Selling your car – Will an online or private sale get you the best deal?

Selling your car – Will an online or private sale get you the best deal?

Up until a few years ago, there were limited options available for selling your car for the best cash price. Unless you were trading in your old car at a trusted dealership to offset the cost of a newer vehicle purchase, you pretty much had to go it alone in the sometimes-murky classified world to sell your car and get a good deal for it. Luckily for prospective sellers, technology and e-commerce have advanced where almost anybody can now go online, list their vehicle for sale, and reach far more potential buyers than what was previously available. 

Whether you prefer selling your car privately, on your own terms, or are open to the idea of listing your pre-loved wheels on an online marketplace, both selling mechanisms have their pros and cons, as outlined below. 

Selling your car the old-fashioned way

Before buyers and sellers became interconnected on the World Wide Web, listing your car for sale usually involved a combination of word of mouth and/or posting your car for sale in the classifieds sections of newspapers and magazines. The trusty “For sale by private owner” method of selling your car is still commonplace, as many sellers do not trust much of the anonymity and perceived security concerns associated with online car marketplaces. Going down the private sale route also gives you the upper arm at the negotiation table to hold out for your desired price.

However, the major drawback of trying to sell your car privately is that fewer people are likely to view your advert than they would on an online auction. And with less traffic viewing your car listing, you may have to hold out for a considerably longer period of time to get a satisfactory deal. 

Selling your car on an online marketplace

In recent years, online car platforms have overtaken private sales as the most popular, quickest and safest method of buying and selling used cars. Not only do e-commerce platforms offer sellers almost instant access to an unlimited network of potential buyers, but they have also become the hunting ground for reputable car dealers looking for specific car makes and models, and who are willing to pay competitive prices for quality, used vehicles. Specifically, look for an online marketplace where you can sell your car to pre-vetted dealers and are not forced to accept the first available cash offer. 

The only drawback you may encounter is that you can expect to receive a lower cash offer for your vehicle than you would have if you had opted to sell your car privately. 

Choosing the route of time vs convenience

All factors considered, there is no outright winner when it comes to selling your car for the best cash deal. Both methods have their individual  pros and cons and are subject to changing trends and market fluctuations. 

If you have the luxury of time on your side, leaning towards a private sale may yield the highest financial return. However, for higher market penetration and access to more serious buyers that have funds available to make an instant purchase, the online route is certainly a more hassle-free experience when parting with your own wheels in order to make way for bigger and brighter things.