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July 21, 2023

Selling Your Car? Here Are the Best Places to Sell: A Comprehensive Guide

Selling your car can be daunting, especially when navigating a sea of options and searching for the best platforms to connect with potential buyers.

Cartoon of selling a car
Written by

Jennifer Moore

Whether you're looking to upgrade, downsize, or recover from a fender bender, finding the right place to sell your car is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we'll take you through various online platforms and local selling methods, providing valuable insights to help you make an informed decision and ensure a smooth selling experience.

Where can I sell my car online?

The digital landscape has revolutionized the way we buy and sell vehicles. As over 86% of Americans own mobile devices, and our smartphones have become a way of life, online platforms make reaching potential buyers from the comfort of our homes easy. 

If you're contemplating selling your car, harnessing the power of these platforms can be a game-changer. From nationwide marketplaces to specialized platforms, we've compiled a list of some of the best car-selling websites for selling your car, including Craiglist, eBay Motors, CarGurus, Kelley Blue Book, We Buy Any Car, and Carvana, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. So if you are looking for where to sell used cars, these are great options.

Craigslist (Craigscars.com)

  • Advantages—Craigslist boasts a massive user base and allows you to reach local buyers directly. It's free to use, making it a budget-friendly option for sellers.
  • Disadvantages—Dealing with potential scams or unreliable buyers can be a concern on Craigslist. Additionally, the lack of robust buyer verification systems may require extra caution during transactions.

eBay Motors

  • Advantages—With its vast reach, eBay Motors connects sellers with a large audience. The platform offers extensive listing options, including auctions and "Buy It Now" formats.
  • Disadvantages—Transaction fees on eBay Motors can impact your final sale price, and competition from other sellers may affect your listing's visibility.


  • Advantages—CarGurus specializes in automotive listings, attracting a focused audience of car shoppers. The platform provides tools to assess your car's market value and gauge buyer interest.
  • Disadvantages—While CarGurus offers a free basic listing, certain features, such as promoting your listing, come with a cost.

Kelley Blue Book

  • Advantages—Selling your car for cash through Kelley Blue Book offers the advantage of leveraging a trusted and well-established automotive resource. Their platform provides a streamlined process for selling your car quickly and conveniently.
  • Disadvantages—The offers from Kelley Blue Book may not always be as high as what you could potentially get through private sales. Be sure to compare their offer with other selling options to ensure you get a fair vehicle price.


  • Advantages—Carvana offers a hassle-free online car buying experience for both buyers and sellers. They provide free vehicle pickup and handle the paperwork, making it convenient for sellers. Additionally, Carvana has a wide reach and a user-friendly website.
  • Disadvantages—The convenience of Carvana's services may come at a cost, as their purchase offers may be slightly lower than what you could get from a private sale. Be sure to compare their offer with other selling options to ensure you get a fair vehicle price.

We Buy Any Car

  • Advantages—We Buy Any Car offers a quick and hassle-free selling process. They provide a straightforward online valuation tool that gives you an instant offer for your car. Their service includes free vehicle inspection and handling of the paperwork, making it convenient for sellers looking for a fast transaction.
  • Disadvantages—The offer from We Buy Any Car may not always be as high as what you could potentially get through private sales or other online platforms. Compare their offer with other selling options to ensure you get a fair price on your used car.

Effective listings are crucial because they serve as potential buyers' first impressions of your car. A well-crafted and detailed listing captures attention and builds trust, increasing the likelihood of attracting serious buyers. Consider these tips:

  • Provide detailed and accurate information about your car, including its make, model, year, mileage, condition, and notable features or upgrades.
  • Capture high-quality photos from different angles, showcasing the exterior, interior, and essential components.
  • Set a competitive yet realistic price based on market research.
  • Craft a compelling description highlighting the car's key selling points, such as its performance, fuel efficiency, safety features, or maintenance history.
  • Be responsive and proactive in communicating with potential buyers, promptly addressing inquiries, and scheduling viewings or test drives.

