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How to maximize the value of your used car, truck or SUV: Tips on selling used vehicles

How to maximize the value of your used car, truck or SUV: Tips on selling used vehicles


How to maximize the value of your used car, truck or SUV: Tips on selling used vehicles

Used Cars In High Demand.Normally I would keep 30-50 trucks in stock. Right now, I have a hard time keeping 20,” Chris Spears said Wednesday. “The problem with the chip shortage is that new car dealerships are having to sell used cars because they can’t get new inventory.”Doug Engle, Ocala Star-BannerThe average value of a trade-in vehicle has surged to $8,738, up 70% in the last year.Used car prices have spiked so much that the vehicle in your driveway may be worth more than it was a year ago.A shortage of new vehicles caused by a reduced supply of semiconductor chips has driven new and used prices higher.Now is not the time to reflexively take the first offer for your used car or truck.Used car prices have skyrocketed so much that, in many cases, the vehicle sitting in your driveway is worth more than it was a year ago – an unthinkable turnabout for a big-ticket item that has historically dropped in value as soon as it’s driven off a dealer’s lot.But in the last year, the average value of a trade-in vehicle has surged to $8,738, up 70%, according to automotive data tracker J.D. Power.“The used car market has just gone completely insane,” says Ivan Drury, senior manager of insights for car-research site Edmunds. “There really is a lot of money in these used vehicles.”The chaos stems from a shortage of new vehicles caused by a reduced supply of semiconductor chips. That’s prompted more buyers to shop for used vehicles, driving up prices.Consumer Reports: These are the 10 most reliable vehicles of 2022Electric SUVs debut at LA Auto Show: Nissan, Hyundai, Fisker show off EVsPrice increases are unlikely to keep up this torrid pace as production recovers, but, in the meantime, car owners who want to sell their vehicles should do everything they can to get the most money for them.“Your car right now is worth more than you think,” says Michael Chapman, chief marketing officer of CarLotz, a used vehicle seller.Use these simple car-buying tips to get a good dealThere is a good time to buy a car so that you save the most money, according to car experts. Sean Dowling (@seandowlingtv) has more.Buzz60Here are tips to ensure you’re getting the most for your used carYou can sell your car even if you still owe money on itSome consumers believe they shouldn’t sell their vehicle until they pay it off. And it’s certainly a good idea to pay off debt to the extent you can.But the reality is that cars purchased before the pandemic may be worth more than consumers owe on them.“Right now, I think a lot of people are finding that their car is worth more than they do owe on it, and it’s not a bad place to be,” says Matt DeLorenzo, an automotive expert at Kelley Blue Book.Start with obtaining a quick estimate of the vehicle’s worth.Enter the basic info about your vehicle at Kelley Blue Book’s website or another value estimation service like Consumer Reports to get a rough idea of how much your car is worth at retail, as a trade-in or on the private market.“If you have a car that you’re not driving or you don’t need it or you can get by, this is the perfect market to sell it in,” DeLorenzo says. “Since I’ve been in the business, I’ve never seen a market like this.”Get an instant offer onlineIf it’s been a while since you’ve sold a used car, you might not be aware of a new online option: instant offers. You can visit a number of different services – such as Kelley Blue Book, Autotrader, Vroom, CarMax, Carvana, Edmunds, J.D. Power or AutoNation – and plug in the basic information on your vehicle to get an instant cash offer.“You can use that as a floor for what your car is worth and then see if you can get more than that from other dealers or from private parties,” DeLorenzo says.It’s worth doing so at multiple different services.“You have to shop it around and that goes no matter what you own,” Drury says. “I don’t care what it is or what the mileage is. if you want to extract maximum value, you have to know the value you’re getting is the right one.”If you find a satisfactory online offer, the service will likely want to inspect the vehicle to verify it doesn’t need significant repairs before finalizing the deal. They might even pick it up from your home.Dealers and used car lots are so hungry for cars right now that they might be willing to buy the vehicle even if it’s in rough shape.“The inventory is so low on used cars and the desperation is so high, you will get quotes that are much more than you expect,” Drury said.Or visit a dealership, even if you’re not buyingSome consumers don’t realize that they can sell a used car to a dealership even if they’re not in the market to buy a car.Not only that, but dealers will likely be thrilled to see you walk through the door given their lack of inventory.Dealers are especially anxious to buy lightly used vehicles that would qualify as certified pre-owned cars.“They’re hungry for those vehicles and often times they’ll pay a premium for them,” DeLorenzo says.Selling to a dealer is a good option if you don’t want to handle the paperwork associated with paying off a loan and transferring the title to your vehicle. The dealership will take care of that for you.“You absolve yourself of all of those issues,” Drury says.Given the ease of an instant offer and the logistics of selling to a dealer, “more and more people are finding it’s much easier to sell it outright to a dealer or a CarMax,” DeLorenzo says.Consider an emerging option: consignmentSelling items like clothes, jewelry and art on consignment is commonplace. Now selling your car on consignment is also an option.CarLotz, which has about 20 locations throughout the country, is offering to sell your vehicle on your behalf for a flat fee of about $1,100.“Now you can simply bring your car in, we evaluate it, we take pictures of it, we merchandise it, we put it out into the marketplace,” says Chapman of CarLotz.If you go this route, make sure you reach an agreement with the dealer on the minimum price before letting them launch the sales process, Drury says.But it might not be a bad way to go if you don’t want the hassle of dealing with the paperwork or the people.“The good thing is that in theory consignment will always do better than wholesale,” Chapman said. “Consignment is about getting individuals access to retail prices.”But if your car is quite worn, consider selling it yourselfPerson-to-person sales haven’t gone away. Craigslist remains the most popular route to sell a personal vehicle, Drury says.Other options include neighborhood message board NextDoor and Facebook Marketplace. Another option is eBay, which Drury called “quasi peer to peer.”“Typically you will find that the way you’ll get the most value from a car will be selling it privately to another person,” DeLorenzo says.But it comes with risks if you’re selling a vehicle for a substantial amount of money. What if the buyer can’t come up with the money?Selling the car yourself is typically the best option if it’s more than 15 years old or has more than 150,000 miles, Drury says.“Then you are really better off trying to sell peer to peer,” he says, because the dealer won’t see much value there.If the car needs work, it would help to obtain quotes in advance to present to your prospective buyers.If you disclose it upfront, “people are OK buying a car that has some problems” in this market, Drury says. “Get an expert, get a couple of quotes so you can show them I don’t want to get this fixed but here’s what it would cost.”Don’t get offendedPeople get emotionally attached to vehicles, which can make it particularly upsetting when someone offers you less than you think it’s worth.“You should expect to get a lot of low-ball offers if you put your car” up for sale, Drury says. “People will throw out offers that will make you offended.”The reality is it’s just business. Don’t hesitate to make a counteroffer or walk away if the price isn’t what you want.Make your used car spiffy on the inside and outsideGet a car wash.“Get the car detailed and make it look as good as you can possibly make it,” DeLorenzo says. “Whether you’re going to sell the car privately or selling it to a dealer, you should make it look desirable to whoever wants to buy it.”It’s not unlike you would polish your jewelry before selling it to the local jeweler.“If you do that, that will definitely show some returns for you when it comes time to sell or trade,” DeLorenzo saidYou can follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter here for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.

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