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Sell car privately or to dealer?
Old 11-24-2015, 08:26 AM   #1
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Sell car privately or to dealer?

I've never sold a car as a private sale, but it sounds like a pain albeit with a higher sales price than selling direct to a dealer. We want to sell DW's Cadillac CTS as we move to a 1-car, 1- golf car HH.
Her caddy is a 2010, clean and only 12,800 miles. She hasn't put 1,000 miles on it this year so it's outta here.
Any tips on selling to a private party? Sales tax- who pays? Advertising? Pricing? Kelly, Edmunds suggest I can get 1k 1.5k more selling privately.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:33 AM   #2
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I would sell to a private owner. I got about 40% more from a private owner than I was quoted by CarMAx. Google how to sell a car - it may be different from state to state. Definitely have a Bill of Sale. I think I sold my last one through Autotrader online.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:33 AM   #3
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You have a nice car......if you were trading it in, I'd sell to the dealer since in most States you pay sales tax on the difference. I'd let your friends know its for sale, someone will probably pay a little extra knowing how well it has been kept. And, hopefully, you have maintenance records and some warranty left. Good luck.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:35 AM   #4
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You will for sure get more money selling privately to an individual versus a dealer. Is it worth the hassle to you? (It would be to me.)

Put an ad in your local newspaper to start. Another option is to take some pictures and put it in AutoTrader.com. Craigslist.com is another place to list for free, but the individuals can sometimes be a hassle from there.

You can sign into Edmunds.com, NADA.com or KBB.com to come up with a fair price--adding and subtracting for options and low miles. The NADA "trade" price would be the lowest price to take. The NADA "retail" price is the highest. Price it fairly and you'll sell it the fastest.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:43 AM   #5
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It can be a hassle and a risk, but you usually come out ahead doing a private sale. Or transfer the risk to the dealer but at a price. I've done both. One vehicle sold in a day, another went several months and had to reduce the price (and I may have been better off trading it in).
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:45 AM   #6
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Selling to a private individual wasnt worth it to me when I was working because you have to be ready to show it to people whenever its convenient to them, but now that Im retired I would never trade a car in or sell it to CarMax. For a newer more expensive used car like you have you will easily get more than $1K-$1500 more selling to an individual.

Back in July I sold a 2006 Honda Accord for $7000 to an individual. CarMax offered me $5000.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:48 AM   #7
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I've never traded in because the dealers have always offered crappy prices. It's pretty easy.
- Advertise on Craigslist.
- Require cash for payment, but be willing to go to their bank with them to get cash/cashiers check drawn from their account.
- Make sure you file the appropriate paperwork showing you sold it. (In CA there's a downloadable form from the DMV site). This is important because if they don't register it in their name, parking tickets they rack up are on YOU. (Happened to a nephew.)
- If you're aa AAA member you can often do the registration paperwork at their- that way you know they are registering it in their name.
- If you have written maintenance records, that helps with the sale.

I keep my cars forever - but over the decades have sold 3 cars and 1 motorcycle. Plus helped nephew sell the car that had the sketchy buyer that didn't register it. (Learned from that.)
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:50 AM   #8
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The only experience I had was pre "Carmax" and internet.

It was way more of a hassle that it was worth. Now with those and other tools I possibly would give it a try again.

How much of a difference do you expect. for me if it's only a couple of hundred or even a thousand, I'm taking the simplest route available (dealer). any more than that I may try it privately
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:51 AM   #9
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I've never traded in because the dealers have always offered crappy prices. It's pretty easy.
- Advertise on Craigslist.
- Require cash for payment, but be willing to go to their bank with them to get cash/cashiers check drawn from their account.
- Make sure you file the appropriate paperwork showing you sold it. (In CA there's a downloadable form from the DMV site). This is important because if they don't register it in their name, parking tickets they rack up are on YOU. (Happened to a nephew.)
- If you're aa AAA member you can often do the registration paperwork at their- that way you know they are registering it in their name.
- If you have written maintenance records, that helps with the sale.

I keep my cars forever - but over the decades have sold 3 cars and 1 motorcycle. Plus helped nephew sell the car that had the sketchy buyer that didn't register it. (Learned from that.)
One thing to add to this list.

If you have a tolltag (or whatever your state calls it), get your sticker off the window and call the toll authority to let them know you no longer own the car. Otherwise you will continue racking up tolls.
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Old 11-24-2015, 08:51 AM   #10
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I advertise on Cars.com and sell to an individual. In MI they pay tax when the license it.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:02 AM   #11
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I've sold cars privately several times, the most recent about a month ago. Pretty easy and in the most recent case I sold it for 40% more than what the dealer offered me in trade.

I put in an ad on Craigslist and someone three hours away responded. It was a bit of luck. He had the same vehicle that had been hit in an accident The vehicle is a bit of a niche vehicle that is no longer made but not particularly rare that has a small circle of enthusiasts. He drove up and we met at my bank. We went for a test drive and he inspected the car... made me an offer... I countered and we had a deal. We walked into the bank, he handed me cash and I deposited it and then signed the bill of sale (one for him, one for me) and we went our separate ways. Easy.

In my state, the buyer pays the tax. I have a car on order but will get a credit for 6% of the sale price towards the tax I pay on the new car, so not only did I get 40% more, I also get a larger tax credit.

