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How to Sell?

How Long Does It Take To Sell A Car? [Ultimate Guide 2024]

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Quick Answer:

On average, it takes 52 days to sell a used car to a private buyer:

  1. Clean the car (60 minutes or $30)
  2. Take HQ photos from multiple angles (30 minutes)
  3. Research your vehicle’s market value (60 minutes)
  4. List the vehicle online & add a detailed description (30 minutes)
  5. Answer inquiries and arrange test drives (on average 50 days)
  6. Take care of the paperwork (2-3 days)

To skip the above steps and sell your car within 48 hours, check out one of the online car-buying apps: Peddle (my go-to app)Wheelzy or Carbrain.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Assess Selling Factors: The time it takes to sell a car depends on its condition, mileage, market demand, and your chosen selling method.
  2. Select Selling Approach: Decide between selling privately for a higher price but longer timeframe or using online services for a quicker but possibly lower-priced sale.
  3. Safety Measures: Ensure a secure transaction by verifying the buyer’s identity, using reliable payment methods, and completing a bill of sale.

Best for Older & Damaged Cars

Peddle logo

Buys used, damaged or junk cars

Free tow and no hidden fees

Pays by ACH trasfer or check

Top Pick for Junk Cars

Wheelzy logo

Free, no-obligation cash offers

Offers free paperwork service

Pays on the spot upon pick up

Highly Rated by Customers

CarBrain logo

Excellent customer service ratings

Honors guaranteed offer for 7 days

Can pick up a car within 48 hours

Great for Low-Mileage Cars

Carvana logo

Gives a real offer in 2 minutes

100% hassle-free online process

Free car’s Value Tracker available

Fastest Way to Sell Your Used Car

fastest way to sell a used car

Selling your car to a car-buying company is the fastest way to get cash for your car. Compared to selling privately, you will get paid more than 20 times faster.

The process of selling the car online is quick and pretty straightforward:

  1. Fill in an online form (2 minutes) – provide car details: make, model, year, mileage, and description of the condition. You will get an instant cash offer, which will be valid for 7 days.
  2. Accept the offer – after you accept the offer, the company’s representative will contact you to confirm details and provide you with the list of required documents.
  3. Schedule vehicle pickup (24-48 hours) – your car will be towed away free of charge within 48 hours of accepting the offer.
  4. Get paid (24-48 hours) – you will be paid by check or cash at the time of vehicle pickup.

The best online car-buying companies that offer quick and paperless car-selling services from the comfort of your home are Peddle, Wheelzy, and Carbrain. Good idea to get a quote from all 3 companies to pick the highest bid.

Things that Impact the Time It Takes to Sell a Car:

Selling a car can be a process that varies in duration due to many factors, such as the chosen way to sell, the car’s demand, pricing and even your location.

Understanding these elements can help you to streamline the sale and maximize returns. 

Way of Selling Your Car

way of selling your car

How you choose to sell your car is one of the main factors determining the time of potential sale.

Selling Car Privately

According to the case study, the average used car takes 52.1 days to sell. This means if you are looking for a private buyer, it can take up to 8 weeks to find a buyer.

Moreover, you need to count the additional time it takes to provide information to potential buyers, schedule test drives and take care of the paperwork at the DMV.

Selling Car Online

As mentioned before, selling your car online to a car-buying company is the fastest. By choosing this way, you can skip the multiple steps required to sell your car privately.

Such as cleaning cars, taking photos, listing online, arranging viewings, arranging test drives, negotiating, driving to different dealerships, etc…

Selling Car to Local Dealership

Selling the car to a local dealership is relatively quick, usually taking 4 to 5 days.

The disadvantage of such an option is that you need to drive to multiple dealerships in person to find the ones willing to buy your car.

Then you will need to select those who offer the best value for your car and spend time negotiating better offers.

This can be tricky, especially if your area has limited dealership lots.



It is estimated that most of the cars on the market can last around 200,000 – 30,000 miles, and the average American drives 13,476 miles per year. 

A car with low mileage is often perceived as being less worn and more reliable, which can attract more buyers and help to sell quicker. 

High mileage, on the other hand, indicates that a car might need more maintenance or repairs soon.

Buyers might be cautious about purchasing such a car due to the potential costs associated with upkeep, making it harder to sell quickly.

