Should you sell your car to a dealer?

Rapid Finance on 20 February 2017

Private sales or dealerships. Which is best? It depends on you.

Whether or not you should sell your car to a dealer depends on you and your needs.

Selling your car to a dealer has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. As does selling your car privately. Which will be right for you will depend on your priorities.

Broadly speaking, the easiest and most convenient option is to sell your car to a dealer. However, you can expect more money from the sale when you list your vehicle privately.

Here's what you need to know when considering private sales or dealerships.

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The benefits of dealerships

Selling your car to a dealership is all about convenience.

When you sell your car to a dealer, you don't have to advertise the vehicle. Or have strangers come over to inspect it. Or leave your car on the side of the road, hoping for passersby to take an interest.

With a dealer you can:

  • Sell much more quickly, often the same day
  • Not worry about advertising, inspections, etc.
  • Sell with scuffs and minor cosmetic damage
  • Not worry about providing a Roadworthy Certificate (RWC)

There are some cost savings when you sell your car to a dealer. These savings include not having to pay for advertising and not having to pay for an RWC.

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The drawbacks of dealerships

The drawback with dealerships is that overall, you're going to get less money for your car. Potentially, 1 - 2 thousand dollars less, maybe more. And that's the rub.

It's much more convenient to drive your car to a dealer and simply sell it there. It's fast, easy and usually hassle-free. However, you'll pay for that convenience with your sale price.

You'll also need to do some research before you sell your car to a dealer

Your sale price will typically be higher if you choose a dealer who prefers to stock your type of vehicle.

For example, if you're selling an Audi, you may get a higher price at an Audi dealership than a car yard that specialises in cheap and cheerful. So, you may have to do some driving around to get the best price.

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The benefits of the private sale

The good news is that it's never been easier to sell your car. So, whether you choose private sales or dealerships, it's not nearly as difficult as it used to be.

Today, when selling your car, you can choose from:

  • Car sale websites such as Carsales and Carsguide
  • Buy/sell websites like Gumtree and eBay
  • The classifieds in your local newspaper
  • Simply putting a sign on the windshield

That said, all of these methods boil down to essentially the same thing; putting your car out there with a phone number attached, and then waiting for the calls to come in.

You may need to haggle, many private buyers expect a bit of back and forth over the price, but in most cases, you will get a higher selling price than if you'd sold to a dealer.

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The drawbacks of a private sale

Selling your car, online or in the classifieds, can take time. It could be a day, a week or several months, depending on how flexible you are with price.

You'll also need to arrange for people to come out and inspect the vehicle. This can be a pain, particularly if you have a busy lifestyle or if you just love uninterrupted weekends.

Additionally, in some Australian states, you'll need to get an RWC before you can transfer ownership of the vehicle, and depending on the condition of your car, this can add a number of extra costs.

Finally, you'll have to be comfortable with strangers coming to your home and then allowing them to take a test drive. This won't be a problem for most, but it is worth considering for some.

Summing up

As we said in the opening of this piece, when choosing between private sales or dealerships, the choice comes down to your situation and your priorities.

If you want to sell your car quickly and with a minimum of fuss then you should sell your car to a dealer.

However, if you have the time and are willing to put in the effort, selling your car privately will typically leave you with more money in your pocket.

"Private sales or dealerships, the choice comes down to your situation and your priorities."

About the author

At Rapid Finance, we are your car loan specialists. If you're looking to trade up or even if you're buying a car for the first time, we could help you to find the right car loan for your circumstances.

We've been finding finance for Australians for more than 17 years, and over that time we've built our reputation on tailored solutions and exceptional customer service.

Learn more on our car loans page or call 1300 467 274