When to Sell Your Car for the Best Value

October 28, 2019 in Sell Your Car

We hear a lot of questions from people about when to sell your car to make the most money. We love questions like these because they show that people are putting a lot of thought into selling their car the right way. 

Unfortunately, there’s not really a simple answer to the question. The real answer is, it depends. 

If you want to get the biggest check for your car, you need to think about the season, your location, the type of car you’re selling, and the features and options it has. This might sound like a lot to learn, but keep reading! Understanding when to sell your car is easy, and it could be worth hundreds of dollars or more. 

Selling through the Seasons

In recent years, car sales have been fairly constant throughout the seasons. There are two exceptions worth mentioning. 

There is typically a spike in car sales around tax season. If you’re selling to a dealer or an “Appraise and Buy” service like The Appraisal Lane, you’d be wise to sell your car before tax season as that’s a time when dealers are stocking up. 

The other exception is the fall, when car sales tend to slow down for the year. 

It’s true that a lot of people buy cars as gifts for themselves or their loved ones during the Christmas holiday. There’s a short flurry of new car sales at that time, but it doesn’t present much opportunity for you as a private seller of a used car. 

Sell Your Car in the Best Location  

Just as location can make or break the value of a real estate transaction, it can also have a big impact on the price you’ll get when you sell your car. 

Economy cars like subcompacts and microcars sell faster, and for more money, in big cities. Full-size trucks and large SUVs sell better in the suburbs and rural areas. 

Give it some thought, and try to advertise your car in the location where it will bring the biggest check. 

What Type of Car are You Selling? 

If you’re trying to decide when to sell your car, the type of car you’re selling is a big factor. A good example to illustrate this is a convertible. 

You’ll make more money if you sell your convertible in May than you’d make in the middle of January. SUVs and vans sell for more in the spring as families begin preparing for their summer vacations. 

Give it a little thought and try to be strategic about when you list your vehicle for sale. Think about how potential buyers will use your car, and try to time your listing so that it’s available when the demand for your type of car is at its peak. 

What Features and Options Does Your Car Have? 

The features and options your car has can also impact the amount of money it will bring. In cold northern climates, all wheel drive is a desirable option during the winter months. 

Likewise, four wheel drive vehicles are more sought after during the summer months when people are planning outdoor summer activities that include camping, off-roading, and boating. 

Some features and options may be more valuable depending on where you live. Options like backup cameras are more valuable in urban environments. And grill guards and winches are in higher demand in rural markets. 

Has Your Car Been in the News? 

Part of getting the highest price for your car is to think like a buyer. Try to think about all of the factors that will influence their buying decision. 

If your make and model have been in the news recently for a recall or a safety issue, you might have a hard time finding a buyer who’s willing to pay the price you want. Buyers may view your car as too risky, and this will decrease the price they are willing to pay. 

Getting the best price for your car requires you to be strategic. You have to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and view the buying journey from their perspective. This will help you decide when to sell your car, and where to sell it, to get the best price.