Should I sell my used car or trade it in?

Several readers have asked us, “Should I sell my used car or trade it in”? Pro’s & Con’s to both.

Selling your car on your own, you need to consider a few things. Do you want strangers coming to your home to check out your car (always have someone with you; never show your car alone)? Do you actually have the time to do it? The uptick is you can typically sell it for more money that what a dealer will give you.

When you sell your vehicle on your own you do loose some State sales tax incentive. Most States customers will pay state sales tax on the new purchase, less the trade amount. Here is how that math works:


You pay less sales tax trading in. So you will want to calculate if selling on my own gains me more than what a dealer is willing to offer including my tax savings.

Selling the car on your own also requires you and the purchaser to complete the title work. Simply handing someone your title without changing it over is not a safe idea. You will want to make sure that the purchaser transfers the title and gets your name off it. The state of Florida provides title transfer forms to file that you sold the car.

Complete your sale with a “bill of sale”. Be sure you and the purchaser create a bill of sale signed by you both. This gives a date that the vehicle was sold and would help if heaven forbid something happened i.e. a wreck, DUI or worse occurred with your automobile. Distance yourself from liability.

Trading with a dealer has its advantages as well. As stated above you do save in taxes. Other advantages include knowing paper work is filed and properly done. If you owe on the car the note will be paid in full.

The convenience is for most folks the biggest advantage of trading with the dealer instead of on your own. Most busy consumers simply don’t have time to sell a car on their own.

Remember your car is a depreciable asset. None of us ever truly get what we hoped for our trade. Market conditions will dictate a trade value. So simply weigh out your options, do a bit of homework and decide what is best for you and your family. One is not really better than the other; it boils down to where YOU get the best deal.

So when you are contemplating whether “to sell my used car or trade it in” you will now have the knowledge to make a more informed decision, but keep in mind that the best thing of all is If you’re trading you will need to shop on to find your next car. Thanks so much for supporting us and our blog. We hope to be your first resource when looking for a vehicle. Send us your questions and we will be happy to address them on our blog.


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