Sell Car Privately vs. Selling to a Dealer and other 3rd Parties

January 27, 2012

If you have a used car that you're hoping to sell, one of the most important decisions you should make early on in the process is whether to sell the car privately or to a dealership. There are benefits to both options, but also risks inherent to each. Before you put your car up for sale by owner, you should determine the accurate trade-in value you can get for providing the car in trade to another dealer or third party company. However, there are several other factors you'll need to keep in mind in addition to the amount of money that you stand to make from one method or the other.

Benefits and Risks of Selling to a Dealer

One of the primary benefits of selling or trading your car in to a dealership is that it's much more reliable than trying to sell the vehicle to an individual buyer. The process of selling the car to a dealer requires very little paperwork on your part, as the dealer is prepped to take care of all of this. It's also typically much easier to find a dealer willing to take your vehicle, particularly if the car is in good condition.

Another benefit to selling the car to a dealer is that dealers oftentimes offer you the option of trading the car in for a replacement. If you're interested in getting rid of your old car so you can get a new one, this is an excellent option. Simply find a dealer who sells the car you're interested in and inquire about the possibility of trading the vehicle in for a new one. Many dealers offer a larger value for trade than they would pay in cash for the same vehicle.

Although not exactly a risk, one of the downsides to selling a vehicle to a dealer is you will oftentimes only get the exact estimated value for the car. Dealers are typically unwilling to negotiate a price for your car. Ultimately, you'll likely earn less money than you would if you sold the car to a private buyer.

Benefits and Risks of Selling to an Individual

The primary benefit to selling your vehicle to an individual buyer is you can stand to make a good deal more money than otherwise. You have full control over the price of the car and any negotiations.

A few risks and problems having to do with selling your car to an individual include that you may have to spend more time and effort of your own to find a suitable buyer. This can turn out to not be worth your time if it proves especially difficult. Furthermore, you are less protected from a legal standpoint when you sell to an individual. So you'll have to take the time to learn about all of the necessary legal procedures before you sell your car.

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