Private Sale vs Trade

Should I sell my car on my own or trade it in?


Did you know will buy your vehicle or take your Subaru lease return, even if you don't buy one from us? Just call James Greene, Ryan Mak, or Nate Roman at 888-534-2725.  We'll even give you a ride home!  

Sell Your Own

Trade it in


You can expect to get $1,000 to $2,000 more when you sell it on your own. You won't get the same price as a dealer because people buy with greater confidence at a dealer, especially a franchised dealer.

If we can retail your car at Planet, we give you what we would pay at auction to buy the same car. If we can't retail your car here, we give you the wholesale value (what the car would net at an auction). Learn more.

Sales Tax Credit
In Massachusetts, you only pay 6.25% sales tax on the difference between your new car and the trade. In the example at right, trading saves almost a thousand dollars compared to selling on your own.

New car: $25,000

Minus Trade: $0

Difference: $25,000

6.25% tax you pay: $1562.50

New car: $25,000

Minus Trade: $15,000

Difference: $10,000

6.25% tax you pay: $625

Finance Issues

You aren't able to provide a loan, and prospective buyers typically don't have thousands of dollars in cash sitting around, so selling on your own works best when your car is inexpensive (a few thousand dollars.) Also, if you have a loan on your car, most prospective purchasers don't want to wait weeks for you to pay off the loan and get the title.

not applicable

Hassle Factor

Just like we do, you'll need to clean and service your car, advertise it, respond to prospective purchasers, set up test drives, obtain the proper forms, demand thousands off a reasonable price, etc.



You have to meet prospective purchasers somewhere, typically your office or your home. You never know who will show up. And if they buy it, and have a problem with it, they know where you live or work. The large majority of prospective purchasers are nice folks, but not all of them are. If you do sell on your own, you may want to meet your purchaser at a bank, to verify funds.

very safe

Test Drives
Prospective purchasers typically want to test drive your car and many will want to drive it to their technician to have it checked out.

In Massachusetts, primary auto insurance typically follows the vehicle, not the driver. That means if someone wrecks your car while test driving it, it can be your responsibility.

not an issue

Certain consumer protection statutes in Massachusetts (such as the "Lemon Law") apply not only to dealers but private sellers as well.

You are bound by the similar disclosure and repair obligations that dealers have. You can't legally retail a vehicle "as-is." If your buyer has a problem, you're on the hook. Learn more.

Lemon Law and others do not apply when trading.

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* Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained on this site, absolute accuracy cannot be guaranteed. This site, and all information and materials appearing on it, are presented to the user "as is" without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title or non-infringement. All vehicles are subject to prior sale. Price does not include applicable tax, title, and license. Not responsible for typographical errors.

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Sales Hours

  • Monday9:00AM-7:00PM
  • Tuesday9:00AM-7:00PM
  • Wednesday9:00AM-7:00PM
  • Thursday9:00AM-7:00PM
  • Friday9:00AM-6:00PM
  • Saturday9:00AM-5:00PM
  • SundayClosed

Trying to decide whether to trade in your car or sell it on your own?  People in the communities of Cambridge, Arlington, Watertown, and the North Shore trust Planet Subaru to give them useful advice.