Should I Trade My Car Into The Dealer...Or Just Sell It Myself?

Trading your vehicle in to the dealer has its benefits and draw-downs. When is it a good idea? When is it a bad idea? All of these things come into play when you are trading your vehicle to a local dealer, we at Quest Auto Sales in Omaha Nebraska, are here to give you a completely unbiased answer and help you find the best option for your individual situation.


When you Don't Owe Any Money On Your Car
This is by far the best situation to have when you go into a dealership in Omaha, or anywhere. When you own your vehicle outright, trading it in is extremely easy.
In this situation, It really comes down to only 4 simple steps
  1. Find and Test Drive the Car you want
  2. Find the Retail Trade-In Value of your Car
  3. Use your car's profit towards your new vehicle
  4. Drive away
When you owe (roughly) what your car is worth
This is the 2nd best situation you will find yourself in when you are trading in your vehicle to a used car dealer in Omaha. When you owe (roughly) what your vehicle is worth, it drops off one of the steps in the previous process, but the only thing that changes is that you will not be able to use the profits from the car towards your next vehicle, because they wont be any profits!
  1. Find and Test Drive the Car you want
  2. Find the Retail Trade-In Value of your Car
  3. Trade  your vehicle straight across and cancel any money owed
  4. Drive Away
When you owe more than what your car is worth
This is the 3rd and worst situation you can find yourself in.  If you purchased the car before and financed it, you may run into this situation at least once in your life. You go into the Used Car Dealership in Omaha and they check the retail value of your trade..and they give you the bad news. You Owe More On the Car Than It's Worth.  What does this mean? It can be a little confusing at first, but once the basic math is involved, you will see how it breaks down. 

Let's say you own a used vehicle and you want to trade it in for an upgrade. You go to the dealership and they do an assessment on your vehicle. When they check the trade in value of the car let's say it comes back at $15,500 as the retail trade value. When you check your loan with the bank you have been paying, it says that you still owe them $18,500. That is a difference of $3000 dollars! This simply means that if you were to trade your car in for the retail value offered, there would still be $3000 floating around that the bank will expect to be paid for the car.  This amount HAS to go somewhere after all is said and done. So, they only option is to take that $3000 left over and roll it over into the next car loan. This sounds easy enough, but it can get a bit tricky with the banks. If the bank knows that the new vehicle you want to purchase is only worth $16,000 and you have $3000 to add to the bill due to your roll over, that means you will be needing a loan of $19,000 ($16,000 + $3000 =  $19,000) The bank will look at that car and say that they are unable to loan that much for the car which leaves you sitting there having to make another choice about which car you want to try and go for and monthly payments and everything! 

This is a very stressful situation to be in, which is easy to put blame on other people like the salesperson or the dealership. But just understand that it is not the CURRENT dealership's fault that the value of the car isn't where you owe, it may the previous dealer's fault, but not every dealer is the same. At a certain point, it becomes a personal responsibility that everyone must take on themselves, maybe they could have paid more, maybe they could have gotten a lower interest rate to make the payments lower...all of these things are a factor! 

To Trade or Not To Trade?
So now that we know the 3 situations that you may find yourself in, let's talk about whether its worth trading in or selling it on your own. 
Really at the end of the day, it is a personal choice of whether or not you should go one way or another. It boils down to 4 options. 
  1. Do you believe that you can sell it on your own and really make the money you claim it's worth?
  2. Do you have the time to wait for someone to buy the vehicles (typically 2-3 week long process)
  3. Do you have the resources to upload the vehicle on multiple websites and monitor each one and follow up with anyone interested?
  4. Do you have the money saved aside to pay the sales tax on the car after its sold?
If you have all 4 of these options locked down pat, then by all means go and sell the car on your own. You will definitely get the money you think the car is worth, but you will spend a lot of time and energy getting it done. If that is worth it to you, then go for it! 
Most people do not have all of those resources available to them, the biggest one being the "time" to get all of it done and monitor everything. This is a service that the dealership offers, it is their main purpose to promote and sell cars.