For pricing, I poll all the online pricing services, but prefer Black Book Weekly Values Lite
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:04 AM   #12
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If you have the time, then I would do a private sale. You will most likely make a little more money on the deal. The biggest downside to that is you will get the "tire kickers" that will waste your time. When we sold the DW's Honda Accord (I regret that day...I loved that car and it was in GREAT condition), we had about 10 calls in the first day (Auto Trader). I met 4 before I got a serious buyer. The second "buyer" was the worst; after taking it for a test ride and spending about an hour looking over the spotless car (that had a dealer warranty for another 18,000 miles) they decided they would buy it, but wanted me to lie about the selling price. I told them that I would NOT do that as it's against the law and besides, the state of Texas doesn't care what $$$ you put on the title, they are going to tax you on the book value of the car. They couldn't seem to understand that and wanted to argue about it. Anyway, the guy who finally bought it met me at a gas station, took it for a 5 minute ride and then we went to his bank and got me the certified funds. Done and done. It took less than an hour.

Moral of the story? Avoid the folks that ask 142 questions on a car that's fairly new with low miles...there aren't that many questions to ask.

Also, some states have a form (or can be done online) that you can submit to show that the vehicle has been sold. This helps alleviate any issues with tickets, liability, etc. As an aside, we sold a boat in Texas before moving to Georgia. I reported the sale to the state and didn't think anything about it until about 2 years later when a someone called about getting a bill of sale. Come to find out, the buyers never had the boat registration and title put in their name and it was out cruising around in my name the entire time (the registration was fairly new when we sold it and the sticker had 2 good years left on it). Anyway, they sold the boat and the new (3rd owners) couldn't register or title the boat since there was a hold on it from the state from my "Hey, I sold this boat" notification. I called Texas to see that to do and they said that I could either, A) go get my boat back since it was never registered or, 2) do an affidavit so the newest "possessors" could gain good title on it. What did I do, you ask? Well, I got my boat back for FREE...geez!

OK...I didn't do that. Some people may say I am an azz, but even I am not THAT big of an azz.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:05 AM   #13
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I advertise on Cars.com and sell to an individual. In MI they pay tax when the license it.

As a buyer, that is the site I used to look for the specific vehicle I wanted. Ironically I flew to MI to purchase it and drove it home. It was a dealer that advertised it there though. As for OP, since it is a very low mileage car and a Caddy, it would seem worth the effort to make a few more bucks to advertise. Personally, I would keep to better selling sites to lesson possibility of dealing with people you do not want to deal with.


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Old 11-24-2015, 09:07 AM   #14
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....... Personally, I would keep to better selling sites to lesson possibility of dealing with people you do not want to deal with............
Yea, Craigslist has more bottom feeders.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:10 AM   #15
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Yea, Craigslist has more bottom feeders.
For sure. Craigslist isn't bad for smaller items, but for cars, etc. I would avoid it like the plague. You'll still get scammers (like the relisting folks) on the car-specific websites but it's not as bad. Another idea is maybe a Cadillac specific forum. That would probably be more useful if you had something like a CTS-V but could still be a decent place to sell a clean low mileage Caddy.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:14 AM   #16
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One thing to add to this list.

If you have a tolltag (or whatever your state calls it), get your sticker off the window and call the toll authority to let them know you no longer own the car. Otherwise you will continue racking up tolls.
In Texas, even without the tag, you'll continue to get billed for tolls until the new owner registers the vehicle in their name. The toll authority will only remove the tolls from your account if you've filed the proper vehicle transfer notification form with the state DMV.

I sold a car in a private transaction recently, and in addition to tolls, I also got a red-light camera citation in the mail. Once again, the vehicle transfer notification form was all they needed to remove the citation from my name.
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Old 11-24-2015, 09:34 AM   #17
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Yea, Craigslist has more bottom feeders.

You said it, not me! But I have never heard the term "Cars.com Killers" being used either.


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Old 11-24-2015, 09:55 AM   #18
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In Texas, even without the tag, you'll continue to get billed for tolls until the new owner registers the vehicle in their name. The toll authority will only remove the tolls from your account if you've filed the proper vehicle transfer notification form with the state DMV.

I sold a car in a private transaction recently, and in addition to tolls, I also got a red-light camera citation in the mail. Once again, the vehicle transfer notification form was all they needed to remove the citation from my name.
Yes, when I said "let the toll authority know", I meant by filling out the vehicle transfer notification form, but I didnt say that because the process is probably different in every state..
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:39 AM   #19
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We sold our car recently to a co-worker. I advertised it on a sales website at work, and had about 12 emails (we were asking a very reasonable price).

We eliminated several buyers right away b/c they asked too many picky questions and sounded like PITAs. As opposed to the folks who clearly wanted the car the moment they saw its photos.

The funniest question (to me) was: "And lastly, why are you selling the car?"

My response: "Why does anybody sell a car? We bought a new car, that's why."
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Old 11-24-2015, 11:45 AM   #20
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There could be numerous reasons why one sells a car... I don't see it as a funny question at all. We sold ours because our needs changed and we needed something bigger. While I doubt that someone would tell a buyer that they are selling because they have had too many problems with the car they are selling, that would also be a common motivation. In other cases,perhaps the seller moved to a community that allows golf carts on streets and no longer need to have two cars.
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