Should I Sell My Car? Finding the Right Time and How to Do It
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During the course of owning a vehicle, usually, at some point comes a time to sell it.
Your reasons to divest yourself of a car may cover a wide range, from just wanting something new to you to having changing needs as a driver.
Selling your vehicle privately or trading it in comes with its benefits and drawbacks, and considering those can help you make a wise decision between the two.
Traditionally, certain times of year are more advantageous for car buying. But does the same hold true for selling or trading in? And when during ownership of your vehicle is the best time to sell it?
Let's look at the best times to sell or trade in your used car in further detail.
Should I trade in my car or sell it?
When you decide it's time to move on from your current vehicle and buy something new to you, you have two options: selling it privately or trading it in.
Sometimes, selling your vehicle to a private party nets you more money in total. But a private sale brings with it extra work and possibly a long wait to find a buyer.
First, you have to clean up your car inside and out and take pictures from multiple angles. Then, you have to post an advertisement, write a description, and field calls from potential buyers. To complete the sale, you have to wade through many administrative tasks like signing a bill of sale and transferring the title. And it could take a while to find someone interested in your vehicle.
On the other hand, trading in your car is simple and easy. All you have to do is visit the reseller of your choice, decide whether or not to accept their offer, then put the money toward your next one. Instead of facing the possibility of weeks or even months finding a buyer, you could trade in your vehicle and drive off in your next one the same day.
Another advantage of trading in involves sales tax. In many states, you only pay tax on the amount left once you subtract the trade-in value from the final purchase price. This gives you the chance to save thousands of dollars and keep the necessary money in your bank account for other essential obligations.
Weighing the option to trade in or sell depends on what you value most: convenience or the total money you receive. Trading in can make things easy and take away the work and worry of selling your car privately. But if you want to receive as much money as possible for your vehicle, a private sale may be the better choice.
Though shopping for your next car can be fun, selling your old one is a hassle. It takes up your important time, and how can you be sure you receive the best price? At Shift, you don't have to worry about any of that. All you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage on Shift's easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for seven days. You can get a fair offer, better than at the dealership, driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data.
Should I sell my old car or keep it: the current market
Recently, both new and used vehicle prices have set new records. A worldwide microchip shortage caused by the pandemic slowed automotive production, which caused demand to exceed supply and, in turn, car prices to climb.
By the end of 2021, the average new vehicle sold for more than $46,000, and the median cost of a used one was more than $27,000.
Used vehicles experienced an especially high increase in cost in the past two years, rising 13 percent in the past year and 41 percent since two years ago.
And with the microchip shortage projected to last into 2022 and inventories continuing to remain tight, now is an excellent time to sell or trade in your used vehicle.
Using online research tools can give you an idea of the value of your car, guiding you on setting a price or accepting a trade-in offer.
When the time comes to purchase a new-to-you car, where can you go for not only a great price but a vehicle that stands the test of time? Whether you're after a Honda, Chevrolet, or Toyota, Shift has a wide selection of fully inspected cars located across the country. And Shift offers best-in-class service contracts at a fair price without sales pressure. You get the great price and value of a used car with the bumper-to-bumper protection of a new car. With a Shift Vehicle Protection plan, not only are essential components covered, but you also receive roadside assistance if you run into trouble. Whether you're in the continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii, or Canada, help is just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Should I sell my old car or keep it: vehicle condition
During your vehicle's life cycle, specific times represent better opportunities to sell or trade in.
When your current car is still somewhat new and in good condition, it gives you the chance to secure an excellent price in return. Vehicles with less than 60,000 miles can bring more money due to the factory warranty remaining in place, offering buyers additional peace of mind.
Conversely, cars in need of repairs or over the 100,000-mile mark may cause concern for prospective buyers and mean you receive less money to put toward your next one.
When deciding to sell or trade in your used car, you also have to consider how its condition affects you and your safety on the road. If it keeps needing to spend time in the shop and important components don't function as they should, it may be time to unload it, no matter what amount of money someone's willing to pay.
2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport (from $41,500)
Should I sell my old car or keep it? Changing needs as a driver
Even if your car provides reliable transportation, it may no longer meet your needs, necessitating a sale or trade-in.
Perhaps if you have a knack for home improvement and need the payload and utility of a pickup truck, it could be time to sell what you currently drive.
Securing a car loan for a new-to-you vehicle can be a hassle. Who can you trust for not only a great deal but also an easy application process? Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. Applying for financing with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation.
If you’re ready to make a change in what you drive, Shift has thousands of options ready for you.
2019 Toyota Camry SE (from $27,400)
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the author or Shift Technologies, Inc. Shift does not endorse or evaluate the accuracy of any claims made or data provided by third party sources referenced herein.
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 15, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.