

Jon Bon

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2019, 09:13:41 AM »
Cars.com is free.

I believe Autotrader is too.

CL is for Cars selling under 10k, usually under 5k. A nicer car would do better on a more legitimate site.

Recently my dear Aunt took her old (and kind of cool) Jag to Carmax, they offered her 2500 for it. I promptly lost my mind and insisted on selling it for her.  I sold it 2 weeks later for 5500. So yeah Carmax is gonna pretty much gonna try and screw you. How do you think they make so much money*?Too many people are too lazy to sell a car themselves (or cant due to a lien). Sure the market is smaller because most dont have 18000 in cash, but it only takes one.

Post on the sites above, wait a bit dont be in a hurry. Cars don't lose value if you are not driving them!


*
https://www.autonews.com/article/20180528/RETAIL04/180529848/carmax-leads-all-publics-in-used-sales-profits

The article is not really relevant.  Dealer used car prices and values are higher than private party values.  The spread between is less for private party sales.

CarMax does better on newer, in demand cars they can keep and sell for top dollar.  They aren't interested in old cars, because it costs money to hold them and sell them off at auction.  They are a reference point for what a newer car is worth.  If you can find a private party able to pay cash, you will get more than CarMax. 

KBB and Edmunds are often inaccurate.  I'm not sure how their private party sales data is collected and analyzed.  In the end, the car is worth what someone will pay you.  Improve where you advertise and you will find out what it's really worth in a private sale.

Cars can lose value if you don't drive them.  Turn over a model year, and the value drops, even if the miles are unchanged.  That's especially true for newer models.

My Point is that Carmax buys cars cheaply and their "No haggle" pricing is really just a ruse to sell more expensive cars. Price negotiations are a pretty much mutually exclusive game. Carmax comes  out way ahead on the trade in because people are generally to lazy to sell their car.  Bottom line, don't trade it into Carmax if you like money.

Walt's car is not going to lose value if it sits undriven in his driveway for a month while he tries to sell it.

+1
Yes a well written add with lots of pictures of a clean car in great lighting will get your car sold very fast.


waltworks

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2019, 09:32:35 AM »
To be fair, it's sitting in a driveway at a ski resort, so it's getting snowed on constantly and freezing/thawing every day.

Probably not the end of the world, but not ideal either. I guess I could park it in my workshop but I hate getting snow and slush all over the place and it's a pain to work around.

I did not think about the fact that most people would need a loan to buy an $18000 car. I've never had a car loan so the ins and outs of that system are unknowns to me. I think that's a big part of the problem here.

Honestly, it's only sort of worth my time to try to sell it. It's looking more like it'll take a dozen or so hours of effort, and at that point, my time is worth more than the money I'd save. So we'll probably just go trade it in and wash our hands of it.

As an aside, when you trade in a $18000 car (say the dealership will give me $15k, or something) and get a $10,000 car (the most I could imagine ever spending), do they just write you a check on the spot? Or does trading down to a cheaper car cause problems and we should assume we have to find something of equivalent value?

-W

bwall

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2019, 09:46:23 AM »
I buy and sell cars, for fun and profit.

Tips on selling cars:

As others have mentioned, use craigslist if you live in an area where there's high population density. I used to spend all day looking at craigslist ads to buy cars that were mis-priced.

Auto trader can work, but it caters to dealers who advertise huge numbers of cars every month. Your individual car may get drowned out.

Know your car. What equipment level is it? (LX, EX, S, etc, whatever). There are people who are looking for exactly this information. What options does it have (or not have)? Do you have the window sticker? If not, you should be able to order a replacement from the dealer if you provide them the VIN. Did you keep any maintenance receipts? I once sold a POS for $1800 b/c it had a file folder full of receipts over the past 15 years. The buyer said it was the best car in that price category that he'd seen. He must've been referring to the receipts, not the car.

Money: $18k isn't that much if you live in the big city. People can get a loan for that amount and then give you the check and you give them the title. As someone else said, meet at the bank to exchange title and money.

CarMax, Dealers, etc. They make their money when the public accepts a low ball offer. People do this all the time, so there is no way that their business model will sustain giving you a fair price. Their job is to try and your job is to say no.

I've bought cars from my neighbors and then resold them on craigslist, just b/c they didn't want the hassle of answering three phone calls and meeting with a single stranger. It was easy money. Don't be like my neighbor.

If you'd like help with pricing or other tips, send me a pm.

neo von retorch

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2019, 10:14:56 AM »
Honestly, it's only sort of worth my time to try to sell it. It's looking more like it'll take a dozen or so hours of effort, and at that point, my time is worth more than the money I'd save. So we'll probably just go trade it in and wash our hands of it.

As an aside, when you trade in a $18000 car (say the dealership will give me $15k, or something) and get a $10,000 car (the most I could imagine ever spending), do they just write you a check on the spot? Or does trading down to a cheaper car cause problems and we should assume we have to find something of equivalent value?

-W

First - if you're trading it and buying another car at the same time, several states subtract the trade from the purchase price for the purpose of sales tax. So you can subtract that difference in sales tax from the the "profit" of selling privately. But of course you could buy privately, too and save money there.