Exploring local selling options 

While online platforms offer convenience and wide reach, there are instances where a localized approach can complement or even surpass the online route. Whether you prefer a more personal touch, want to target a specific local audience, or seek opportunities to engage with car enthusiasts in your community, exploring local selling options can be a fruitful strategy. 

Here are a few avenues to consider:

Utilizing classifieds and local newspapers

Placing an ad in classified sections of local newspapers or online classified websites specific to your region can help you connect with potential buyers in your immediate vicinity. This approach can be particularly effective for reaching buyers who prefer local transactions or are actively searching for vehicles within a specific area.

Community bulletin boards and local car clubs

Community bulletin boards, such as those found in grocery stores, community centers, or libraries, allow you to showcase your car to local residents. Additionally, reaching out to local car clubs and attending their gatherings or events can expose your vehicle to a targeted audience of car enthusiasts interested in purchasing or know someone who is.

Hosting a yard sale or participating in local car shows

Consider hosting a yard sale and displaying your car alongside other items you're selling (or ask to show your car at the sale of a friend or family member). This can attract potential buyers who stumble upon your sale or are specifically looking for used cars in the area. Additionally, participating in local car shows or events can offer a platform to showcase your vehicle to a captive audience of car enthusiasts actively seeking unique and well-maintained cars.

Expert tips for selling your car successfully 

When selling your car, a little preparation can go a long way in attracting potential buyers and maximizing your chances of a successful sale. By following these expert tips, you can ensure a smooth selling process and increase the appeal of your car to prospective buyers.

  • Preparing your car for sale—Before listing your car, give it a thorough cleaning both inside and out. A clean and well-maintained vehicle creates a positive impression and signals to buyers that it has been cared for. Address any necessary repairs or maintenance tasks to enhance its overall condition.
  • Setting a competitive price based on market research—Conducting market research is crucial to determining your car's competitive and realistic price. Utilize resources such as the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) to gain insights into pricing trends and factors that can impact the value of your vehicle.
  • Creating appealing listings with high-quality photos and detailed descriptions—Invest time crafting appealing online listings. Include high-quality photos that showcase your car from various angles, highlighting its key features. Write detailed descriptions that accurately depict your car's condition, maintenance history, noteworthy attributes.

A couple agreeing to sell a car

Selling to dealerships 

If the prospect of navigating online platforms or local selling options feels overwhelming, selling your car to a dealership can provide a convenient alternative. According to Automotive News, in 2022, out of the 36.2 million used cars sold, approximately 19.1 million were sold through retailers. As such, selling your car to a dealership is a popular option. 

While there are pros and cons to consider, selling to a dealership can offer simplicity and speed in the selling process.

Pros of selling to dealerships

  • Convenience and speed—Selling to a dealership can be a hassle-free experience, as they handle paperwork and streamline the selling process. It saves you from the effort of advertising, negotiating with individual buyers, and arranging test drives.
  • Trade-in opportunities—Dealerships often offer trade-in options, allowing you to apply the value of your current vehicle towards purchasing a new one. This can simplify the car transition and save you time and effort.

Cons of selling to dealerships

  • Lower offers—Dealerships aim to make a profit, so their offers for your vehicle may be lower than selling directly to a private buyer.
  • Limited negotiation power—While negotiation is possible, dealerships may have more leverage during the process. It's important to be aware of the fair market value of your car and be prepared to negotiate effectively.

Negotiating a fair deal and maximizing your trade-in value is key when selling to a dealership. Research the market value of your car using tools like the Kelley Blue Book or other reputable sources. Be prepared to negotiate the price and consider obtaining multiple offers to compare. Additionally, present your car in the best possible condition by cleaning it thoroughly and addressing any minor repairs or maintenance tasks.

When dealing with dealerships, thoroughly understand the trade-in process and value your vehicle independently. Familiarize yourself with the dealership's reputation and customer reviews to gauge their trustworthiness. It's also wise to separate the negotiation for the sale of your car from the purchase of a new vehicle, as combining the two can potentially cloud the negotiation process.

