Where is the Best Place to Sell a Used Car?

October 28, 2019 in Sell Your Car

OK, so you’re ready to sell your used car. Great! But where should you sell it? 

Knowing where to sell a used car can be a little bit more complicated than most people think. You have a lot of options, and they can vary greatly in terms of the time they take and the prices they deliver. 

For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on 5 of the most popular places people choose to sell a car: 

  1. Sell Your Car Locally
  2. Use an Online Marketplace
  3. Sell to a “We Buy Used Cars” Service
  4. Sell to a Salvage Yard
  5. Sell to The Appraisal Lane 

Sell Your Car Locally 

Selling your car locally is one way to get the highest possible price for your car. Unfortunately, this option also requires the most work and carries the most risk. 

Selling your car locally might simply entail driving around with a “For Sale” sign on your car until you sell it. Or it might mean placing classified ads in your local papers and internet sites like Craigslist. 

One of the biggest drawbacks of a local sale is that you assume responsibility for all of the texts, emails, and phone calls from potential buyers. There’s also the risk of meeting complete strangers who want to test drive your car. 

There can also be potential complications around the payment or the title transfer. Finally, if the vehicle breaks down after the sale, there’s a chance you could have some legal liability. 

If you have a standard vehicle in good condition, and you want the highest possible price for your car, selling locally may be the best choice for you. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to put in a fair amount of work to get that high price tag. 

Use an Online Marketplace 

The internet has a site for everything, so if you’re wondering where to sell a used car, the internet is a great place to start. There are several online marketplaces where you can sell your car. Some are dedicated solely to car sales - others, like Facebook Marketplace, have pretty much anything listed for sale.

Online marketplaces are great because they get you in front of a large audience, quickly. Many also help facilitate the payment to insulate you from bounced checks and sketchy cash transactions. 

The biggest drawback of online marketplaces is that your car will be listed among a large group of direct competitors. While you might have the only late model Lincoln Navigator on the market in your town - online, it just be one in a long list of Navigators of every color and trim level. 

As with a local sale, you’ll have to manage communications and test drive appointments on your own.

Sell to a “We Buy Used Cars” Service

You may have seen advertisements around town or on the internet that say something like, “We’ll Buy Any Used Car.” These ads belong to services - local, regional, or national - where you can enter a few details about your car and get an instant offer. 

Sites like these typically rely on an algorithm to determine your car’s value. Because the only information they have to work with is your year, make, model, and mileage, the offer you get will always be on the low end of the spectrum. 

Think of an algorithm offer like a least common denominator. Two cars may have the same year, make, and model - but also have wildly different values. One might have survived several accidents, with the back seat full of fast food trash, and never even met a mechanic. The other might have been parked in a garage for its entire lifetime and never missed a single scheduled service appointment. 

Because an algorithm can’t see the difference between these two cars, they both get the same offer - and that offer will be low.

The good news for you is that using one of these services is very easy. And there are a few that have good reputations in the industry. 

The bottom line is that services like these are a great way to sell your car fast, but they’re not a good way to get the most money for your car. 

Sell to a Salvage Yard

Sometimes you just can’t find a buyer. It might be that the car needs too much mechanical work. It might be out of style. It might simply be the smell. 

If you’ve tried to sell your car unsuccessfully, the salvage yard is a last resort. When you sell your car to the salvage yard, you are basically selling it for parts. 

It’s a simple process and doesn’t take much effort. You just need to go in with the right expectations. 

When you started researching where to sell a used car, you may have had your mind set on getting a high price. If that’s the case, the salvage yard is probably going to be a bit of a disappointment. But if you had already written the car off as a loss, then you’ll probably be happy to have a few hundred extra dollars in your pocket. 

Sell Your Car to The Appraisal Lane

One new option that you might not be familiar with is The Appraisal Lane. Our service connects you with a team of live appraisers, who will review all of the details of your individual car and give you a guaranteed offer that you can redeem for cash or trade-in value at a dealership near you. 

Our service is as convenient as a “We Buy Used Cars” service, but with a fair offer that’s based on the history and condition of your unique vehicle. 

Because our offers are guaranteed and backed by cash, you can have peace of mind knowing that you won’t have any trouble getting paid. 

Still Not Sure Where to Sell a Used Car? 

When you’re deciding where to sell a used car, you need to decide how much effort you want to spend on this process, how much money you want to get for your car, and how many risks you’re willing to take during the selling process. 

By weighing these factors against each other, you’ll be able to determine the best place to sell your car to meet your individual needs.