Typically, folks sell their used car to a private party, or they trade the car in. However, private party sales can be a hassle and every so often we want to sell a car on, but not come home with another new one. Kelly Blue Blook (KBB) has now joined Carmax in the used car buying business.
Carmax has long offered car buying services. The program they offer is simple. You bring your car to the local Carmax dealership, and they appraise it for you. You are then offered a price for the car. There is no negotiating; you cannot try to get more. Take it or leave it. You don’t need to decide right then and there, though. The written offer is good for seven days.
Now KBB offers a similar program, but it uses private dealers to do the appraisal and offers. Called the KBB Instant Cash Offer, you can access the service through KBB or Autotrader on-line. At the website you enter in your vehicle’s year, make, model, trim, and condition. The website then generates and offer for you. The offer is printed, and you can take that to any participating new car dealership. The offer is your trade in if you wish it to be. Or, you can simply ask for the cash. The certificate is good for 72 hours.
There is one downside in some states to selling your car to a dealer, but not buying a new one from them. In some states, such as Massachusetts, the sales tax on automobiles is on the difference between your trade and the new car’s value. For example, if you trade a car worth $15K and but a car for $25K you would only pay sales tax on the $19K difference. However, if you sell your car, and then separately later buy another new car, you pay the tax on the entire new car purchase. It is worth noting in case you plan to sell your car and then shortly after that buy a new one. The sales tax in Mass. on a $25K vehicle is $1,562.50.