3 Easy Ways to Sell Your Car

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Point of Interest

Selling your car takes more than putting pictures on Craigslist or taking it to a dealership.

If you have an old car or a car that doesn’t fit your needs anymore, selling it may make financial sense. Whether you want an upgrade or a downgrade or you need to sell for cash, you have numerous options at your disposal. But selling a car quickly often means that you may have to accept less than your asking price. Here’s how to sell your car easily while also getting the most for your car.

3 easy ways to sell your car

  1. Get the value of your car
  2. Choose a selling platform
  3. Transfer the car title

1. Get the value of your car

Regardless of how you intend to sell your car, the process will always start with the same first step — getting the value of your vehicle. This is a crucial step as buyers will always want to pay the least amount possible, and professional outlets such as dealerships may attempt to low-ball you with a price that’s below the true value of your car. Armed with the relevant information, you will be able to negotiate from a position of strength and get the best deal possible.

There are numerous online tools you can use to get the true value of your car, such as Kelley Blue Book, Edmundsand Cars.com. These online appraisal tools will help you figure out the value of your vehicle based on its age, make, model, zip code, mileage, category, style, color and equipment. They will search transaction data to calculate the price range together with an average estimated time and level of effort it takes to sell it. You may want to print a copy of this report and bring it with you when you are meeting potential buyers to back up your asking price with some hard evidence.

2. Choose a selling platform


If you are not selling your car because you need a quick cash injection, but because you want to buy another car, one of the options is to take your car to a dealership and trade it in for another car. This means accepting the dealership’s offer and using that money to buy another vehicle at the same outlet. The advantage of this option is that it is quick and easy as you finish both legs of the transaction — selling your old car and buying the next one — at the same place.

But be aware that this convenience comes at a cost. First, dealerships tend to offer less money than the private party value. Also, you will need to buy your next car from the same dealership, which can significantly reduce your choice. If you are fine with both, trading in your used car at a dealership makes sense.


When you are not in the market for a new car, selling your used car to a dealer is the easiest option to unload it. If you get your car serviced at a dealership, that can be a good starting point, but make sure you approach multiple outlets to get several quotes. This means that you need to examine the type of cars a dealership specializes in and also its inventory — if it already has similar vehicles on the lot for sale, it could lower the offer price you get on your car. In this case, you will want to shop around and find a better match, so you get a better offer.

Also, to get the best deal, you will need to put a bit of work into the car and fix the flaws and make it look appealing. Don’t go overboard — go for low-hanging fruit like minor fixes and beautification. Do only what makes financial sense to fix as some repairs will cost more than what you can get in return.


Digital technology has changed the car-buying and selling process. Carvanais a company that offers users online vehicle search and discovery, as well as an option to trade-in or sell with real-time personalized financing. It was founded with a vision to provide customers with the best experience, best selection and best value. You can search more than 25,000 vehicles online, get an instantaneous trade-in offers and immediate financing with a seven-day money-back guarantee — all without leaving your home. You can select a vehicle in as little as ten minutes and have it delivered as soon as the next day!

The company also offers car vending machines operating in 24 locations. Carvana claims that its customers save more than $1,000 compared to traditional dealers.

Private party

If you are not time-pressed to sell your car, you can always try selling it to a private party. Although this option will require more work and effort on your part, private party selling usually allows you to get the most for your car.

However, you will need to put up an ad, write a compelling listing that includes main details about the vehicle: the make and model, color, mileage, equipment, condition and your contact details. Make sure you create attractive photos to showcase your car’s key selling points. You’ll also need to meet with potential buyers, negotiate the price and ensure a safe payment — either in cash, bank wire or check.

3. Transfer the car title

Once you agree to an offer and you have the car sold, you will need to release ownership of the vehicle by signing the title — a legal document proving who owns a vehicle. The buyer then takes the signed title to the Department of Motor Vehicles, which checks the paperwork and issues a new title and registration. Every state has its own procedure for changing the car ownership, so make sure you check what’s required in your state. This is a crucial step as who holds the title owns the vehicle, so without transferring the title, the seller continues to be the legal owner and thus responsible for the car.

If you prepared the title and other required documents in advance, you could finish the whole process the same day, although it may take up to 48 hours to finalize. Unfortunately, you will have to do it in person as there is still no option to finish this procedure online.

Keep in mind that if you own your car jointly with another person, the wording of the title is essential as it will determine whether both parties or only one have to sign the title to release ownership. Also, if you have an auto loan, it will need to be settled before you can sell the car. If you owe more than your car is worth, you’ll have to pay off the rest of the loan yourself.

The final word

You can sell your car in several different ways, but each of them will include the same set of steps: First, you need to get the value of your car. Next, you need to choose the platform where to sell it. Finally, once you find the buyer, you will need to do the paperwork and transfer the title to him or her.

To get the best deal, make sure you utilize online appraisal tools to know what your car is worth. Equipped with this important information, you can choose from a wide variety of options where to sell your car: dealership, Carvana, private party, or you may decide to trade it in. Don’t forget to change the title after you received the payment as the one who holds the title owns the vehicle and hence is responsible for whatever happens to it.

Aleksandra Deric

Personal Finance Contributor

Alex Deric is a freelance finance and technology writer that brings in-depth investment knowledge and experience to her writing. Originally from Serbia, Alex has spent more than a decade working in the finance industry around the world, including London and New York. After having studied at Oxford and the London School of Economics, she is now working towards her PhD degree. You will find her published work on sites such as CQNet, FundingHQ, NetworkNewsWire, and CS Strategies. She’s an avid runner and a firm believer that financial education can make the world a better place.