Whether you need a switch from a city car to an SUV because your family got bigger, or your financing plan has just ended, and there are sweet deals just around the corner, replacing your old car with a new one can be a hassle. There are two methods to do this, private sale or trading-in. Both methods come with pros and cons, and we’re here to help you decide which one works best for you.

 

Private sale

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If you decide to go for a private sale, get ready for a lot of work, organising and waiting. First of all, you need to prepare the car before you put it on the ads. That means sorting out not only cosmetic issues but mechanical ones as well. Private buyers are always looking to get a car in perfect working condition, and even the slightest flaw will be used against you. Getting your car to look good and fixing even the most insignificant issue could set you back at least 100€. If there are more cleaning and repairing involved, the costs of the initial investment can grow exponentially.

After you’ve prepared your car, there’s the matter of putting it on the market. To attract attention from potential buyers, your vehicle has to have a lot of high-quality photos, long and detailed description of its condition, and full-service history from authorised repairers. Even then, it could be hard for it to stand out from the competition, so in addition to repair costs you’ll probably also end up spending on advertising and promoting it through various used car websites.

Finally, selling a car privately means you need to sacrifice your free time to meet with an indefinite number of prospective buyers. Many of them will ask for test drives, and that is quite risky because you’re giving your car to a stranger and that’s where things can get the most expensive. This part is the most stressful and most time consuming, especially since you’ll hear many lowball offers. Many cars can stay unsold for months on end, which means you are most likely missing out on potential offers and great deals at that moment. 

There are some upsides to personally selling your car. First of all, you’ll probably get a little bit more money if your vehicle is in perfect condition, and second is you’ll have cash in your hands to spend it however you like. But, a successful sale means that your car is sold quickly, and for the asked price. Everything else is just a waste of your free time, and quite frankly some nerves as well.

 

Trading in your car

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Another method of saying goodbye to your old car is trading it in at the dealer. This method is way more convenient, as you don’t need to clean, photograph and advertise your car, nor do the paperwork by yourself. You just go to the dealership, pick a car you want to buy, and receive an offer for your old one.

The only real downside to trading in is the price of your car. Dealers offer below retail price because there is a need to put the vehicle through a series of tests. In most cases, dealers will repair broken and worn parts, fix chips, cracks, scuffs, spend money on advertising and all the manual labour involved to find its new owner. Dealers take away the painful sale experience, will provide a new 1-year warranty with that car to the next owner and will restore the vehicle to its previous glory, meaning, you’ll walk away with less cash if you sell the car to the dealer. The offered price does not require any efforts from your side unlike when selling your car personally. Yes, the vehicle will be thoroughly examined, but if you decide to buy a car from the dealer, it won’t be rejected.

On the other hand, trading in is a fast process, and you’re able to get the job done the same day, without any waiting for the right buyer. That also means you’ll instantly be able to use the money as a down payment for your new car deal, which is another big advantage of this method.

The most significant advantages of trading in your car are the facts that you’ll save a lot of time, and you’ll have peace of mind once the process is done. You won’t have to spend weeks compromising your spare time to sell the car. You’ll be free of any paperwork headaches that come after the sale which consume even more of your time.

In conclusion, if you have time to wait, you want to be involved in the selling process, and you’re entirely confident that you’ll get the asked price for your car, selling it personally is your way to go.

Trading in might not get you the most money in your pocket, but it is by far a least stressful, least time consuming and a more convenient way to replace and upgrade to a new car. There are no special preparations, no arranged viewings, and the dealer does all the paperwork. That way only, you’ll be able to drive out of the dealership in a new car carefree and in just a few hours.

Drew Coffman

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