MileageTime to sellComment
0 – 30,000 milesShould take longerCar is new, but expensive, high competition
30,000 – 60,000 milesPotentially quick sellCar is new, depreciation flatenned, making it attractive for buyers
60,000 – 100,000 milesPotentially quick sellCar is cheaper, but still in good condition
100,000 + milesShould take longerHigh mileage indicates potentially expensive repairs

Price of Your Car

Setting a competitive price makes your car more attractive to potential buyers.

If the price is too high compared to similar listings, buyers might not even consider your car.

If the price is too low, you will experience a financial loss.

To set a reasonable price:

  1. Find out the current market value of your vehicle. Browse listings of the same or similar cars on eBay Motors and CarGurus – the most popular car listing sites.
  2. Check your car’s value estimates. Kelley Blue Book uses nationwide car sales data and will provide a fair price range by analyzing your car details and condition.

If you want to sell the car quickly, you can lower the price to attract buyers, but that is not the best option for you as a seller. But there are a few things you can try to boost your sales without lowering the price.

Tips to Sell Quicker Without Lowering the Price:

Highlight Unique FeaturesMention unique features or upgrades and explain the benefits in the listing
Provide Maintenance RecordsWell-documented maintenance history can be a strong selling point as it demonstrates that the car has been well taken care of
Professional CleaningA car in immaculate condition is more likely to attract buyers even if it’s priced a bit higher
Use High-Quality Photos and DescriptionsProfessional photos from various angles provide an accurate view of the vehicle. Detailed descriptions give buyers a better impression of the car and can attract more interest
Offer ExtrasIf you have accessories like winter tires, custom car covers, or other extras, offer them as part of the deal. This can add value and help you close the deal quicker
Market EfficientlyUse multiple platforms to advertise your car. More exposure can lead to finding a buyer who is looking for exactly what you are offering

Type of the Title


You have either the clean title or the lienholder title. This not only defined how fast you will sell but also the best way to do it.

Clean Title

You have a clean title if you purchased your car without financing it or have already paid off the loan. This means that you are the rightful owner of the vehicle.

Feeling confident that the vehicle has no history of unresolved legal issues or financial burdens, buyers will be more willing to buy the car.

If you haven’t paid off the loan completely, you are not yet considered a rightful owner, and the title is in the lienholder’s name. This makes selling to a private buyer complicated and, of course, longer.

If you are planning to sell the car with a loan to a private buyer, you have a few options: 

  • Pay off the loan yourself – this is the easiest way to sell a financed car. Once the loan is paid off, you can transfer the car title to the buyer’s name.
  • Use sale money to pay off the loan – get paid, transfer money to cover the payoff amount and get title release from the lienholder. This option should be discussed with the buyer before signing any documentation.

Lienholder’s Title

If you can’t pay off the loan and potential buyers are not interested in paying upfront, you can sell the car to the dealership.

An alternative way is to sell a financed car to online car-buying sites like Wheelzy, Carbrain and Carvana.

For example, if you sell to Wheelzy, you will get an instant cash offer, and the company will handle all the paperwork for you. A required amount will be transferred to the lender to cover the debt, and after the transaction is confirmed, the lienholder will release the title, meaning Wheelzy can transfer the title to their name.

You can expect to receive the remaining balance within a few days after the title’s release.

Market Demand

iSeeCars analyzed over 224,000 car sales in June 2022 and made a list of the fastest-selling used cars and slowest-selling cars.

For example, in California, selling the Nissan LEAF takes only 11 days on average, but if you intend to sell a Cadillac CT5, it can take up to 191 days, which is six months.

In Louisiana, the fastest-selling car is the Volkswagen Atlas, which takes 22 days on average, and the slowest is the Nissan Versa – 102 days.

When there is high demand for a particular type or model of car, buyers may be willing to pay more, allowing you to set a competitive price. It can result in a faster sale, as buyers are motivated to secure the car before someone else does.

Top 5 fastest-selling cars in 2024:

Car ModelAverage timeframeAverage price
Tesla Model Y24.7 days$67,121
Toyota Prius Prime25.8 days$28,844
Honda Insight25.9 days$27,191
Tesla Model 326.5 days$50,996
Toyota Prius 26.7 days$26,340

Additionally, your location can also impact how fast you will sell a car. For example, if you live in northern states, like Washington, Utah, or Ohio, and intend to sell an SUV or a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you will likely close the deal quicker than selling a sports car or convertible. has gathered data and listed the top 3 of the most popular cars in each state. If your car is on the list, it is highly likely that you will sell it rather quickly.

Time of the Year

Used cars are generally in higher demand in the first quarter and towards the end of the year. This is because many potential buyers are looking for new vehicles to prepare for the upcoming winter season or have additional funds after receiving a tax return.

