What are the different ways I can sell my car?
From trading in or selling privately to using a car buying service like Sell My Car, there are plenty of ways to get rid of your current set of wheels. Examine the pros and cons of each car sales approach to discover the right one for you.
Your car has served you well over the years, getting you from A to B without ever giving you any trouble, but the time has come to bid it farewell and upgrade to a new set of wheels.
It’s time to sell your car, but how exactly do you get the best deal with the least amount of stress? That’s the 64-million-dollar question facing all Australian car sellers, and there are four main options to choose from when you want to sell your vehicle.
Many people opt for the simplicity of trading their vehicle in at a car dealer when they go to purchase their next car. It’s quick and convenient, with most trade ins handled efficiently and without any unnecessary hassle. There’s no need to spend weeks or even months finding the right buyer, allowing you to make the transition from old car to new in no time.
But there are some trade-offs you’ll have to make when you opt to trade in. Dealers have all the bargaining power when making an offer on your vehicle. They know you’re looking for a generous deal to help fund your next set of wheels — in fact, they can see the car you want sitting on their showroom floor. Your car-buying life is quite literally in the dealer’s hands as they weigh up how much to offer you for your vehicle and, as a general rule, you won’t get as much when trading in as you would when selling your vehicle privately.
However, if you do go the dealer route, remember that you don’t have to accept the first trade-in price you are offered. You are well within your rights to haggle for a better deal. Another potential downside of trading in is the possibility that a dealer may not particularly want your car; if they’ve already got five silver Camrys on their books, are they really going to want to offer you a big trade-in price just to get another one? This is not the most common of occurrences, but it does happen from time to time.
The next option facing car sellers is selling your car privately. The main advantage of a private sale is that you’ll most likely be able to get a much better price for your old banger than you would if you went cap in hand to a dealer. This is a big plus when you go shopping for a new car, giving you a pocket full of bargaining power when you negotiate a purchase.
But the private sales method is not without its downsides either. If you choose this route, you’ll need to be willing to put in the time and effort required to get a reasonable price for your car. You’ll have to write and post an effective ad, and then go through the hassle of dealing with potential buyers.
You have to put your private information out there for all to see, while the prospect of having strangers come to your house to look at your car is often a scary one. Scammers and thieves do target private car sellers from time to time, but probably the biggest annoyance you’ll face is the ‘no shows’. You’ll move heaven and earth to arrange a convenient time for them to come and give your car the once over, but when the appointed time arrives they are nowhere to be seen.
And when you do find a legitimate buyer who wants to make an offer, get ready for the fun and games of haggling. Buyers today are better informed than ever before and everyone likes to feel as if they’re getting a bargain, so you’ll need to be prepared for the aggro and posturing of the negotiation process.
Then there’s the fact that you’ll have to look after the ongoing maintenance of your vehicle while you wait for it to sell, repairing any scratches and dents and keeping it in tip-top condition for potential buyers. You’ll also need to keep paying rego, insurance and servicing costs, all while your car continues to drop in value each day.
Surely it can’t be that bad? Unfortunately, it can. Research shows that the average time it takes to sell your car privately is an astonishing five months. For some people this isn’t too much of a hassle, but if you want fast cash for your car then private sales are a no go.
An increasingly popular option for car sellers is to sell their car at auction. Auctions often work wonders in the real estate world, right? So why not in the automotive world as well? Manheim is Australia’s largest auto auctioneer, holding weekly auctions where you can buy anything from small cars and SUVs to plant and equipment, plus there are plenty of other companies ready and willing to sell your car.
Perhaps the biggest plus of going to auction is the exposure you can get to potential buyers before your car is even put up for bid. All of the big auction houses have slick, easy-to-navigate websites where buyers can browse upcoming sales. Then there’s the people who wander through auction houses in the lead-up to an auction, plus the large crowds that arrive for the big day. That’s a whole lot of potential owners having a close look at your car —much more than you’d get when selling privately.
The auction house takes care of the paperwork and you can set the reserve price. If the bidding doesn’t reach your reserve, no sale.
From there, we all know how auctions work. The pressure and competitiveness of the bidding situation could lead to a higher price, or the offers might be disappointing and you could be in for a letdown. Unlike with a house auction, however, there’s no chance of negotiating a sale after the auction if your car hasn’t sold when the hammer comes down.
Car Buying Service
The fourth car sales option is a relatively new concept in Australia, with many people unaware this option even exists. Not to be confused with companies that help when you’re looking to buy a car, this type of car buying service offers to give you fast cash for your car.
If you want to sell your vehicle, they’ll perform an inspection to evaluate your car and then make an instant offer. It’s quick, convenient and hassle-free.
Sell My Car is one such car buying service that buys all makes and models of vehicles from all sorts of people. Since it was established in April 2014, Sell My Car has purchased more than $41 million worth of cars and expanded its nationwide network to include 19 buying centres.
There’s a simple three-step process to using a car buying service:
1. Get a free instant online valuation for your car.
2. Book an appointment at a buying centre
3. Professional staff will give your car a final inspection and offer to buy it from you. If you’re happy with the offer they make, they’ll buy your car on the spot The advantage of services like Sell My Car is that they offer an incredibly quick and convenient service. There’s no haggling, no back and forth, and no risk of being at the mercy of a dealer. Payment is guaranteed within 24 hours — much quicker than the five-month average time frame for a private sale — which gives you plenty of bargaining power when you go shopping for a new car.
While you won’t get as much for your car as you would from a private sale, this is something many sellers are willing to accept if they can avoid the time-consuming stress of selling privately.
How Should I Sell My Car?
Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks, so you’ll need to compare your options before choosing one. In short, trade ins are fast and typically hassle-free. Selling privately will get you a better deal, but it can be a lot of hard work. Auctions are unpredictable but can deliver good results, while car buying services offer a quick and convenient alternative.
There’s a whole world of buyers out there eager to get behind the wheel of your car. How you find them is up to you.
Sellmycar.com.au is a vehicle buying service backed by Cox Enterprises, a global business with over 50 years experience in the automotive industry.