12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (2023)

Selling your car online — to buyers such as Vroom, Carvana, CarMax or a dozen other rivals that have sprung up — has emerged as a viable option for drivers interested in selling their car outright or valuing it as a trade-in.

With an internet connection and a few details about your vehicle, you could be fielding offers within minutes. Many online car-buying sites will even come to your home to pick up the car and hand you a check on the spot.

How to get offers online to sell your car

  • Enter the car’s 17-digit vehicle identification number or license plate number. Confirm the make, model, mileage, color and operating condition.

  • Answer detailed questions about the car’s condition and history. Has it been in an accident or flood? Does it have aftermarket modifications? Does it have scratches or dents?

  • Decide whether you are trading or simply selling. Most online car buyers also sell cars directly to consumers and say their trade-in price does not differ from their purchase price.

  • Disclose current loans or leases. Many, but not all, online car buying companies will buy a vehicle that you are still making payments on, and some will buy out a lease if the manufacturer allows it. Use an auto lease buyout calculator to see if the offer is fair. But if you owe more than the offer you receive, you must provide funds to make up the difference.

  • Provide photos of the vehicle or have a virtual meeting with a company representative. Some buyers may not ask for this step until you have accepted an initial offer.

Sell your car online

12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (1)

Key facts

  • Offers are good for seven days and non-negotiable.

  • Current loan or negative equity are OK.

  • Salvage titles or damaged cars are OK.

  • Vehicle inspections completed at CarMax stores.

Go to our CarMax review
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12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (2)

Key facts

  • Offers are good for 24 hours and are negotiable.

  • No charge to pick up your car.

  • Current loan or negative equity are OK.

  • Salvage titles or damaged cars are OK.

Go to our GivemetheVIN review

12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (3)

Key facts

  • No negotiations on sales or trade-in offers.

  • Offers are good for 7 days.

  • No free pickup outside local Carvana markets.

  • Leased cars, negative equity accepted.

Go to our Carvana review
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12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (4)

Key facts

  • Offers are good for 7 days and non-negotiable.

  • No charge to pick up your car.

  • Current loan or negative equity OK.

  • No leased cars; you’ll have to buy out the lease first.

Go to our Vroom review

12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (6)

Key facts

  • Specializes in older used or damaged vehicles.

  • Offers are good for seven days and are nonnegotiable.

  • No charge to pick up your car.

  • Does not buy vehicles with an active loan.

  • Salvage titles or scrap cars are OK.

Go to Our Peddle Review
(Video) How Do You Sell a Car Online With SnapAutos?

12 Options to Sell Your Car Online - NerdWallet (7)

Key facts

  • Offers are good for seven days or 250 additional miles.

  • No charge to pick up your car.

  • Current loan or negative equity are OK.

  • Does not accept salvage titles. Does not buy leased vehicles.

Go to our CarGurus Review

Other options for finding out what your car is worth:

  • Shift buys (and sells) cars online. It will both pick up and deliver. If you live in a Shift hub city, you can bring your car for an evaluation and receive a $300 bonus. Shift buys cars with loans and may make offers on leased vehicles. Offers are good for 7 days. On purchased vehicles, Shift offers free returns for 7 days. Shift can arrange financing as well. Watch for the Shift Service Fee added to the purchase price; it's often more than $1,000.

  • AutoNation buys cars through its extensive chain of new-car franchises but will make an offer online. You must deliver your vehicle to the store. Its new-car relationships with major manufacturers may allow it to buy out a leased car without penalties. Offers are good for 7 days and 500 miles.

  • Kelley Blue Book arranges instant cash offers through its network of partner dealers. Information is sent to nearby dealers for bids. Unlike Kelley Blue Book's widely known estimates of values, Instant Cash Offers are an offer to purchase. Dealers are free to adjust value if vehicles do not meet descriptions. Offers are good for 7 days, and you must take the vehicle to the purchasing dealer.

  • EquityHackr buys cars leased through Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, FIAT, Genesis, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, INFINITI, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI, Nissan, Porsche, Ram, Subaru, Toyota and Volkswagen. It consider bank leases on a case-by-case basis. Offers are good for 5 days and 250 miles. Pickup is available.

