The Best Time to Sell Your Car

If You Sell Today, Will You Get the Best Price?

To determine the best time to sell your car you need to consider two elements: your equity and the used car marketplace. 

The Best Time to Sell Your Car

Basically, you get more money when your equity is higher and the market is hotter. But the real trick is finding the time when those two elements are working together. 

If the market is hot, but you still owe a lot of money on your car loan, you may not make as much as you will once the market has cooled down and you’ve paid down the note. 

Sometimes the market is so hot that equity doesn’t matter. Like this year. So far in 2022, people have been able to sell their used cars for more money than the original “new” sticker price, which is almost unheard of.

How to Read the Market

Kelley Blue Book serves as a great reference point for understanding your car’s value. But to understand the best time to sell your car, it’s helpful to be able to plan ahead by identifying market trends. 

And the KBB estimate can lag behind the marketplace from time to time. Often, when market conditions change, sellers are the last to know. So keep that in mind when using estimate tools. We don’t want you to have unrealistic expectations for your sale, or worse, sell your car for less than market value. 

Average Car Sale Prices

If you’re going to sell your car, you want to make sure you’re getting a competitive price. So take a look at what other similar cars in your area are being bought and sold for.

Supply and Demand

When buyers have lots of cars to choose from, they can pay less. And when sellers have lots of cars they need to sell, they’re willing to sell for less. When there are fewer cars, buyers are less picky and sellers can charge more. 

In addition, a reduction in new car supply can cause an increase in used car demand (which can then reduce used car supply and increase used car prices).

How to Determine Equity

Equity is the value of your ownership stake in an asset. More simply, how much you can get paid for something you own. 

So once you’ve estimated your car’s value in the current market, you can subtract any loans or liens from that amount to find your equity. 

What Do You Owe on Your Car Note?

Call the bank that holds your auto loan and they’ll be able to tell you exactly how much you’ll owe if you pay in full. You may owe extra fees for early payoff.

Since your lender is likely holding the title to your car until the loan is paid in full, you’ll need to pay this off immediately when selling your car. 

Other Considerations?

Are there any other liens against your car? For instance, did you use your car to secure a personal loan from your bank or a cash-for-title loan? In the same way you checked your car note’s payoff amount, see how much it will cost you to pay off these loans. These will also have to be paid when you can sell.

Now add up everything you owe, and subtract it from your estimated sale price like so:

Estimated Market Value – (Car Note + Lien) = What You’ll Make

And there you have it, how much you could make if you sell your car today. 

The Best Time

The reason we look at the current marketplace instead of a traditional estimate of your car’s value is so we can project into the future. 

If your final price is lower than you want, see what the market trends are. If new car manufacturing is up, and used car prices are starting to fall, it may be time to sell. 

However, if you see used car demand is going higher, make a few more payments and see if you can squeeze a few more dollars out of your car. 

Shameless Plug: Either way, when you’re ready to sell, we’ll make it easy.