Private party sales

Selling your used car through a private party can be a viable option, offering unique benefits compared to other selling methods. Like selling your car online, it allows for direct interaction with potential buyers, but with added advantages.

Benefits of selling your car privately

  • Potential for higher selling price—By eliminating the middleman, you can negotiate a higher price directly with the buyer.
  • Personalized interaction—Selling privately allows you to meet potential buyers face-to-face, answer their questions, and build a rapport, potentially instilling greater trust and confidence in the transaction.

Tips for advertising and screening potential buyers

When advertising your car, include essential details such as make, model, year, mileage, condition, and any noteworthy features. Utilize platforms like online classifieds or social media groups dedicated to buying and selling cars. When screening potential buyers, ask questions about their intentions, verify their contact information, and consider meeting in a public place for safety.

Ensuring a safe and secure transaction

To ensure a safe and secure transaction, it is essential to conduct due diligence. Verify payment methods, such as accepting cashier's checks or money orders, and accompany the buyer to their bank to complete the transaction. 

Be sure to gather all relevant documents for selling your used car. Common documents include: 

  • Vehicle title—Ensure you have the car's original title if you own the vehicle outright. If there's an outstanding loan, contact your lender to understand the title transfer process and the necessary steps.
  • Vehicle history report—Providing a vehicle history report offers valuable insights into the car's accident history, service records, mileage, and ownership. While buyers can obtain their own reports, having them readily available builds trust and streamlines the process. Related to this, be sure to disclose details from any fender benders your car has been in that have not been reported. This is a critical aspect to help prevent potential legal action down the road, and to keep the new owner safe.
  • Bill of sale—Familiarize yourself with your state's requirements regarding a bill of sale for private party transactions. This document includes important details like the sale date, odometer reading, sales price, etc. Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to determine if a bill of sale is necessary in your jurisdiction.

Trade-in vs. selling

Selling your used car can be an emotional and stressful experience, leading many individuals to prefer the convenience of trading in their car as part of the process when buying a new or new-to-you vehicle. But be cautious here, as you may not get as much for your car when you trade it in. That said, the trade-in value can lower the monthly payments for your new car loan.

However, be sure to weigh the pros and cons of both options. While trading in offers ease, selling it yourself provides potential advantages. Let's explore what to expect when considering each route.

What to expect when trading in

  • Convenient process—Trading in your car as part of a new car purchase streamlines the transaction, allowing you to complete the sale and purchase in a single visit to the dealership.
  • Potential for a lower price—Dealerships typically offer lower trade-in values than selling it yourself, as they need to account for their profit margin when reselling the vehicle.

What to expect when selling it yourself

  • Greater selling price potential—Selling your car yourself allows you to negotiate and potentially secure a higher selling price, maximizing your return on investment.
  • Increased effort and time commitment—Selling it yourself requires investing time and effort in advertising, responding to inquiries, conducting test drives, and completing paperwork.

Ultimately, deciding between trading in and selling your car depends on your priorities, convenience, and financial goals.

Choosing the right selling method for your car and maximizing your sale

When selling your car, it is essential to consider the available options and their pros and cons. Online platforms provide wide reach and convenience, with platforms like Craigslist, eBay Motors, CarGurus, and Carvana offering different advantages and disadvantages. 

Exploring local selling options such as classifieds, bulletin boards, and car clubs can tap into a more localized audience. Private party sales offer the potential for higher prices and personalized interactions, while trading in provides convenience during the new car purchasing process.

Invest effort in preparing your car for sale, setting a competitive price, being open and honest about accidents and fender benders, and creating appealing listings with high-quality photos and detailed descriptions to maximize your sale. Whether you sell to a dealership or privately, negotiating fair deals and ensuring secure transactions are crucial. 

It may be worth refinancing your existing car loan terms as an alternative to selling. This option can help lower your monthly payments, improving your financial situation without parting ways with your vehicle. Check out the refinancing options available from Rateworks and save on interest rates. Get a free quote with RateWorks today to start the process!