Just like your first love, your first car isn’t going to last forever. Sure, you had a beautiful relationship with that little coupe, hatchback or sedan — but now it’s time to move on. Once you land on the car of your dreams, you need to decide what to do with your old car: trade in your old vehicle or sell it online. Here are the pros and cons of each.
Trading In Your Vehicle
Once you’ve chosen a dealership from which to buy your new car, the temptation to trade in your vehicle is strong. Car shopping and swapping in one fell swoop is kind of a no-brainer, right? Not so fast. Here’s what you need to know before going this route.
If you do decide to trade in your vehicle, there are plenty of resources online for estimating its value, including AutoGravity, which features a simple used-car appraisal tool that’s a cinch to use.
The obvious advantage of trading in your car is simplicity and convenience. You can hand over your old car in an afternoon and snag yourself a fancy new or used car at the same time.
The biggest downside to trading in your vehicle is that you’ll likely not make as much money than if you sell it yourself online — typically leaving 10 to 15 percent less in your pocket.
If simplicity and convenience mean more than a little extra cash, this is a solid route to take, especially if your old car isn’t worth that much anyway.
Selling Your Vehicle Online
Selling your vehicle online is not only more time-consuming than trading it in, there are also more things to consider. Here’s what you need to know before deciding to sell your vehicle online.
There are a number of sites where you can sell your used car online, including Craigslist, eBay Motors and Kelley Blue Book. Once you decide where you want to list your car, you’ll need to do some prep work before listing your beloved ride. First, take some good pictures of your car — inside and out. Ensure the images show off your vehicle in the best possible light and make certain it’s presentable and drivable. A little extra effort will go a long way.
Next, write up an accurate description of your car. DMV.org suggests including the mileage, condition of the vehicle, a history of accidents, modifications, recent repairs, the number of past owners and your contact information. Also, while you want to highlight the car’s assets, be honest. Overselling your car can backfire, so if it is a beater, don’t gush about it being in mint condition. Also, steer clear of long ads, sloppy spelling and grammar mistakes.
The obvious pro is that you can potentially make more money this way. If your vehicle is still fairly valuable, this can be significant.
Selling a car online is far from a seamless process. It takes time, effort and a lot of patience. Another drawback is dealing with potential buyers — no-shows, price hagglers and so-called “tire-kickers” who show up for a test-drive but aren’t necessarily ready to buy — not to mention those interested buyers who back out at the last minute. And finally, you won’t have the money from your old car sale on hand to help pay for your next car — unless you sell your old car first, leaving you without a ride until you secure your new ride.
Whether you decide to trade in your first car or sell it online, this is an exciting time, brimming with possibilities. So, choose the option that makes the most sense for you — and then move on to falling in love with your new car. Take the first step with AutoGravity to make your car-shopping experience quick and convenient.