Everyone knows that when it comes to selling a car, there are a long list of things you can do to both ensure a quick sale and one that get’s you the most money. However, not many people know that choosing the right time of the year is one of them. One of the main market conditions that may affect your ability to sell your car and your car’s value is actually when you sell it. Just a few months can make a massive difference to how long your car sits around and how much money ends up in your back pocket.
So, when is the best time? If you want to massively simplify things, the best time of year to sell your car is simply when your target is buying. How we start to decipher that lies in the following factors…
Avoid when dealers are promoting (unless you’re trading in)
The end of the financial year is when dealers promote and discount the most to try and rack up their revenue against targets for the financial year. This is also when many people are more likely to consider a new car versus a used car, or at the very least it will drive down the value of your used car as its new equivalent is available at a discounted price. If, however, you’re planning to trade in your old car for a new one, this is one of the best times to do it, as dealers will be hungrier to give you a great deal on your car to secure a sale.
Sell in spring
It turns out all good things really do come in Spring. This is when Australians come out of hibernation and move into ‘getting stuff done’ mode – including buying cars. It’s the same reason why it’s the most popular time to buy and sell a house. Conversely, the country shuts down during the summer holidays, so avoid the Christmas and January holiday period.
Know when your target market is more likely to buy
Convertible and sports cars are more popular in the warmer months. Cars that are popular with students sell in November at the end of the study year, as many parents are in the market to buy their studious son or daughter a car. This is also often the case at the start of the studying year in February.
The price of petrol
If the cost of petrol is at an all-time high, you will find larger cars are harder to sell. Conversely, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars become easier to sell. I tried to sell a 4.7L 4WD when petrol prices were at $1.60 odd in 2006. Not only did it take several weeks to sell the car, we ended up reducing the advertised price significantly and ended up selling for around $10,000 less than what we thought it was worth!!
When you shouldn’t sell your car
It’s also worth considering when not to sell a car. The single biggest factor that will affect your finances when you sell a car is depreciation. On average, a new car loses 11% of its value the minute it leaves the dealership. It then loses 15–25% of its value each year for the first five years. As a result, a five-year-old car is typically worth a third of its original new car value. So the worst time to sell is within the first three years, when you’re losing the most in depreciation. If you’ve also financed your car with a loan or lease, you’re likely to still be in negative equity at this stage, too.
The Finish Line
Ultimately, the best time of year to sell your car is going to vary depending on what car you’re trying to sell. For a Gas guzzler, avoid selling when petrol is at it’s highest. If your car appeals most to students go for November and February. Family cars, avoid the holidays months and do it in Spring. If you’re trading in for a brand spanking new one, hit up the dealers at the end of the financial year. Happy car selling!
To book in for a service before you sell your car, find your local mechanic now.