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Now's a great time to sell your car: Dealers 'are desperate to acquire inventory and paying ridiculous prices'

Big dealerships are “desperate to acquire inventory.”

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Used car owners might be shocked to find out how much their rides are worth. Thanks to a global shortage of microchips making new vehicles super pricey, the demand for older models is up.  

In June, researchers at the automotive website Edmunds analyzed used vehicles that dealers sold with between 100,000 and 109,999 miles on them, to find the average transaction price and the number of days the car sat on the lot.

And while "it's been a long-held belief among many car buyers and sellers that a vehicle's value begins to decline dramatically once it crosses the 100,000-mile mark, that's proven wrong as vehicle technology and durability have greatly improved over the years," Ivan Drury, Edmunds' senior manager of insights, said in the report. "The soaring demand we're seeing in the used vehicle market only further debunks this myth."

Mark Beneke, the owner of Westland Auto Sales in Fresno, California, is seeing the price surge up close: "Bigger-name dealerships are desperate to acquire inventory and are paying ridiculous prices for trades or straight sales," he says. "You can take advantage by selling to them, or posting online and selling for slightly more through a private-party transaction."

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Here are the top 5 cars with more than 100,000 miles that are commanding the highest values right now, according to the Edmunds analysis.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500    

Average age: 6.6 years         
Average transaction price: $26,914  
Average time to sell: 30.8 days

Ford F-150

Average age: 7.2 years         
Average transaction price: $25,924  
Average time to sell: 30.3 days

Ram 1500      

Average age: 6.5 years         
Average transaction price: $24,657
Average time to sell: 27.4 days

Jeep Wrangler

Average age: 8.6 years         
Average transaction price: $23,084  
Average time to sell: 29.7 days

Jeep Grand Cherokee         

Average age: 7.3 years         
Average transaction price: $17,700  
Average time to sell: 36.6 days

Used cars are selling faster and for higher prices

Not only are used cars selling roughly seven days faster now than this time last year, according to Edmunds, but prices are also up across the board. The average transaction price for all used vehicles in the analysis hit $16,489 in June 2021, compared to $12,626 in June 2020. That's a 31% year-over-year increase — the highest-ever rate the site has on record for used cars.

"Like investing, it's impossible to time the market perfectly," Beneke says. But now may be a great time to sell your ride, since the used-car boom is showing signs of slowing down and sky-high prices may not last.

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"It's hard to say if things will die down anytime soon," he explains, "but chances are that once the chip shortage is corrected, the market will be flooded, and prices will sink fast."

Do your research and shop around at different dealers to find the most bang for your buck. Your odds to land a good deal get even better if you own a truck or Jeep, since they topped the list for the greatest price increase and fastest selling time, according to Edmunds.

"Consumers with an old truck sitting in their driveway are in the best position to take advantage of this wild market," Drury said. "But even if you own an SUV or passenger vehicle that's long in the tooth … chances are it's worth a bit more — if not a lot — than you think, which you could use to offset the cost of your next car purchase. Or you could simply pocket the extra cash."

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