Private Sale vs. Trading In Your Car

Here's some good advice!

When it comes time to get rid of your car most have turned to traditional methods that have existed for many years.  They are private sale and dealership trade-in.  Both methods have their benefits, but some significant drawbacks as well.  We'll keep WhipFlip out of it (for now) and give some good advice on these methods as well as how to use them to your advantage.


Using listing sites like Craigslist, AutoTrader. and Ebay Motors as well as the good ole "For Sale" sign in the window to find a buyer for your car. This is the hardest way to sell your car.

  • Potential retail sale price, aka more money!
  • Done at or near your location.
  • No mundane paperwork.
  • Able to comfort another buyer by knowing your vehicles history.
  • Time and effort spent can be immense.
  • Level of difficulty significantly increases with car price, especially if you have a loan on it.
  • Can take months to sell with no guarantee of success.
  • Dealing with strangers who cancel, risk your personal safety, or tire-kick.
  • Limited exposure from oversaturated listing sites.
  • Susceptible to scams, payment issues, or improper ownership transfer.

The WhipFlip Tips to selling your car privately.

Setting Expectations & Price

First, set the right expectations with yourself as this is not going to be easy.  What do you want out of your car?  Do your research from top consumer vehicle sites to see what its true market value is.  It is not recommended to just follow everyone else's prices on listing sites as normally they are too high.  Remember, people want to get a great deal.  How can you position your car to be a good deal and attract more interest?

Dealing with Appointments & People

This is where you set the terms of how the process is going to go.  Make sure to respond promptly to all questions a prospective buyer might have and be honest.  When the time comes for an appointment to show the car, let them know that you will need them to confirm ahead of time and arrange for a nearby location, preferably in a public area like a shopping center.


Before an appointment is ever made, you should state your acceptable payment options.  Payment plans, Paypal, credit/debit cards, and personal checks should be avoided.  Typically you should ask for a bank certified check or verified electronic funds transfer.  Cash is always great too but ensure you can spot a counterfeit bill.

Ownership Transfer

To complete the sale, you should have an automobile buyers agreement ready to be filled in and signed.  You can find many downloadable versions of this by googling it.  Also, make sure both parties sign off on the title the correct locations.  Basically you fill and sign in the "Seller" section and the other party does the same for the "Purchaser" section.


We'll start this off by saying that all dealers aren't necessarily bad. You will find that some are good and some are not. There are a lot of key advantages that dealers can provide you, especially over private sale. However, most dealership processes remain painful to sell or trade-in your vehicle. That's not your problem to fix.

  • Can trade/buy vehicles with loans on them vs. private sale.
  • Safer to transact with a dealer, funding guaranteed, ownership transfer done right.
  • Tax breaks could save you a couple hundred dollars if trading for another car.
  • Sell or trade when you want to stop continued depreciation.
  • Not all dealers will buy your car unless you buy one of theirs.
  • Numbers games - What's your car really worth? What's the "real deal?"
  • Can take a few days and several hours spent traveling to several dealers to get just a quote.
  • Trade-In offers are typically much lower than private sale or other car buying services.
  • Pressure to sell and/or buy to meet someones quota.

The WhipFlip Tips to selling or trading your car at a dealership.

Find The Right Dealer

If you are looking to just sell your car you may want to start by calling dealerships that sell the same make as your car (ex. Honda dealer for your Honda Accord) to see if they will buy your car outright.  Dealerships are looking to acquire inventory that fits their lot.  If your car fits into what they desire to buy, you may have a better chance of selling it to them for a fair price.

Negotiating Price

The first part of this is based on if you are trading in for another car.  It is best to negotiate the new/used car price FIRST, without including your trade in the deal equation.  From there you can now just work on what your car is worth to come to a clear understanding of the entire car deal.

All dealers including WhipFlip price their offers off of the true WHOLESALE market.  To some this might seem low based on what they see "online" at a retail level but keep in mind that their numbers are based off of real sales results within the industry and are representative to actual true market value.  However, it depends on how low or high they are willing to go within the market that makes the difference between a good offer or a low-ball offer.

In Doubt, Keep Shopping

If you desire to take some extra time and see what else is out there.....go ahead!  All dealers have different needs and will go to certain lengths to earn you as a customer.  It can be like finding a needle in a haystack but it is beneficial to get a few different offers for peace of mind.  What you will find is most offers will be close to each other as all dealers operate within the same market values for cars.  If you see an offer significantly higher, make sure you check the math before signing on that dotted line.


Ok, we couldn't help ourselves here!  Both methods above have their pro's and con's.  WhipFlip was created to solve these issues while providing great benefits to YOU the consumer to get a great deal, sell your car quickly, and do it in a safe manner.

So if you don't want to deal with the painful task of selling your car on your own or going to the dealership, and just want to get it SOLD now.....try WhipFlip.

Our Advantages:
  • No strangers or tire-kickers wasting your time.
  • Sell now, not in days or months.  3 easy steps, in less than 5 minutes.
  • We come to you.  Just tell us when and where.
  • Paid on the spot and ownership transfer handled.
  • No weird trade-in math or low-balls.  Real competitive true market offers.
  • Spend time living your best life.....not trying to sell your car.

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