  • Driveway buys cars online; it also sells both new and used cars online. Pickup and delivery are available. Its purchase offers are good for 7 days. On vehicles it sells, Driveway offers free return or exchange for 7 days or 400 miles, minus shipping fees.

(Video) Find Your Car’s Value & Sell Your Car Online With SnapAutosA Skip the hassle. Not the money.

What to expect if you decide to sell

  • Most companies say their offer is good for seven days, but some want a response within 24 hours. You can always re-enter the car’s information and get a new offer.

  • The company will arrange to view the vehicle to inspect its condition. You may be asked to send photos or have a video call. Or a company representative may wait and inspect the vehicle at the pickup or drop-off time. If the vehicle’s condition is worse than you described, the company could change its offer.

  • A representative will email or call to arrange a time to either pick up the vehicle at your home or have you drop it off at a pickup point.

  • In most cases, fees are minimal. Some companies may charge an administrative fee, deducted from the offer price. The seller may also be charged if they back out of the signed sale agreement.

  • While each company handles title and registration paperwork in its own way, expect to upload copies of your registration, title and driver’s license to get the ball rolling. Sales contracts, odometer statements and power of attorney may arrive for electronic signature or through overnight mail.

  • Remove the license plates and clear the car of any personal items. Leave only the items that came with the car when you bought it, such as the car manual, keys and car mats.

  • Most companies will hand you a payment when they take the vehicle, typically via a check or a bank draft, which can take several days to clear. Some offer payment via direct deposit or even cash.

What to do after you sell your car online

  • Cancel your extended warranty, if you have one.

  • Cancel any GAP insurance.

  • Remove the car from your insurance. Once the car is picked up or dropped off, the online car company’s insurance is responsible for it.

  • Report the sale to your state’s registry of motor vehicles.

(Video) Find Your Car’s Value & Sell Your Car Online With SnapAutosA Simpler Way To Sell Your Car.

If your online offers don't meet your needs

Bear in mind that online retailers' offers may not always reflect what your car is worth; it's what these particular buyers are willing to pay at that moment. Their algorithms are willing to pay the most for cars that are easily resold and financed.

If you get an offer of $500 for a car you believe is worth $5,000, it's that retailer's way of telling you it does not want or need your car. This may happen more frequently with older cars, high mileage cars, cars with mechanical issues or salvage title cars. There are buyers for those cars, but they may not be, say, Carvana.

Consider selling viable used vehicles outright to other consumers via Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Among online retailers, look for offers from GiveMeTheVin, Peddle and ALgo.

FAQs

What is the best website to sell a used car? ›

Best Websites to Sell Your Car Online
  • AutoTrader.
  • eBay Motors.
  • Craigslist.
  • Cars.com.
  • Hemmings.
  • CarGurus.
  • 7. Facebook Marketplace.
  • TrueCar.

What is the most secure way to sell a car? ›

How do I conduct a secure transaction?
  • Take payment inside the walls of a bank - The safest place to exchange payment is at the buyer's bank. ...
  • Trade the title for the payment - Don't sign or hand over the vehicle title to the buyer until you've received the agreed-upon payment in full.

What is the best payment method when selling a car? ›

Safe Payment Options to use when Selling your Car
  • Bank payment. The most safe payment options is directly into your bank. ...
  • Cash. Cash is still king for many car sales. ...
  • Banker's or cashier's cheques. ...
  • Avoid escrow and other payment methods. ...
  • Don't be afraid to walk away.
29 Oct 2021

What is the best way to sell a high end car? ›

Sell to a dealer or online site

You can get instant offers from sites Vroom and Kelley Blue Book, or a local dealer, but consider luxury specialists like I Buy Luxury Cars, or We Buy Exotics if the vehicle is worth more than $100,000.

What is the safest way to sell a car online? ›

To sell your car safely and quickly online, Bowman offers these tips:
  1. Go where the serious car buyers are. ...
  2. VIN numbers reduce risk. ...
  3. Write an honest ad. ...
  4. Ask lots of questions. ...
  5. Don't get too personal. ...
  6. Get your paperwork ready. ...
  7. Meet in a public spot. ...
  8. Remove personal items.