I once traded in a 2 year old SUV for $16k, and bought a car that was $10k (after all fees). They didn't actually write me a check on the spot, but if I did it again, I'd insist on it. They mailed me one like 5 days later. Which was fine but I was stressed out in the meantime, just because, you know?

The loan isn't necessarily a big deal. A lot of banks provide checks and forms for this purpose. The seller gets the check and the notary submits the form (the lien paperwork) for the bank. The state sends the title to the bank instead of the buyer. I've even sold a car with a loan on it (the sports car above) but again, I was probably lucky. The buyer gave me a check and I gave them a Bill of Sale. Then I paid off my loan, got the title, and met up with the buyer a second time to transfer the title and give him the car/keys. Some buyers might not feel the BoS is sufficient for their money, and having to wait 7-10 days for the title/car. In my case, I had a low-mileage, excellent condition car that couldn't be easily obtained elsewhere. You might have a high volume car with "normal" trim that might not be appealing enough for private buyers to jump through hoops. But if that's the case, there's tons of data out there on what your car is really worth and dealers have to concede that they'll have zero trouble selling your car because it's very common and popular. So you can use that, stick to your guns and argue for a worthwhile trade value.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 10:19:39 AM by neo von retorch »

DadJokes

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2019, 10:33:59 AM »
I've had luck buying & selling with Facebook marketplace recently. Granted, the car we sold was a 2003, but we bought something a little newer the same way.

Syonyk

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2019, 10:35:27 AM »
Saw a reply to "How do I sell a car?" by "DadJokes".

Clicked for the punchline.

Very disappointed. :(

DadJokes

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2019, 10:37:02 AM »
Saw a reply to "How do I sell a car?" by "DadJokes".

Clicked for the punchline.

Very disappointed. :(

By exchanging the car for money.

How's that?

SweatingInAZ

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2019, 02:13:27 PM »
Check vroom, carmax, carvana, and any other similar sites. A friend of mine just sold a car to vroom.

He had the car listed for $15k on craigslist/offerup/facebook for 2 months with only scammers and lowball offers. Carmax and Carvana each offered him ~$12k. Vroom offered $14k. Decent deal, and painless. He would have been willing to haggle lower than that in a private party sale.

Selling to a company may not be the absolutely most profitable way to do it, but it was still better than he had hoped.

Goldy

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2019, 07:47:22 AM »
It might be worth adding it to cars.com and autotrader.  I found I get a lot more spam on KSL/craigslist than autotrader.

MrSal

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2019, 12:31:17 PM »
Ok, I should know this already, but I've never owned a car worth enough to sell before in my life (this one was given to our family but doesn't fit our needs very well) and I'm struggling a little.

I have it listed on the local newspaper's website (KSL is the main way to buy and sell stuff in Salt Lake City and has a zillion ads for cars from both dealers and individuals) with some decent pictures, priced at a reasonable price.

But I'm getting just bombarded with spam, basically. Phone calls from people who want to list the car with their special car-selling service. Scammers who want me to punch lots of personal information into bogus websites. Crazy people who offer me 75% of the blue book value or want to trade for some weird item they've got, etc.

The signal/noise ratio is just intolerable. Is there a way to sell a ~$18000 used car without taking a haircut selling it/trading it to a dealership AND keep your sanity at the same time? I'm tempted to just throw up my hands and trade it in for a car we can actually use plus a few thousand dollars, but losing $2-3k in the process is a bummer.

-W

Ive had great success with Craigslist and Facebook market. Just join on the market groups around your area I am sure there is something auto related. Take some really good pictures with a clean and detailed car and you'll get plenty of interest in my opinion. Probably worth to list on some other free sites like cargurus.com or something.

lhamo

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2019, 12:48:39 PM »
If you aren't in a huge hurry to sell, I would put the word out with friends and family.  At some point, someone is going to know somebody who needs a car urgently due to theirs breaking down, being in an accident, etc.  Can probably sell for a fair price that way and both parties end up happy.

Or find a friend/neighbor like @bwall who is willing to buy for more than one of the resale companies and put the time/energy into managing the resale for the spread. 

soccerluvof4

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2019, 11:08:53 AM »
Check vroom, carmax, carvana, and any other similar sites. A friend of mine just sold a car to vroom.

He had the car listed for $15k on craigslist/offerup/facebook for 2 months with only scammers and lowball offers. Carmax and Carvana each offered him ~$12k. Vroom offered $14k. Decent deal, and painless. He would have been willing to haggle lower than that in a private party sale.

Selling to a company may not be the absolutely most profitable way to do it, but it was still better than he had hoped.


This would be my list and you might be surprised that one gets close to where you want to be. I have sold a few cars an CL as well and never had an issue so perhaps was lucky and they were around 20k cars. I was just always pretty black and white about things on the phone.

waltworks

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Re: How do I sell a car?
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2019, 07:03:38 PM »
Well, I took (some) of the advice here. Thanks everyone! I think just more patience was the requirement. Found some retired buyers who will pay cash, we haggled to $17,200. I think I would have gotten $15.5k at best trading in, so.... winning!

Now we'll flip that money into a more useful $5k semi-beater minivan and dump the rest into investments. Woot.

-W