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The Lowdown on Trade-Ins

So you're buying a new car and you'd like to trade-in your existing car.  How hard can it be?  Surely it's worth a little hassle to save the wholesaler/dealer markup, isn't it?  Perhaps.  But before you do, consider the following likely events...

  • Incredulity that no one's calling when it's the best value one advertised! 
  • Buyers who are prepared to pay $2,000 more buying the exact same car from a dealer rather than privately
  • Detailing the car, fixing up the minor defects then keeping it pristine for weeks on end
  • Calls from buyers busting you down over the phone but never following up even after you meet their demands. 
  • Buyers simply not turning up for inspections and only answering their phone when you block your number
  • The people who do inspect try to bust you down further over stuff that's clearly fair wear and tear
  • 'Professional' car buyers who try to lure you to the other side of town on the promise of a good price only to find multiple excuses once you're there why they can't honour the price.

And the list goes on.  But, even if you do get a sale, there's one last major hurdle before you can move smoothly into your new car.  Timing.  The buyer wants their car ASAP but the new car's expected delivery is 2 weeks away.  So you part with your car and, for the next 2 weeks, resign yourself to get about by a combination of public transport, borrowing from friends and perhaps even renting.  10 days later, you get the bad news.  The shipment of cars has been delayed in the docks and delivery's been pushed back a further 3 weeks. 

You've pushed the favours with your friends to the max so you bite the bullet and rent a runabout for 3 weeks.  At $40/day, plus, plus plus!  Suddenly the extra $1,000 you got by selling privately (you were hoping for $4,000 extra but the cost of detailing, ads and negotiating destroyed that hope) has all but evaporated.

Yes, yes that's pretty much the wosrt case scenario but it can and does happen.  Sell privately and yopu will, on balance, generally get a better financial outcome.  But just make sure to weigh up the time, hassle and extra risk.


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