Are you thinking about selling your car privately?

Research shows that used car prices rose in February 2023 and are expected to grow.

But should you sell your car privately vs. trading it in?

If you're leaning toward selling a car privately, you may be wondering how to sell a car privately. You might also ask, "What's the best way to sell a car privately? Why sell my car privately, and what are the benefits of trading?"

Let's examine the process of selling a car privately vs. trading it in, including the necessary selling-car-privately paperwork.

Should I Try Selling a Car Privately?

You may want to make a private sale if you're trying to get top dollar when selling a car in 2023.

Unlike a dealer, a private-party buyer usually isn't trying to buy and resell a car to make a profit. That means they may offer you more than a dealership would.

Why Sell My Car Privately?

Are you still wondering if you should sell your car on your own?

Selling a car privately can especially be beneficial if your car is older. That's because dealers often send high-mileage, older trade-ins to wholesale auctions. This means added expenses for the dealers and lower offers for those trading in their used cars.

However, if your older car is in great shape, you'll likely attract budget-minded buyers who may be willing to pay more than a dealership would.

Another significant advantage of selling a used car on your own is that you can accept several offers from private parties and then accept the best one. However, the negotiation window is small when trading a car with a single dealership.

Sell Car Privately vs. Trading

Are you asking, "Should I sell my car to a dealer?" As we mentioned earlier, your car's trade-in value will likely be lower than what you could sell your car for privately. However, working with a dealership may be worthwhile if you're looking for convenience.

With a dealership, you can purchase a new car while trading in the old one. The dealership will handle every part of the transaction.

However, with a private sale, you'll have to create an advertisement, list your vehicle, and meet each potential buyer for a test drive. You'll also have to accept the buyer's payment and transfer vehicle ownership.

Doing a trade-in is less demanding and time-consuming.

Additional Benefits of Trading in Your Car

Another reason to trade a car in is that the dealership may apply your car's trade-in value toward your new car's purchase price, and this will lower your tax amount owed.

That's because, in some states, you don't have to pay taxes on your car's total purchase price if you're doing a trade-in at the time of purchase. If the vehicle you're trading in is high-value, you may receive significant savings on your sales tax.

Best Way to Sell a Car Privately

You may be asking, "Where do I sell my car online?"

Selling a car privately can be easy when you choose a popularly used car sales website. The best websites to sell a car online include Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist. The best websites to buy used cars include CarMax, CarGurus, and Autotrader.

Some online car buyers also search for new vehicles at online car auctions.

Process of Selling a Car Privately

Are you wondering, "How do I sell my car?" Before posting an ad online, you may want to fix your car's cosmetic damage. Minor flaws like a cracked windshield, bumper scratches, and door dings are inexpensive to repair.

It's best to avoid putting more than your daily wages plus several hundred more dollars into these repairs, as you might not recoup your investment.

Then, choose a price for your car when listing it. An online car valuation tool can tell you what your car's wholesale value is vs. its retail value -- the price likely to be advertised at a dealership. Try to choose a number between these two price points to pique private-party sellers' interest.

More Tips on How to Sell a Car Privately

Your online car ad should feature several details about your vehicle. These include:

  • Mileage
  • Options
  • Trim level
  • Add-ons

Also, make it clear to online car buyers that you are selling your vehicle as-is without a warranty unless you have leftover coverage from the original manufacturer's warranty.

Selling-Car-Privately Paperwork

Once a potential buyer agrees to buy your car after taking it on a test drive, you'll need to complete the purchase paperwork.

Contact your state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles to find out what registration and title documentation must be completed. You might also have to fill out a title transfer form, mileage disclosure form, and liability release form.

In addition, you may need to arrange for the car to be shipped if the buyer is from another state. Before you ship a car to another state, use a car shipping calculator to figure out how much this will cost.

Get Help With Selling Your Car Privately

You might be thinking about selling a car privately and wondering how to sell a car privately. You might ask, "How do I sell my car privately? What is the best way to sell a car privately, and what selling-car-privately paperwork do I need?"

You might also be wondering about selling your car privately vs. trading it in. What are the benefits of trading?

At Nexus Auto Transport, we provide cross-country car shipping services for those going through the process of selling a car privately. Schedule a shipment today!