As car prices finally start to moderate, it may be time for you to sell the vehicle you’re currently driving and buy something newer.
The prospect of handing the keys to a dealer at a lousy price may not sit right with you. Especially if you want to get the maximum value out of the car you’re selling.
But what’s the best place to sell a car?
That’s what a listener of the Clark Howard Podcast recently asked.
Best Place To Sell a Car in 2023
Selling a car? When you start out, you may envision getting top dollar for your ride. You have the will to fight for the best deal and you’re full of enthusiasm.
But once you start listing, you may come to realize there are a lot of poor options when it comes to selling your car. What’s the best choice? That’s what a listener wondered on the Feb. 1 podcast episode.
Asked Andrew in Oregon: “My wife and I have always sold our cars ourselves using Craigslist and Autotrader. We just tried to sell on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist and got inundated with people trying to scam us.
“How do you sell a used car now if you want the highest value? I put it into Carvana and Vroom, and obviously, the price was much lower than the private-party sale prices that Kelley Blue Book lists. How do I find real buyers and not just scammers? Am I just stuck selling it to a dealer?”
Listing items for sale on free marketplaces attracts more riff-raff today than it did years ago. Especially with high-dollar items such as vehicles.
“If you’re going to sell it yourself, you’re going to find better results at a site like Autotrader. Because you’re having to pay for that listing,” Clark says. “You list a car on Craigslist and you’re going to get one scamster after another after another.”
Aside from avoiding online scammers, there’s no single best place to get the most money for your car. So it’s good to get price quotes from as many places as possible.
Are Price Guides Giving Sellers False Hope Right Now?
It’s also smart to check the value of your vehicle on Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds. But don’t get locked into a value solely based on your research. If your local market isn’t supporting your target price, you may be burning a lot of calories holding out for the number you’ve decided in your mind.
Clark isn’t surprised that Andrew felt disappointed by the number that Carvana and Vroom offered for his vehicle.
“I’m concerned that Kelley Blue Book and the other pricing guides are not up to date at the moment. Because used vehicle prices at wholesale have been dropping so fast that the huge bubble in used vehicle prices is now ending,” Clark says.
Check With a Local Dealership But Don’t Expect Much
Selling to a car lot may be even trickier than normal, too, if you want a good deal.
“A lot of car-selling stores are stuck with high-cost inventory they bought at wholesale when values were higher and they’ve not price capitulated yet. So when you’re trying to sell a used vehicle to a dealer right now, they’re really gun-shy,” Clark says.
“And the offer they’re going to make to you is going to be almost certainly lower than the pricing guides would find.”
Clark also suggests getting a price quote from a local car dealership as well. Then list your car on Autotrader. With price offers from all these places in your back pocket, you can then attempt to get a better deal by selling privately.
Traditionally, selling your car privately will net you more money.
“You’ll know whether I’m right [about Kelley Blue Book] if you list on Autotrader and you find you’re meeting price resistance at the price that Kelley Blue Book said private sellers would get for that vehicle,” Clark says.
There’s no magic bullet for getting as much money as possible when you sell your car.
If you want to max out your value, be sure to check all the online companies that offer no-haggle buying. Test out a local car dealership or two. And list on Autotrader as well.
Don’t get anchored to a price you see on Kelley Blue Book or another pricing guide, especially right now.