People sell their cars for all sorts of reasons. In the past two years, the financial and emotional stresses of the pandemic have seen many working from home. As a result, selling unused or underused vehicles provides economic benefits and frees up space in the garage. So, what’s the best way to sell a surplus car? What channels should a car owner consider? Read on as we explore the options.
Why Are People Selling Their Cars?
There are numerous reasons why people are now selling their cars. Much of it has to do with the effects of COVD-19 on the marketplace. It’s a situation that has caused an upswing in demand while there’s a shortfall of supply. Calling it a seller’s market is an understatement. As such, families are ditching those second cars to take advantage of what’s going on.
It really is a matter of finances; owning multiple cars is expensive. Beyond the monthly finance payment, there’s insurance, maintenance, repairs, registration fees, and some states impose personal property taxes. Additionally, some car owners are still affected by a drop in income due to the lasting effects of lockdown.
What’s Behind the Growth in Buying?
Coinciding with the significant number of auto sellers is a boom in car purchasing. News reports from late 2020 reveal that used car sellers like CarMax and Carvana saw a massive uptick in their stock prices. It’s attributable to waves of consumers seeking vehicles in a post-lockdown world.
But why is there a demand for cars at the same time as others are reducing expenses and taking advantage of favorable pricing? Much of this has to do with people bypassing public transportation due to health concerns. In addition, numerous urban dwellers left the cities are now in need of personal vehicles.
Another significant factor behind increased used car buying is the ongoing semiconductor shortage. The global lack of chips means there have been crippling delays in the production of new vehicles. As a result, car shoppers have to look at the pre-owned market to quickly get a car.
5 Best Ways to Sell Your Car
So, with the idea of selling a car, what are the best channels to consider? Here are the options.
Eagerness to sell a vehicle may lead a seller to platforms like Carvana or CarMax , or a local dealer. Each contact means completing a separate form. There’s also the temptation of taking the first offer just to finish the process. But, hastily accepting a sum may cost you in the long run. Topmarq is different. Fill out a single form to receive multiple purchase offers.
There’s no waiting or guessing if one platform is better than another. In an instant, you’ll have the results and can proceed with the sale process. If nothing else, Topmarq provides vital competitive information if you prefer to see what a local dealer might offer. The critical thing to remember is that each purchasing company has different priorities. An SUV might not fetch as much in Florida as in Minnesota. And each firm has different inventory needs. A savvy shopper compares prices before making a major purchase; selling a car is no different.
Another Topmarq advantage is being able to compare prices without going directly on the record with the individual buying platforms. You can continue to search privately without dealing with any salespeople.
The more you put into something, the more you get out. And that’s the premise of a private vehicle sale which typically generates the best price. Yes, you’ll need to spend the time taking photos and listing the car on Craigslist, AutoTrader, or other websites. Social media is also another outlet. And, you’ll need to deal with potentially flaky buyers and handle the paperwork. Plus, such efforts might include meeting the buyer for a vehicle inspection and taking a trip to a notary and the DMV to finalize the transaction. Take note, too, that you’ll need to jump through a few extra hoops if there’s still a lien on the car.
It all comes down to determining if the extra effort of a private sale is worth the increased sale price. You’re the only one that can answer this question. An additional $500, $1,000, or more is essential to some and trivial to others.
CarMax, Carvana, and Similar Sites
Much of the boom in used car sales is being driven by CarMax, Carvana, and similar operations. These businesses are in constant need of inventory, so they make buying cars easy. Instant cash quotes, home pickup, and quick payment are appealing conveniences.
A need for fast cash and no time or interest to pursue a private sale are logical reasons to pursue this route. It’s an approach that is very much in sync with society’s preferences for quick and painless services--even if you pay a premium for the privilege (in the form of a lower price than a private sale).
A unique or special vehicle may be best sold via an auction. Sites like Bring A Trailer or Cars & Bids are best at highlighting a vehicle’s collector value or distinctive features. In addition, you’re more likely to find a specialized buyer through one of these focused platforms. The right audience can lead to a higher sale price and a quicker sale.
On the other hand, there’s a chance of a lack of bidder interest. So, a reserve price might not get met, and you’re back to square one. Some auction sites also charge sellers a listing fee. Ideally, seek companies that screen and curate their listings to determine ahead of time if an auction for your car is even suitable.
Topmarq Tip: Check out Online Car Auctions – A Guide
Finally, there’s the local dealership route. It’s a process that works the same way that CarMax makes in-person offers. Bring the vehicle in for inspection, wait around during the evaluation, and accept or reject the bid.
The pros and cons of selling to a local dealer are similar to what you’ll find with a national operation but with the added benefit of local insight. This nearby business will better understand what cars are in demand locally. If, for example, a Toyota RAV4 is a stronger local seller, then the dealer’s offer is likely to reflect this interest. The same can be said of particular features, like all-wheel drive.
Best Way to Sell a Car: Things to Think About
Do you have the car’s title in hand? This is important when completing a private sale. It can get complex if there’s still a lien in place, and you have to first pay off the loan before completing the sale.
How far away is the private buyer? Will their coming to collect the car involve additional costs or prolonged wait times? Will they want to take a test drive or arrange a mechanical inspection? Will you have to coordinate shipping or pick up?
Speed and Convenience
When speed and ease are key factors, platforms like Topmarq, CarMax, and others are the best channels. This is especially the case if fast payment or offloading the car in a hurry is the priority. Of course, convenience comes at a premium.
An auction or private sale is the way to go for a top-selling price. Be sure to use any offers from Topmarq or other buyers as a baseline.
Take advantage of a car’s unique characteristics or collector value by selling through an auction site. You’re more likely to encounter an attentive and passionate audience that’s willing to pay top dollar for a noteworthy vehicle.