Where is the safest place to sell a car? ›

It's an excellent deal for sellers too.
  • Kelley Blue Book and other car value providers quote both dealer and private salevalues. ...
  • Retail value is how much dealers want for the car. ...
  • Public libraries. ...
  • Large retailers. ...
  • Supermarkets. ...
  • Travel plazas. ...
  • Liquor Stores. ...
  • Mall parking lot.

How can I sell my car online without getting scammed? ›

Complete your transaction at the bank

The majority of scams occur through fake cashier and personal checks. If a buyer offers to write you a check, verify with their bank that they have available funds in their account for the transaction. Never sign over the title to your car until you have the cash in hand.

How do you protect yourself while selling a car? ›

7 Ways to Protect Yourself When Selling a Car
  1. Screen Callers Thoroughly.
  2. Take Precautions with the Test Drive.
  3. Ensure a Safe Transaction.
  4. Maintain a Paper Trail.
  5. Block Out Your Personal Information.
  6. Complete the Title Transfer.
  7. How to Avoid Scams and Fraud When Selling Your Car.

How can I avoid being scammed when selling a car privately? ›

Tips for avoiding scams when selling your car
  1. Meet with buyers in person, preferably with someone you trust. When you speak with someone online, they could be on the other side of town or the other side of the world. ...
  2. Only accept cash or certified checks. ...
  3. Consider an escrow account for out-of-area buyers.

What's the smartest way to pay off a car? ›

Refinancing — or just making extra payments — are the best ways to pay off your car loan faster. Even if it's just a few extra dollars a month, you will reduce your debt and may cut a few months out of your loan.

Should I accept a bank check for my car? ›

Never wire money to a potential buyer under any circumstances. If the buyer for your used car pays via a check or money order rather than cash, accept only the exact amount of the negotiated sale price for the vehicle.

What is the safest form of payment when selling something? ›

The most reliable way of accepting a payment when selling something online is cash. If the item is of significant value, a cashier's check should also suffice. To avoid confusion down the road, make it clear in your ad and in your conversations with a potential buyer that you will only accept cash.

What is the highest price a car has ever sold for? ›

The World's Most Expensive Car Just Sold for an All-Time Record of $142 Million. The sale places the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” in the top 10 most valuable items ever sold at auction in any collecting category.

What car has the highest trade in value? ›

2022 Best Resale Value: Cars
  • 2022 Honda Civic. Resale Value: 49.8% Type: Compact Car. ...
  • 2022 Honda Accord. Resale Value: 42.5% Type: Midsize Car. ...
  • 2022 Chevrolet Corvette. Resale Value: 59.5% Type: Sports Car. ...
  • 2022 Lexus IS. Resale Value: 39.0% Type: Entry-Level Luxury Car. ...
  • 2022 Lexus LS. Resale Value: 35.0% Type: Luxury Car.

What is the highest price ever paid for a car at auction? ›

A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé sold for $143 million at an auction in 2022 to become by far the most expensive car in the world. The previous two record holders were a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO and another 1962-3 Ferrari 250 GTO — the only two 250 GTOs offered a public auction for about a decade.

Is it better to keep a car or sell it? ›

Deciding to Sell or Store Depends on How Long and the Costs Involved. One of the first things you should consider is how long you will not be driving the car. If you're talking about a couple months, by all means store it, although it's always better for a car to be driven at least on a weekly basis.

Should you be honest when selling a car? ›

Keep in mind that you cannot mislead a buyer about issues with a car when selling, so be honest. “If you're selling a lemon privately, you should always be truthful.”

What does Curbstoning mean? ›

Curbstoning is selling a used vehicle under the pretense of being the car's owner when you aren't, in order to evade city or state regulations imposed on authorized automotive dealers (called “curbstoning” because the seller in these types of shady deals historically conducted the sale in a parking lot, or with the car ...

Can you get scammed selling a car on Facebook? ›

It's also a great resource for finding local used-car listings at affordable price points, as well as listing your own vehicle. However, scammers roam Facebook Marketplace both as buyers and sellers. Keep your guard up.

What to bring when you're selling your car? ›

What Documents do you Need to Sell a Car?
  • Title. ...
  • Bill of Sale. ...
  • Emissions Test Documentation. ...
  • Owner's Manual. ...
  • Warranty Documents. ...
  • Service Records.

