Selling a used car (without buying another one)

I have an extra car that I want to unload. A private sale seems like too much hassle.

A quick google points me to Edmunds, kbb, CarMax, Carvana, autonation, and Billy Bobs Boats N More* (*we’re more than just boats).

A number of those sites seem to give you a firm offer by just telling them what you’re selling, which seems convenient & is probably pretty accurate these days.

Have you sold a used car recently? Any advice you want to give?

Is it worth the effort to get as many offers as possible?

We just sold my so’s car. Dealership offered $3k. I put it on a Craigslist site, sold in days for $7500.
Now, dude was a minister and lived about 10 houses away so we took a check, which helped ease the process. still, pretty seamless.
Dealerships are going to give you wholesale less markup I figure. Otherwise they can get the same car wholesale. So, pretty big haircut not selling it privately.

I agree with the lobster. Definitely should try private sale at this point. My peronal experience has been that private sale is a huge hassle. It took me months to sell my car privately, some 30 years ago. While, the most recent trade-in (my wife’s car five years ago) was easy (and probably quite costly).

Last month, I had a friend turn in a leased car to a dealer, they gave them $4000 for it (because they could have bought out the lease), they turned and sold it for $7500 within a few days.

It’s shit-ass crazy out there. I think it is that a lot of people held off both buying a new car and selling their old one for a year. Because, they were out of work and couldn’t afford a new car, or they now work from home and there was no overarching need for a new car for the last year. (I’m in that latter bunch.)
Also, new cars are getting delayed by computer chip shortages, so used cars are where those desperate-for-car folks are looking.

You’ll get more selling it privately but if you don’t want the hassle you can sell it at Carmax pretty quick and easy.

I will say with the chip shortage, used cars are going like hot cakes right now as many places have low inventory so selling now might not be the hassle it usually is.

sale to private party should be fast these days. then the risk is someone scamming you. so how will you verify payment is legit? transact in the lobby of your bank and sign the title over when the check is determined to be valid? (i trust no one, and people on cragislist i might trust less than that.)

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Yeah, not a big fan of Craig’s List. Last time, 30 years ago, I put my car in Auto Trader with a picture (that seemed to attract people more than the not-so-popular car name).

Keep your distance, ask them to submit to a pat-down, etc. Have a neighbor witness the transaction. Get their driver’s license.
Oh, and cash-only.
Or, you have them go with you to the bank to deposit the Cashier’s Check it in front of witnesses.

Yeah…I don’t want to deal with the possibility of being scammed nor the extra hoops I’d have to jump through to validate a transaction. The more I live on this earth the less I like and trust people.

back-of-the-internet calculation puts it at about a $8k car. Handling that much cash is a hassle.

Sounds like a hassle.

See what I mean?

Yeah, it sucks to not get the highest possible value for it, but I also don’t want to deal with the shitheads that a private sale would entail.

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Do note that I sold ONE car 30 years ago privately. And I had to, because the car was in the auto-body shop when I bought the new one.

Hassle costs how much?

For a few hundred dollars on a one-time event: meh.
A few THOUSAND dollars? Well, I think I’ll suck it up.

I don’t think it will take too long to sell it, so, fewer shitheads. Not like the four months I had two cars and one driver (and one dedicated parking space).

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If you don’t want the hassle, I recommend Car Max. I bought a car through them and liked the process more than other dealerships. We sold privately but because I’m horrible at negotiating ended up not really making that much more than had we just sold it to Car Max.

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I might get the quotes from the various internet-businesses and then see how much better I can do via the shitshow that is nextdoor.

Any idea how Car Max prices compare to dealers? Not looking to buy or sell, just curious and don’t want to Google it. 1 off answers are more exciting.

So, your actuarial process ('cause, GoActuary) should be:

  1. Check what the well-known local dealers will offer.
  2. Check the asking prices of cars similar to yours using an online search.
  3. Compare the difference with your own personal utility curve.

Also, I’m personally interested in this, because my son’s car (Prius) is in my driveway, catalytic converter stolen, he’s looking for a new/used car (not succeeding yet, but he’s using his gf as a chauffeur), and I’m wondering just what this thing is worth.


CarMax is generally better than a dealer. My daughter just sold her old car to CarMax and got $1,500 the dealer offered her $500.

I feel like in virtually every city I live in or drive through there is at least one dealer with a billboard offering $500 more than CarMax. Seems like an easy way to at least get an extra $500 so go to CarMax, get your offer (good for x days) and take it to that dealership in your city.

When we went in they told us that there are underwriters sitting in a building who try to guess how much your car will sell for at auction (for older cars, which ours was - don’t know the process for newer cars). The underwriter gets a bonus if they are within $X of the actual price at auction (maybe within $100?), so they try to be accurate. No haggling, they just tell you what they’re willing to offer and it’s take it or leave it. Not contingent on buying a car there. You can just take it in and sell it.

CarMax will pay a few $k lower than a private sale, but that’s what you get for the convenience.

All my experience with car sales is so old and on vehicles so cheap it is probably entirely irrelevant to today’s market, but here’s what I know anyway (PC = PC + 1).

It has been a while since I have sold a car (2011/2012?), but Carmax paid more than the dealer I was buying a replacement from. Price around $3K, and was in excess of kbb price. I don’t know if I could have gotten more from private sale or not. Value was so low it wasn’t worth fooling with it.

I don’t remember what we got for a 7 yo car when I traded in 2004. Traded a 1990 Corolla in 1999, got $600 more than expected from dealer, so was happy and didn’t hold for private sale. All other car sales prior to that were basically for junk/salvage value to mechanic my dad used.

I had an extra car that I sold a few years ago. I think a dealer was going to offer me $1500. I was not in a hurry to sell so I just put it on craigslist with an outlandish price and lowered it $500 a week until I started getting interest in it, and eventually sold it for $6000. We met up at the city hall where they had an area under surveillance for craigslist sales.

Crazy - that car today on KBB is nearly 10K for private party sales.

Yes but is it worth $3000 dollars?

I would trust a verified cashiers check.

I have done this at Carmax a couple of times and it was pretty easy & seamless.

We havn’t had too many car threads here. The AO had bunches of them.

Yeah, I have been keeping an eye on the used car market for most of the last year, and I am seriously disappointed in what I can get for less than $10,000.

I have a 2012 Toyota Rav4 with 85k miles (accident free). The issue is that I need another one, because I have 2 kids (college age) with transportation needs and one Rav4 is one too few. I know that I paid 24,500 for the Rav4 new in 2012. I cannot find one for less than 13,000 and they have more mileage than 85k. So a 9 year old Toyota with 100k is going for over HALF the original purchase price, and they may not even have a clean Carfax report!