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One of the biggest challenges to selling a vehicle online is in regards to availability. Your car can’t everywhere at once, so there are physical limitations to who will buy it depending on your locale. And there are other hurdles too, such as an accurate car valuation that needs to be completed.

And how does selling a car online compare with trading it in or selling a car privately? Here are a few answers to consider.

How Long to Sell a Car Privately?

It’s a dead horse that’s been beaten over and over again. You’re likely to get the most money by selling car to private party. Selling your car on your own has its own downfalls too, and they can be considerable.

Think about this: you’d have to get your car inspected and certified to get the highest value. That often comes with repair bills for hundreds of dollars – even thousands. You’d need to take time out of your day or evening to respond to calls and emails, no-shows from tire-kickers, and haggling a price.

The time aspect is probably the tallest hurdle. Often, selling a car can take weeks or months until the right buyer comes along.

Benefits to Trading in a Car

Trading in a car is fast and doesn’t require repairs beforehand. That’s the benefit. However, there are serious detractors to trading in a car. Dealers are free to offer you whatever they think is fair or acceptable, even if their price is lower than the fair market value. And it varies from dealer to dealer. For example, the True Car trade in value could be higher or lower than the dealer down the street, all while using the exact same trade-in criteria.

Among the biggest pain points, though, is this: trade-in values are never as high as selling your car privately.

Best Place to Sell a Car Online

So then, is it best to sell a car online? It depends what you’re looking to get out of your sales experience. If you value your time above all else, then it’s definitely the way to go. And if you’re asking, “How do I sell my car online fast?”, here are a few places to sell cars in today’s online market.


A popular option to sell a car online is Vroom. You’ll enter your vehicle information online and include supporting pictures and documentation to substantiate your info. You’ll get an offer for your car. If you accept it, they’ll pick it up from you.

With Vroom, your car will need to be in decent shape. They’re buying inventory to resell, so you’re unlikely to get an offer on a badly damaged or junk car.


Carvana is much like Vroom in the way the business is structured. However, with Carvana you’re limited to being close to their hubs. If you’re more than 100 miles from the dozen or so Carvana locations, you’ll be out of luck. Or, you’ll have to kick in for a shipping fee.


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If you’re in the Bay area, Beepi makes strong offers for cars online. Unfortunately, 99.9% of the nation isn’t close enough to the Bay area to make it work out. If you are, you’ll discover that the initial ‘offer’ is actually an estimate and you’ll need to get your car inspected at Beepi before getting a solid price.

They have a 30-day guarantee to sell your car otherwise Beepi will buy it from you.


In California and DC, Shift operates much like Beepi to a point. But once you get an estimate, your car has to sit on one of their lots until it sells. Not much of a way to sell me your car, if you ask me. You might as well just list it on AutoTrader instead.


Also limited to California, Roadster makes an offer for your vehicle online within two days of submitting a request. If you accept, they’ll confirm its condition within a short time and pick it up from you.

Is There a Car Selling App?

Instamotor, Autotrader, TrueCar – they have car selling apps on both iOS and Android. You’ll still need to follow the same protocols as their websites, just on a smaller screen. It might be more convenient for some people.

How to Sell a Car Online

You can choose one of the above options to sell a car online. But if your car is in less-than-perfect condition, is badly damaged, has a rebuilt or salvage title, or is otherwise tough to sell, there’s another option.

CarBrain will make a fair online offer for all vehicles, no matter what condition. From start to finish, the CarBrain method takes as little as a week until you’ve been paid, and your vehicle is picked up. There’s no fee to use the service, nor do you have to search for other buyers.

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