Image: Frank Ling

There’s a reason why sales people want to know if you’ve got a car trade-in when considering purchasing a car from them—profits. While the margins on new cars can sometimes be slim, reselling used cars can often give better yields for making money.

Although it may appear that trading in your car for credit towards a new one is sound, the reality of the situation is that you will never get Kelly Blue Book prices from car dealerships. Those prices are what cars are going for when sellers sell to other people—not from car dealers.

If you have a car that you want to trade in, you don’t have to do this with the car dealership, you can take matters into your own hands and try to sell it directly to the public where you’ll receive more money for it. It may take a bit of work and time, but you’ll come out ahead.

Sell It to a Used Car Lot

Part of the difficulty of squeezing out a deal with a car business is the time and effort that can be wasted in haggling for a good deal. If you add the car trade-in value, it can get more complicated.

Some unscrupulous car dealers may offer you a Kelly Blue Book price for your car, and may even give you more than its trade-in value, but don’t believe it. Car dealers are in business to make money and can’t possibly buy a car at the price it will be sold at.

To compensate for the big car trade-in offer, they’ll adjust the price of the car up or increase the finance charges to make up for their generous trade-in offer to you.

To avoid this trickery and hassle, you may want to consider selling your car to a used car lot. They won’t give you Kelly Blue Book prices either, but you’ll save yourself from being taken advantage of by some dishonest car salespeople.

But since you’re going to a used car lot, keep your radar up to make sure you get a reasonable offer by checking what the Blue Book value of your car is.

Sell It Through Consignment

Selling something on consignment means you are asking someone else to act as your agent to sell it. Once it is sold, the seller takes a fee for the service and hands you the rest of the purchase price.

You may find these businesses under the heading of “Automobile Dealers – Used” in the phone book.

You may want to check the reputation of the businesses you are interested in on the Internet to see if they are upfront and honest in their dealings. Try Yelp or some other review site for this information.

Donate It to Charity

Some people prefer to choose the option of just donating their cars to charity. These institutions will usually tow your car away for free, and write you a receipt for the going value of your car for tax purposes.


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