Seasons that can impact how fast you sell a car:

  • Autumn – new car models are usually released to the public market in autumn. It is estimated that the value of the older car models can drop by 5% to 10% depending on new model improvements and changes and overall market demand. It is advised to sell before the release of a new car model.
  • Autumn – Winter season – this season is best for selling SUVs, Crossovers, Trucks, All-Wheel-Drive cars and Minivans, especially in northern states where weather conditions are more severe.
  • Spring – Summer season – Convertibles, sports cars, hybrids, electric vehicles, and compact cars tend to sell better and quicker in the warmer season.

Tips for Selling Your Car Privately Fast

If you decide to sell your car privately, spend some time in market research to understand demand better. This will allow you to set realistic expectations and prepare for the upcoming process.

1. Car Advertising

Post car listings on multiple platforms, like eBay Motors, CarGurus, or Autotrader. CarGurus, for example, has one of the largest audiences, with over 30 million visitors to the website each month. 

Clean your car and take high-quality photos from various angles. This will help potential buyers to make an impression about cars’ features and condition.

Last but not least, add detailed information about your vehicle to make it easier for buyers to decide if this is the right car for them and to prove the car’s value.

Car’s description should include the following:

  • Make, Model, and Year
  • Mileage
  • Condition
  • VIN
  • History of maintenance
  • Features and Upgrades
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Location

2. Car price

To set a market-appropriate and competitive price for your vehicle, browse local listings on CarGurus, eBay Motors and Autotrader. Check for similar vehicles that are listed in your area.

Pay attention to the car’s condition, extra features or upgrades, and mileage when looking for a listing similar to yours.

Additionally, check market value using Kelley Blue Book car’s value calculator

If you’re open to negotiation, set your initial asking price slightly higher than the lowest price you’re willing to accept.

If your goal is to sell quickly, consider pricing your car slightly below market value to attract more buyers.

3. Gather the required paperwork

First of all, you will need to provide a Certificate of Title, which is the legal proof of ownership.

Other documents depending on your state laws:

Required in All StatesCertificate of TitleOdometer ReadingRelease Of Liability
Required in Some StatesBill of SaleRegistration TagEmissions Test
Optional PaperworkVin CheckService RecordsOwner’s Manual

For example, California, Ohio, Arizona and others require additional documents for a valid emissions certificate.

Florida, Indiana and Nebraska require an active registration tag. Other states like Maryland, Montana, and Pennsylvania are required to provide a Bill of Sale.

what paperwork do i need to sell my car privately

4. Protect yourself

Your safety and protection are paramount when selling a car privately. Always take precautions to ensure you’re conducting a secure and legitimate transaction.

  • Check the Buyer’s Identity: Ask for identification before you arrange a test drive. This helps prevent theft and helps hold the right person accountable if there’s an accident during the test drive.
  • Don’t Share Personal Information: Keep your home address, bank account details, and other personal information confidential. Only share information necessary for the sale at the time of title transfer.
  • Use a Safe Payment Method: Cashier’s checks, money orders, escrow services, or bank transfers can protect you from fraud. Avoiding personal checks or promises to pay at a later date.
  • Document Everything: Record all interactions and agreements with the buyer. This is especially important for payment arrangements and the terms of the sale.
  • Sign a Bill of Sale: Prepare a bill of sale for both parties to sign once the transaction is complete. It should include details of the car, the sale price, and the car’s condition at the time of sale.

People Also Asked:

What used cars are selling the fastest right now?

Trends in the automotive market can change rapidly due to various factors, including fuel prices, new model releases, and economic conditions.

Generally, cars that are known for their reliability, fuel efficiency, and low maintenance costs tend to sell quickly in the used car market. It is also worth noting that electric and hybrid vehicles have been gaining popularity. 

What time of year is best to sell a used car?

The best season to sell a car depends on your location and the vehicle you own. For example, if you are planning to sell a convertible or sports car, it is best to do so in the spring-summer season.

If you are selling an SUV, Crossover or another All-Wheel-Drive car, it is best to do so in the autumn-winter season.

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Michael Becker


About the author:

Michael Becker is a car enthusiast and expert who has been working in the automotive industry for over 15 years. He started his career as a salesperson at a local dealership, where he learned the ins and outs of the car market. Then he moved on to flipping cars for a profit.

Michael has also helped many of his relatives and friends to sell their cars, using his knowledge and skills to get them the best deals. He will guide you through the process and help you avoid the common pitfalls.

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