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Selling Your Car Privately Versus Trading It In: Why Trade-Ins Make Sense

If you’re ready to upgrade your car, you have two main choices for your current vehicle: sell it privately or trade-in at a dealership. While many advocates for selling your car directly to another driver will point out that you may make more money with this option, there are some clear advantages to trading in your car instead.

Before you make your decision, let’s look at some of the main reasons why you may want to decide to trade in your car.

Additional Down Payment

When you trade in your car, its value goes toward your down payment. This means that you’ll need to come up with less money upfront to satisfy loan requirements and it also means you’ll need a smaller loan, so you’ll pay less in interest over time.

Because of the difference it can make for your loan, trading in your car actually might be a smarter financial decision, even if you can get more money upfront by selling privately.

Of course, you could sell your car privately and simply use that money as a down payment, but there are other advantages to trade-ins as well!Greensboro Car Dealerships


When you trade in your car, you simply drive it to the dealership, negotiate the price, and hand over the title. Things get a little more complicated when you sell your car privately. First, you have to advertise it.

There are free options like Craigslist, but depending on your car and asking price, you may not get much interest unless you also advertise in the newspaper or other fee-based services.

Then, you have to meet prospective buyers. Often, you’ll need to meet several before someone will make you an offer you’re willing to accept. Once you have an offer on the table, you need to figure out payment with the buyer and transfer the title, which may or may not be clear depending on your loan situation. It takes a lot more time to sell privately.

No Legal or Security Risks

Selling your car privately can also be dangerous. You’re negotiating with strangers, and if you live somewhere rural and secluded, it may not be safe to have them come to your home.

Even so, you’ll need to give the person a chance to test drive the vehicle, so you’ll be getting into a car with a driver you don’t know. Outside of personal security risks, you could also face legal risks.

Even if you sign a contract noting that it is an as-is sale, the buyer could come after you in court if the car later breaks down or they feel as though you misrepresented something about the car.

You might win the case easily, but you still have to take the time to go to court. Trading in your car is not only safe, but you also don’t have to worry about a disgruntled customer suing you.

Want a great trade-in experience from start to finish? Bring your car to Peters Auto Mall today. We’ll walk you through the entire process and give you a fair price so you can upgrade to the car of your dreams.