Selling a car from afar, help me avoid pitfalls!
August 21, 2012 9:25 PM   Subscribe

I am moving from Colorado to New Jersey and unfortunately have not managed to sell my car. I am at a loss as what to do with the car but taking it with me is not an option in the short term. I have a friend who can take care of the car and possibly show it to interested buyers but I am unaware of the limitations or pitfalls of this process (aside from inconveniencing my friend). What would be the issues I would have to deal with? Is there a way other than craigslist that I should by trying? Carmax is too far to try out. Any other ideas?
posted by occidental to Work & Money (10 answers total)
Is the car paid off? I had a car under a loan that I paid off a few weeks before I moved across the country but it took- no joke- 6 months to get the title. No one would consider buying it under lien. I wound up selling it to a relative who used it while I waited for the title, otherwise I would have been completely lost. So, there's that issue. Keep in mind, though, that someone on craigslist 'selling a car for a friend', legitimate or not, will raise some suspicions.

I would do anything in your power, including taking a loss, to sell that car before you move. I wish I'd done the same.
posted by tremspeed at 9:40 PM on August 21, 2012

Take good pictures. Write a good description of your car. Lower the price. Your car will sell.
posted by arnicae at 9:41 PM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Agreed with arnicae. Or sell it to a used car lot.
posted by radioamy at 10:27 PM on August 21, 2012

Not sure your cash and tax position, but you could donate it to charity for a tax write-off.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:32 PM on August 21, 2012

Carmax is too far to try out. Any other ideas?

You can call and talk to Carmax about the car, and they will make you an offer. There are several between Colorado and New Jersey, and they don't mess around. If it's in good shape and your paperwork is in order, you can drive in and walk out less than two hours later with a check in hand.

I don't work for Carmax, but I have always had good results with them, buying or selling. Give them a call.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 12:13 AM on August 22, 2012

If the car is not very valuable, and if your income level is not too low - donating the car is a good option.

I donated my car a few years back to an organization called 'cars for kids' - I get a tax donation for the blue book value, which I never would have been able to sell for that amount. The tax deduction worked out really well for me.
posted by Flood at 4:51 AM on August 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

If the car is paid off and you have the title and you have the time - ebay autos, no reserve auction. It WILL sell.

If you have no time at all - open up the yellow pages and find your local used car dealers. You'll likely receive less than fair value for your car this way, unless you are a strong negotiator, but the sale will happen quickly.
posted by de void at 6:39 AM on August 22, 2012

Denver has tons of "auto pawn" places. You'd take a hit most likely, but you'd avoid the hassles of selling on CL and be done with it.
posted by scratch at 7:02 AM on August 22, 2012

If it's in good shape and your paperwork is in order, you can drive in and walk out less than two hours later with a check in hand.

This was also my experience with Carmax. It was a very easy, no-hassle, quick process for me. (Not an employee, just had a good experience of the sort I'd want preceding a cross-country move.)
posted by immlass at 9:50 AM on August 22, 2012

Yeah, drive the car to Carmax on your way out of the state, and plan to spend a good solid 2-3 hours there. Also plan to be somewhat disappointed at the size of the offer, but at this point you're more interested in losing the car than in getting top dollar, so you can't beat 'em for convenience in achieving that goal.

If you still won't consider Carmax, then consider selling it at a very low price to your friend, and once the lien has been transferred, letting them sell it for as much as they can get. Again, you won't get a lot of money this way, but you'll get it off your back and your friend will hopefully get a profit in the process.

Finally, you can drive over to a new car lot who sells the brand of car you have, and offer it to them. Again, you won't get much, but it'll make the car go away.
posted by davejay at 11:25 AM on August 22, 2012

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