Is it OK to give VIN number to potential buyer? ›

It is completely safe to give out your VIN (it is within plain sight, after all). Sharing your VIN when selling your car is critical to you getting the best value for your vehicle. Being transparent with buyers is how you get top dollar for your car and avoid any legal snafus in the future.

What do you do when you meet someone selling your car? ›

The 'meet and greet'

It goes without saying that you should accompany the prospective buyer on the test drive. Answer legitimate questions to the best of your ability, but if the buyer begins to tell you everything that's wrong with the car, recognise that he or she is setting up a negotiating position.

Can someone else sell my car without my permission? ›

It is illegal to sell someone else's property without their permission. That means it is a crime if someone tries to sell your vehicle without you saying that they can. It's a basic rule of law and ensures that people are less likely to get ripped off during and after a sale.

Can a private car buyer wants money back? ›

After a vehicle is sold from one private party to another, the buyer can ask for their money back, but the seller generally does not have to agree to cancel the sale, absent a warranty or fraud.

Why did my credit score drop after I paid off my car? ›

Lenders like to see a mix of both installment loans and revolving credit on your credit portfolio. So if you pay off a car loan and don't have any other installment loans, you might actually see that your credit score dropped because you now have only revolving debt.

Does paying off a car loan early hurt credit? ›

Paying off your car loan early can hurt your credit score. Any time you close a credit account, your score will fall by a few points. So, while it's normal, if you are on the edge between two categories, waiting to pay off your car loan may be a good idea if you need to maintain your score for other big purchases.

Does your car insurance go down when you pay off your car? ›

Car insurance premiums don't automatically go down when you pay off your car, but you can probably lower your premium by dropping coverage that's no longer required.

What is the safest way to receive money from a buyer? ›

What is the safest way to accept payment? Besides cash, a certified check is the safest way you can receive a payment to your business.

Is a cashier's check the best way to sell a car? ›

Personal and Cashier's Checks

Besides cash, a certified cashier's check is the most secure way to accept payment during a private sale.

What is the safest check to take? ›

Both cashier's checks and certified checks are official checks that are guaranteed by a bank. Compared to personal checks, cashier's checks and certified checks are generally viewed as more secure and less susceptible to fraud. However, it's important to be on the lookout for scams.

What should you not do when selling online? ›

5 Common Online Selling Mistakes to Avoid
  1. Mistake #1 – Offering Your Best-Selling Products on Marketplaces. ...
  2. Mistake #2 – Not Knowing Who You're Selling To. ...
  3. Mistake #3 – Overcomplicating the Checkout Process. ...
  4. Mistake #4 – Using Off-Site Payment Methods. ...
  5. Mistake #5 – Not Working on Your UX.

What should you not do when selling? ›

8 top home selling mistakes you should avoid
  1. Underestimating the costs of selling. ...
  2. Setting an unrealistic price. ...
  3. Only considering the highest offer. ...
  4. Ignoring major repairs and making costly renovations. ...
  5. Not preparing your home for sale. ...
  6. Choosing the wrong agent or the wrong way to sell. ...
  7. Limiting showings.

What to avoid in selling? ›

10 Sales Mistakes Reps Make Way Too Often (... And How to Avoid Them)
  • Not listening and talking too much. ...
  • Offering too much for nothing. ...
  • Not focusing on the solution. ...
  • Focusing on price not value. ...
  • Making promises you can't keep. ...
  • Not having an intention to close a sale. ...
  • Not being ready to overcome objections.
1 Feb 2021

What vehicles are increasing in value? ›

10 Vehicles That Will Increase in Value in 2022 According to...
  • 1965-1970 Cadillac DeVille (US$28,800) ...
  • 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino (US$365,800) ...
  • 1983-1997 Land Rover Defender (US$61,400) ...
  • 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 (US$17,600) ...
  • Mercedes-Benz 230SL 1963-1967 (80 500 $) ...
  • 1966-1967 Pontiac GTO ($US100,200)
23 Dec 2021

How much overpriced are cars right now? ›

The average price for new cars has increased slightly to $48,281 in October 2022, according to Kelley Blue Book. It is up $1,775 over the average price in October 2021. In some cases, you might think it's worth the extra money for your dream vehicle, even if it means greater depreciation over time.

