Consumer Reports: Used car market red hot during COVID-19 pandemic

As the pandemic continues sweeping the nation, demand for used cars is skyrocketing as people avoid mass transit and car sharing apps.

If you're lucky enough to be working from home and no longer need a car to commute, now is a good time to sell your car. But how do you do it? Consumer Reports reveals the tricks of the trade to help you get the most bang for your buck.

Since the pandemic, you may be finding your car sitting around collecting dust. Consumer Reports says your timing actually couldn't be better as the used-car market has become red hot.

"With the pandemic, dealers are having trouble getting enough used cars in to sell," Consumer Reports Autos Editor Keith Barry said. "Even the least desirable used cars are now selling quickly, and for prices higher than they would have seven or eight months ago."

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For the quickest and easiest sale, your best bet is to sell your car to a dealership or large dealer chain, like CarMax.

You'll need to do some homework before you shop it around. First step, find out your car's value.

"I would look at some services like TrueCar, Kelley Blue Book, and see how much cars like mine are selling for," Barry said. "And that gives you at least a starting point."

Next, take your car around to two or three different places that purchase used cars and get a written offer. Having that written offer on hand will help you in negotiations with other potential buyers.

You can also sell a car privately, by listing it on a site like Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. And while you might get a better deal, during a pandemic, this comes with extra challenges.

"That is a little tricky during a pandemic, because you're not going to get more than 6 feet away from someone on a test drive of a car," Barry said.

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And finally, giving your car a thorough cleaning before showing it to a potential buyer can translate into a quicker sale and possibly more dollars in your pocket.

Consumer Reports also says to consider online services like Carvana. They can offer to pick up your car and pay you on the spot right from your home -- perfect for selling a car while social distancing.

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