My little 2003 Mini Cooper appears to be on its last legs. It is headed to the shop for the third time in four weeks, which makes me about 80% sure that it is time for a new car. (Or at least a newish one.) My husband is also ready for new wheels. We even agree on what type of car to buy – a Mini Countryman – we gave up on buying an electric car. The countryman has enough room for adults to sit in the back seat, so on the odd occasion when all four of us need to drive in the Mini, we’ll fit. What my husband and I vehemently disagree on is whether we should trade in our Mini at the dealer or sell it to a private party.
Should we trade in our old car or sell ourselves?
I have never traded in a car at the dealer. I loathe car salesmen because of their infamous sales tactics. Even knowing my friend outsmarted her car salesmen is not enough to drag me onto the dealer lot. A huge part of me wants to avoid buying a new car simply because I do not want to get swindled by a new car salesman.
We would also net about $1,300 more if we sell to a private party.
The car is worth about $2,674 if we trade it in, according to Kelly Blue Book. If we sell it ourselves, it’s worth about $3,974. So if we trade in our car, we get less money for our old car, and pay more money for a new car. (Buying a brand new car is always more expensive than buying a slightly used car.) That’s what I call a lose-lose situation.
But my husband has good reasons for trading it in.
He doesn’t want to sell the car himself. With two little ones, our free time is a precious commodity. Spending weekends and evenings emailing potential buyers, setting up appointments to see the car, and haggling over price is his idea of a very bad time. Even if I handled the price negotiations, which I relish because I use these proven negotiating tactics, he’s not interested in making the time commitment to selling the car himself, which I estimate would take about 15-20 hours.
How long does it take to sell a car yourself?
1 hour cleaning the car
30 minutes taking pictures of the car
2 hours writing the listing and publishing it on multiple sites (craigslist, cars.com, carmax.com etc)
10+ hours responding to potential buyers, setting up appointments to see the car
3+ hours showing the car to potential buyers
We’re already up to 16.5 hours.
So here’s my dilemma. We both have our own cars. Should I just let him deal with his car the way he wants? And if I want to take the time to sell mine (when the time comes) to a private party, then I can do it my way?
I hate the fact that we’d lose about $1,300 trading our car in, not to mention the higher price we’d pay for a new car at the dealer. I wish he would do it my way because of the money we’d save, but I can’t force this on him without a LOT of fights and tension. But if I’m not willing to take on the work, is it fair of me to insist that my husband do it my way?
What if we set a fair dollar amount that we can both spend on a new car, then add to that pot whatever we get for our old cars? That way, we are rewarded for getting a higher sale price for our old cars.