Don’t Need Your Car? Now Is a Great Time to Sell it

Do you have an extra car sitting around that never gets driven? Or did the pandemic open up a work-from-home opportunity for you? In either case, you’ll be happy to know that it’s possibly a better time than ever to sell a used car.

It’s a seller’s market

A used car for sale parked on the street.
A used car for sale parked on the street. | Getty Images

As Covid-19 restrictions are starting to let up, auto manufacturing has resumed and many dealers have opened back up. There’s a demand for new cars, just as before, but the recent global chip shortage created a shortage in the new-car supply, which resulted in higher prices.

According to Cars.com, their data shows that the new-car inventory dropped more than 15% between February and April. This decrease in supply and increase in demand caused buyers to flock toward buying used cars, which means that it is currently a seller’s market.

How much more money can you get for your car?

A customer shops for a used vehicle at a CarMax dealership
A customer shops for a used vehicle at a CarMax dealership. | Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Before selling your car, it’s important to do as much research as possible in order to sell it for the best price possible. We recommend getting it appraised online at sites like Carvana, Vroom, and Carmax to get a good idea of your car’s trade-in offer. You can also lookup its value using KBB.com or Edmunds, but remember that those are merely guides and will show you a range of prices that you could sell your car for.

You can even peruse the classifieds on Craigslist and check out CarGurus to see what other dealers and sellers are listing the same year, make, and model for. With all of that data, you should be able to get a good idea of how much you can list your car for to get the best offers from buyers.

To illustrate an example of how much cars are currently appreciating in value, the editors at Car.com gave the example of trading in their own 2017 Chrysler Pacifica with 47,000 miles on the odometer. In December of 2020, they received a Carmax offer of $18,000 and just four months later, the offer jumped to $23,000 when they appraised it again with 5,000 more theoretical miles on it. So, the vehicle pricing increase is real.

Getting the most money for your car

A customer inspects a pre-owned Hyundai while shopping for a used vehicle at a CarMax dealership.
A customer inspects a pre-owned Hyundai while shopping for a used vehicle at a CarMax dealership. | Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

If you do plan to sell your extra car, then be sure to clean it thoroughly and take good pictures of it. At this point, it could be a good idea to get it professionally detailed, if you have the time and money, as you’ll likely make that money back in the sale.

Also, you can either sell the car via a private party sale or sell it to a dealership or used car dealer like Carmax for an easier experience. However, just remember to shop around for appraisal quotes from at least a few different dealers to make sure you’re getting the most money for your car. It could take a little time and effort, but now is a great time to sell your unneeded car for quite possibly the highest amount it will ever be valued. Just like the stock market, the current car selling market is a “buy low, sell high” type of deal.

RELATED: Can You Negotiate a Car’s Price at Carvana?