Jessica Wrubel | 

Where Can I Sell My Car for the Most Money?

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Maybe you’re looking to make a little extra cash and have a car taking up space in your driveway. Or perhaps you’re moving and don’t want to take an existing vehicle with you. No matter the reason, there are many options these days for selling a car for a considerable amount of money.

Online dealerships, private selling, and physical dealerships are the most popular ways to sell. There are pros and cons of each, though, and there are tips and tricks to getting the most cash out of your sale.

Before getting started with any of the following options, consider this easy first step. This is making sure your car is in tip-top condition. Get an oil change, wash, and fluid refill. If you want to go the extra mile, a car detail isn’t a bad idea if you’re looking to get top dollar. Additionally, make sure you have the title ready to sign over to the new buyer, as well as any maintenance records or receipts for repairs. Prospective buyers will want to see this history.

Moreover, make sure to check your state’s department of motor vehicle website. It will let you know if you have all the necessary forms (such as a bill of sale) in hand in order to sell. Once you have all the paperwork (and you’ve made copies of everything) you’ll be ready to sell your car for cash, fast!

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Selling a car through online dealerships.

Couple car shopping via a tablet

A quick internet search for online dealerships provides a lot of results. The process here is usually quick and easy. Based on whether or not the site charges for a listing, you can make a comparable amount of money using online dealerships. Most are based off the Kelley Blue Book value of your car. The amount you get is the base value, plus the condition, accident history, and mileage, among other things. With many online dealerships, you answer a few questions online (even from your phone). They give a quote for your car within minutes, then can schedule pickup or delivery if you accept.


Try These Online Dealerships:

  • Answer a few questions about your car before scheduling an inspection time. The website will then plan a time to pick up the car from your driveway and pay you on the spot. also offers sellers the option to sell privately through a free ad on their website.
  • Autotrader: Autotrader operates a bit differently. For $49 per ad, they walk you through the process of a listing, from start to finish. They help you set an appropriate price for your car, assist with fraud prevention, and include a vehicle history report and extension of your ad for free.
  • Carvana: Free to use, Carvana is similar to The difference is they give you the option to trade in your car for a different one, as well as the option to sell. They’ll give you a quote for your car in two minutes (with the offer being good for seven days if you need to think about it). Next, expect them to provide a quick on-site review of the car. Then they’ll either cut you a check or give you the keys to your new car. There are options for both drop-off and pickup of the car as well.
  • Bring A Trailer: You can submit your car to an auction manager on their website who will review your submission and get back to you within two business days. If they accept your car for auction, you pay the listing fee of $99. Next, an auction specialist will be assigned to you. They’ll assemble your listing based on the information you provided. If you have chosen their Plus photo service (for an additional $250), they’ll send a photographer to take photos of your car. There are no other seller fees on BaT. Keep in mind, though, that if your car doesn’t sell the first time around, the website will not allow you to re-list it.
  • Carmax: Carmax works like Carvana, with firm offers (read: no haggling) good for seven days once you submit info on your car. Carmax offers sellers the option of making an appointment to sell a car, too. Note that Carmax will only pick it up from your driveway in select markets; otherwise, you’ll have to deliver it. Carmax also pays out the same day you sell it with a bank draft. Leased cars are also welcome, with Carmax helping to walk you through the process.
  • CarGurus: Founded by one of the co-founders of TripAdvisor, this site lets you sell your car in a way similar to and Carvana, by plugging in info and getting a quote from their network of dealers. If it’s accepted, you’ll get payment within two days. It’s important to note that CarGurus does not buy leased vehicles. CarGurus also gives you the option to list the car yourself for a flat fee of $4.95.
  • Shift: This website takes care of everything for you — even the paperwork at the DMV! Using the website’s estimator, find out how much your car is worth and schedule an appointment to have your car evaluated. After the offer is finalized, a direct transfer to your bank account is processed (usually in three to seven business days).
  • Carvio: Carvio has a similar process but says they pay up to 30% more than other online car companies. They also have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, which is reassuring. Another bonus is they charge nothing for a listing and accept cars even if they’re not running or are damaged in some way.

Related: Things to Sell to Make Money



Private Selling

Person on

Typically you’ll make the most money selling a car to a private party. The caveat here is it may take some time, certainly longer than the online dealerships. Looking up your car’s value on Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds with the vehicle identification number (VIN) is the first step. This offers a ballpark idea of how to price it. Make sure you have multiple high-quality pictures of your car, inside and out. Pictures, when dealing with a private sale, can never be too detailed, and there can never be too many. Remember to take pictures of any scratches, scuffs, or dents as well. Potential buyers will appreciate being up front about any damages.

Popular places to advertise a private sale include eBay Motors, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. Include contact information in your listing that’s up to date and accurate. Be prompt with replies and schedule test drives with potential buyers, making sure to have room in your schedule to accommodate numerous meet-ups.

When conducting a money exchange, it’s a good idea to use an app that offers protection. This way you’re not out a car and a significant amount of money should something go awry. A private sale is the most time-consuming option for selling a car but the most profitable in the end. Why? There isn’t a third party taking a cut of the sale. If you’re not in a huge hurry, this could be the option for you.


Physical Dealerships

Person trying out a new car while speaking to a car salesman

Physical dealerships are convenient and provide consumers a way to sell their car easily without the hassle of doing it themselves. When you go to a dealership, you can sometimes use the trade-in value and apply it toward a new car. However, keep in mind that you may get a little less for your car since dealerships will want to make a profit on your sale.

If you have the time and want to get the most money from your sale, consider shopping it around to different dealerships. Also, be sure to use the dealership for all that it’s worth. They handle the DMV, title, and lien paperwork and also work with you on any outstanding loans you have.

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