Buying Tips

Trading In vs Selling Privately: Which is Better?

Trading In vs Selling Privately

When it comes to trading in vs selling privately, we’re asked two questions over and over and over again.

  • What’s the difference between trading in my vehicle and selling it privately?
  • Which is the best option?

In other words, people want to know whether they should sell their car to the same dealership they’re buying their new one from (i.e. trading in) or sell their car to someone else on their own time (through Kijiji, Facebook, word of mouth, etc.).

Right off the top, we want to let you know that there is no definitive answer to this. It’s very situational, and it ultimately depends on what you’re being offered by the dealership/private customer.

However, there are a number of inherent advantages with selling to a dealership. But since Go Auto is a dealership group, and it’s obviously within our best interest to say that, allow us to outline why in the next few minutes.

The Skinny: Trading In Your Vehicle

Trading in your vehicle is definitely the easier/less stressful of the two options.

In this scenario, the dealership will basically do all the work for you. All you have to do is bring your vehicle in, get it appraised, and then they will use that money towards a new (or used) vehicle you want to buy. At some dealerships (including almost every Go Auto dealership), they’ll even buy your vehicle without you having to buy something else.

If you value your time, then this is definitely the way to go. Generally the trade-in offer will be less than a private sale (but not always … more on that later) but to most, time is money.

If you’re selling your vehicle privately you all of this stuff to worry about:

  • Setting a fair price
  • Haggling with everyone who approaches you
  • Paying to advertise your vehicle
  • Waiting for a buyer to come up with the money

When weighing trading in vs selling privately, and important factor you have to consider is pain. With a dealership trade-in, all these headaches are avoided. Imagine finding a buyer and then having to wait for them to sort through financing troubles with a bank? Or maybe they promise to buy and then don’t show up. Or they want to give you half now and half later?

Trading In vs Selling Privately

The Skinny: Selling Your Vehicle Privately

Selling a vehicle privately (aka by yourself) often takes more time and effort. However, if you’re a shrewd negotiator and you have some patience, it may result in more money in your pocket.

By avoiding the reconditioning costs that the dealership will incur, you are able to charge more on the private market. When a dealership offers you a trade-in price, it has to factor in the cost of cleaning it and reconditioning it. You can avoid this if you sell privately and stick firm to your price.

However, you must take into consideration the amount of work that goes into the sale. There’s the added paperwork, the stress of dealing with buyers, and the potential risks associated with a private sale. If it takes months to sell your vehicle, only to make an extra $1000, was the juice worth the squeeze?

There is also no guarantee you will even sell the vehicle at all. At Go Auto, we’ll buy pretty well anything that runs.

Be aware of the vehicle market when selling your vehicle. Check out other private ads to see what similar vehicles are selling for. If there are hundreds of the same vehicle available, you are going to have a tougher time getting what you want out of the sale. Make sure to have the correct information available when potential buyers ask questions – previous accidents, aftermarket parts, how many owners, etc.

Selling Price vs Trade-In Price

Something to remember about trading in vs selling privately: the dealership has to properly recondition your vehicle before they can sell it to someone else. This does cost time and money. If there are any repairs, then those need to be taken care of before the vehicle can be re-sold. In addition, the vehicle needs to be completely detailed and cleaned.

So your trade-in value is dependent on a few factors, which includes:

  • Type of vehicle
  • Condition of your vehicle
  • Amount left owing (if you’re financing)
  • Public demand for your vehicle’s make, model, and year

Once the dealership has factored in cleaning and repair costs, they will present you with an appraisal offer. This trade-in value is the amount they will pay you for your vehicle. Your trade-in value can be used as a down payment towards your next vehicle, which will also result in lower payments moving forward.

Obviously the better shape the vehicle is in, the more you will get on your trade-in. But the actual demand of the vehicle will greatly impact how high or low of an offer you will receive. Also take into consideration what type of dealership you are trading in at. Is it Nissan, Dodge, Ford? As more than likely the type of vehicle you have will fetch more at a dealership of the same brand (i.e. trading in a Honda at Honda dealership). Naturally that store will have an easier time re-selling your vehicle, seeing how they specialize in that brand. Not to say a Dodge store won’t sell a used Ford, but it may be less desirable to their clientele when compared to a Ford store.

Trading In vs Selling Privately

Trading In vs Selling Privately: How Go Auto Can Help

With 20 brands available, Go Auto has an incredible amount of buying power when compared to smaller dealerships. We are able to offer you more for your vehicle because we can move our inventory between dealerships.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You own (for example) a Ford Escape
  2. You want to get rid of it and buy a Kia Sorento
  3. If you were to take it into a non-Go Auto Kia dealership, they wouldn’t give you a great trade-in offer because they don’t normally sell Fords. Customers aren’t coming to their Kia dealership to buy used Fords.
  4. However, if you buy a Kia Sorento at a Go Auto Kia dealership, we can pay you as much as a Ford dealership would for your trade-in.
  5. This is because we also own several Ford dealerships. We can just transfer that vehicle to one of our Ford stores after the sale is completed. We know we can maximize it’s value.

Trading in vs selling privately often isn’t much of a decision with normal dealerships. Most stores don’t give you what you want, so the decision is a simple one. But at Go Auto, our high volume stores have a much easier time re-selling your vehicle, therefore we can make worthwhile offers on trade-ins no matter the make and model of your vehicle.

What’s even better is our appraisals are absolutely free, and take barely any time at all. We will accurately assess your vehicle and provide you with competitive offer based on the make/model, condition, and history of the unit within the hour (unless we happen to be swamped that day, so please call ahead).

Trading In With Go Auto

So there’s your run down on Trading In vs Selling Privately.

If you are planning on getting into a newer vehicle, and already know what you want, a trade-in is probably your best option.

However, if you aren’t in a rush, and are willing to put the time into a private sale, it may be worth it to sell privately. Weigh both options – it doesn’t hurt to get a free trade-in quote or to throw an ad online to see what happens.

If you are looking to get out of your current vehicle quickly (sell or trade), or if you simply want to avoid the headaches of selling a vehicle yourself, Go Auto can help you today. Not only do we take vehicles on trade, but we BUY vehicles as well! With $10,000,000 set aside to bring in new inventory every month, we are ready and willing to offer top dollar on all makes/models … even if you don’t want to buy a new vehicle.

Don’t believe us? Set up a free appraisal now, or request a quote online.

As always, we’re happy to help!