What is the cheapest car in history? ›

India-based Tata Motors developed the Nano in 2008. The idea was to develop an extremely affordable car to offer to the billion or so people who live in India.

What car loses its value the most? ›

Vehicles that Depreciate the Most
Top 10 Vehicles With the Highest Depreciation – iSeeCars Study
RankVehicleAverage 5-Year Depreciation
1Nissan LEAF65.1%
2BMW i363.1%
3BMW 7 Series61.5%
8 more rows
30 Oct 2021

Which SUV holds the most value? ›

Jeep Wrangler: 74.2 Percent Resale Value. Toyota 4Runner: 63.4 Percent Resale Value. Ford Bronco Sport: 57.8 Percent Resale Value.

How can I increase my trade-in value on a car? ›

First, take steps to boost your car's trade-in value. These include researching your car's current value, fixing mechanical issues and making sure your car looks its best.
...
The Bankrate promise
  1. Do your homework. ...
  2. Take care of known mechanical problems. ...
  3. Make sure that your car looks its best. ...
  4. Shop around for trade-in value.
28 Oct 2022

What is the most popular car color? ›

America's Most Popular Car Colors (according to iSeeCars.Com) Grayscale colors (white, black, gray, and silver) represent a total of 78.5% of all vehicles on the road in the United States. White sits atop the list as the most popular choice.

What car sold for the most at auction? ›

The list of the ten most expensive cars sold at public auction in 2022 is led by a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé — the most valuable car in the world. It is followed by a 1955 Ferrari 410 Sport Spider that was raced by amongst others Juan Manuel Fangio, Phil Hill, and Carroll Shelby.

Why do most vehicles go to auction? ›

They may need a lot of repairs, come totaled, or have other issues. While they may sell, sometimes it's not worth the significant investment to fix them up. Instead, you can sell them at auction as-is to recoup some profit.

Is selling your car to a dealer a good idea? ›

It can be a good solution if you need quick cash to buy a new vehicle or an easy way to unload a used car without replacing it. When you sell a car to a dealership, the process is simpler than selling to a private party, but you'll likely get less for it than you would from a private party.

Which company pays most for used cars? ›

Regardless of the age of the vehicle, we again found that Carmax is the best bet for a seller looking to get top dollar. The difference in offers is particularly pronounced for vehicles produced in the last six years, as well as those from 2009 and earlier.

Will I get more money selling my car private or trading it in at the dealership? ›

Trading in

You will get less money than selling it yourself. At best, you should expect to get the vehicle's wholesale value. You can use the trade-in amount as the down payment on the new car. To get the best price, you will probably have to haggle with an experienced salesperson over the trade-in value.

Do you make more money selling used or new cars? ›

Generally, dealerships make the most money selling used cars. In a nutshell, there is a lot more variation among used cars than among new cars, making it harder for buyers to comparison shop and easier for dealerships to hide profit.

How much profit do dealers make on used cars? ›

Front-end gross profit is usually described as the difference between dealer invoice and the selling price. That percentage tends to be somewhere around 20%. If a vehicle was sold with a $1,000 front-end profit, the salesperson would earn somewhere around $200.

Who gives more money CarMax or Carvana? ›

In order to do this, they requested quotes for 100 different vehicles – with varying manufacturers, mileage, and age – and then compared the results. CarMax was the clear winner as their average offer was $13,902 which was $1,007 more than Carvana and $1,127 more than Vroom.

Where can I get the top dollar for my car? ›

Top 14 Places to Sell A Car Online for Top Dollar
  1. Autotrader. The oldest and longest standing online marketplace to sell your car is Autotrader. ...
  2. CarGurus. ...
  3. eBay Motors. ...
  4. Cars.com. ...
  5. 5. Facebook Marketplace. ...
  6. Carvana. ...
  7. CarMax. ...
  8. Hemmings.

What used car sells the most? ›

No surprises here.
Most popular used vehicles in the United States (2021)
RankVehicleShare of used car sales
1Ford F-1503.6%
2Chevrolet Silverado 15002.6%
3Ram 15002.4%
7 more rows
6 Jan 2022

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