Choosing to upgrade your current ride with a newer one is never an easy decision. You not only have to figure out what type of car you want, but you also have to decide if you want to trade in your current vehicle or sell it yourself. If you choose to list your car as “for sale by owner,” you need to figure out the best times to sell your car.
What kind of vehicle are you selling?
The type of car you’re selling plays a huge role in the time of year you should sell it. Four-wheel-drive pickup trucks generally sell best in the winter and fall months. People are looking for a vehicle they can use to plow, and they seek more control on slippery roads.
If you’re selling a convertible or sports car, you should hang on to it until warmer spring months. The warmer weather encourages people to take long drives. They like the ability to put the top down and aren’t going to spend too much time thinking about how much it costs to store a convertible during the winter.
Other vehicles, often referred to as commuter vehicles, generally sell best in the middle of summer and the middle of winter, though there’s usually a market for them year-round.
What’s the condition of your vehicle?
The condition of your vehicle also impacts selling times. Vehicles with a lot of miles, rust, or previous accidents sell faster in November and December. Drivers like to use these “winter beaters” instead of their nice vehicles while the roads are bad. Buyers don’t care if an older car gets damaged or what road salt does to its exterior.
Commuter vehicles that are in good physical shape and are mechanically sound sell quickly during the summer months, especially if you sell at a price that appeals to a college-bound driver’s budget.
Take advantage of holidays
The holiday season is a good time to market a used car. During this time of year, people often get cash gifts that they put toward the purchase of a car. It’s also the time of year when many parents gift their teens a used vehicle. Another great time to market your car is late winter when drivers are trying to decide how to spend tax refunds.
Monitor fuel prices
The price of fuel can significantly impact when you should sell your car. If the gas prices are high, you should hold off on marketing your used sport, luxury, or towing car. On the other hand, gas-sipping vehicles seldom sell quickly while fuel prices are low.
What are the current interest rates?
The higher the interest rates, the more consumers shop for low-priced vehicles. When the interest rates are low, they’re more likely to purchase a gently used luxury or sports car.
Once you choose the best time to sell, you need to focus on the actual task of marketing. Set a price that’s competitive to similar vehicles on the market in your area. Thoroughly clean the vehicle, get several nice pictures, track down your maintenance/repair records, and post the vehicle on Craigslist and other local sites. Once you’ve done this, it shouldn’t take long for your vehicle to find a new driver who loves it as much as you did.