How Long After Buying A Car Can You Sell It?


In car buying there are no take backs or just kiddings, and therefore there is no return window. You can however resell a vehicle that you have just bought, even seconds after you’ve made the purchase if your buyer’s remorse hits that quickly, just don’t expect to get what you paid for it.

Sometimes when you buy a vehicle it just may not be working out as you had hoped. Whether you just got news that your family will be growing and you need to upgrade from the coupe to the full sized SUV, the car doesn’t ride as smoothly as you thought or you’ve realized you should have bought something less expensive, it is good to know that you can sell your car whenever you like no matter how recently it was purchased. 

If you financed your car, you’ll want to do your best to make sure that you aren’t losing money when reselling the car. Regardless of whether you still own the car, you’re legally responsible for paying off the remainder on your loan. So the first thing you want to do before putting your car back on the market is to understand the financial consequences of reselling your car. 

Understand The Financial Consequences of Selling

If you got an average deal on your vehicle, know that you are likely going to be selling the car for less than you bought it for, especially if you want to move the car sale process along quickly. If you used financing to purchase the vehicle, know that you are still financially responsible for making your loan payments or if you choose, paying off the loan completely. 

Pro Tip: Financing a vehicle is just buying a car, but you take out a loan to pay for it. 

If you decide to sell the car, know that you could be upside down on the vehicle if it was financed. Being upside down on a vehicle is when you owe more than you can currently sell it for. In addition to having to pay more money out of your pocket to pay off the loan of the car, you may have a fee associated with your lender for prepayment. Prepayment is when you break your contract and instead of paying your loan off month to month, you cancel the loan and pay the full amount back in a lump sum. 

Most loan financers will not charge you for paying off your loan early, but in loan situations where the interest rate is high or the payback period is long, it can be more frequent. Typically this is because these loans are offered in high risk lending situations and the lender covers their risk by collecting those high interest payments. 

Consequences Of Selling A Recently Purchased NEW Vehicle

New cars have extreme depreciation, especially in their first few years. As soon as you drive that brand new car off of the lot it is going to lose value. So if you try to turn around and sell that car, you’ll likely be losing at least a few thousand dollars depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Simply titling the car in your name will decrease the value of the car on average 25%.

You are much better off selling your car to a third party through one of the various car selling tools like Facebook Marketplace or A dealership is going to be buying the car with the intention of flipping it and turning a profit on it so they are going to offer you less than what it is worth. 

Consequences Of Selling A Recently Purchased USED Vehicle

If you bought a used car and are suffering from buyers remorse you are in a much better situation. You will likely get about what you paid for the vehicle (granted that you didn’t grossly over pay for the car).  

The exception to this is if you bought the car and then quickly discovered a serious issue with it like a failing transmission or costly engine repair. However in most cases you will be selling the car for close to what you bought it for. Keep in mind the things you paid to get the car titled and registered are sunk costs that you won’t recover. 

If you happened to get a steal of a deal on your car, feel free to price it higher than what you bought it for to recover some of the costs. 

How long does it usually take to sell a car?

While the average time it takes to sell a car is 2.5 weeks, it is best to  expect to sell your car in 4-6 weeks when doing business with a private party. The answer in terms of your individual situation is what are you selling and how much are you asking for it. Most car buyers looking to purchase from a private party seller know exactly what they are looking for and they know how much is a fair asking price. 

When I search for a car to purchase from a third party I am constantly checking my saved search criteria for new cars that have been listed, looking for the perfect car at the right price. If you are listing your car below what others in the area are asking for theirs, odds are it will sell quickly. 

If you have a car that is in high demand like a Toyota Land Cruiser, you will be able to move your car more quickly than someone who has an early 2000s Kia. No offense to you Kia owners out there, but there is a lower volume of people who want to buy a used one. 

If you want to sell your car quickly, list it on the following websites for free:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist

And consider these paid options:

  • Autotrader

If you want to sell your car more quickly lower the price. Unfortunately it is basic economics here, if you don’t have the demand that you are looking for, you need to lower your prices to drum it up. 

Can You Trade A Car You Just Bought?

Yes you can trade in a vehicle that you just bought, however you may lose some money in the process. Depending on your urgency of getting a different vehicle than the one you purchased, this may be worth it to you. Things to keep in mind when trading in a car you just bought include:

  1. Are there fees involved with breaking the terms of your loan and prepaying your loan amount
  2. Are you upside down on the vehicle
  3. Do you have the liquidity to pay to get yourself out from under your car
  4. Can you afford the new car you will be trading in for

How Long Do You Have To Return A Used Car After You Buy It?

Unfortunately there is no return period for car purchases. This is regardless of if you buy the car new or used, there are no take backs 

We hope this article has answered all of your car recall questions and that you feel more prepared to handle such an occurrence now and in the future. EDIT THIS

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