Skip the trade-in: Here are 5 tips to sell your car for twice as much money


When it comes time to get a new car, the logical choice seems to be to trade in your current car at the dealer, right? Not necessarily.

If done right, you can double your money by selling your used car yourself. While it may sound like a hassle, the extra cash in your pocket will be worth the work.

Follow these five tips to make the process of selling your used car both lucrative and as pain-free as possible.

Getty Images | Bill Pugliano

Get the right information.

Don’t just pick a price out of thin air. Start with the Kelly Blue Book, which can give you the market price of your vehicle based upon factors like its make and model, condition and age.

Then head to a place like CarMax to see what they would offer for your car. Using these numbers, you can make an informed decision about a selling price.

Make it look like new.

If you haven’t been to the car wash in awhile now’s the time to consider a full detailing. To save even more cash, do it yourself.

Make sure to do a thorough job, shining the dash and getting into every nook and cranny.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

Become a salesperson.

When you meet with a prospective buyer, chances are they’re going to have questions.

They may even be suspicious that a serious problem is lurking underneath the hood, which is what’s prompting you to sell it on your own.

To make the process transparent as possible and assuage any possible fears, it’s a good idea to get an inspection report from a mechanic, so they can get an independent opinion on the condition of the car.

Be prepared to let them take a test drive and answer any questions.

Getty Images | Scott Olson

Be prepared to negotiate.

Most people aren’t going to just hand over your asking price without trying to haggle a bit.

If they say the price is simply too high, put the ball back in their court by asking how much they would be willing to pay. If they ask what’s the “best you can do,” don’t reduce the price too much. Have a number in your mind that you won’t go below, and start a bit higher than that to make room for negotiation.

Even if a prospective buyer claims it’s their final offer, it may be in your best interest to call their bluff by refusing. At that point, you might be surprised that they’ll come in at a higher number.

Tie up any loose ends.

Once you agree on a price with a buyer, unfortunately, your work is not done.

Be sure you check with the DMV in your state to ensure that you’re complying with all rules and regulations around selling a car.

One way to protect yourself should something go wrong with the car after the new owner drives away is to download a release-of-liability form from the DMV website, which establishes the time the car left your possession.

Make sure that you properly sign the title over to the new owner, and cancel your insurance policy or transfer it to your new vehicle.



About the Author

Kate Streit

Kate Streit lives in Chicago. She enjoys stand-up comedy, mystery novels, memoirs, summer and pumpkin spice anything. More.

More to explore