Buying a New Car – Should You Sell Your Old One Yourself or Trade it In


It is one of the hardest decisions new car buyers must make. Should they trade in their old car or sell it on the private market? Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, and at times it can be difficult to tell which alternative will give you the most bang for your automotive buck. The key to making this important decision is to understand the ins and outs of both trading in your car and selling it to someone who needs it.

Make the Deal First
One mistake many people make when buying a new car is including the trade in from the start. While this strategy can work in some cases, it often results in an inflated price for the new car. Some dealers will simply jack up the price of the new car, then offer more than market value for the vehicle being traded. While it may seem like you are getting a great deal on that old clunker, in reality you are paying just as much – or even more – than you would have without the trade in.

In order to avoid this potential pitfall try to avoid any discussion of the trade in vehicle until after you have arrived at a final price. And don’t fall prey to the monthly payment trick – you want to know how much the car is, not just how much it will cost you each month. Only after you have arrived at the final price should you discuss the value of your trade in. Then it will be time to haggle on just how much that old car is worth.

How Much is Your Car Worth?
There are many resources out there to help you determine how much your old car is worth, but for many the Kelly Blue Book is the gold standard. Picking up this resource is a great way to get a rough idea of how much your car will be worth, both as a trade in and on the private market.

When evaluating the value of your old car keep in mind that these estimates are just that – estimates. The true value of your car will be affected by a number of factors, including the local car market, the desirability of your particular vehicle and the state of the economy.

Can You Get More on the Private Market?
In some cases you may be able to get more money for your old car on the private market, but it is important to weigh the value of that extra money against the hassles associated with selling your own car. If you do plan to sell your car on your own you will need to deal with advertising the vehicle, taking potential drivers on test drives and taking care of the paperwork after the sale. If you are uneasy with letting strangers test drive your car or any other aspects of the car selling process it may be worth your while to trade your car to the dealer and try to negotiate a higher price.

Deciding whether to trade your car in or sell it on the open market is never easy, but it is important to decide which option is best for you before you head out to the local dealer. By weighing the benefits of each option beforehand you will be making yourself an informed consumer – and increasing your odds of getting the best possible deal.

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