The debate will continue for quite some time, but I am often asked, "What’s better: selling at auction or selling by hand?”
The quick answer is neither, but selling to a willing friend or acquaintance is probably best if:
- He or she has the money, and
- He or she won't bug you about everything that goes wrong with the car during ownership
Since that might or might not happen, I'm a big fan of selling at auction. There are plenty of downsides to any method of selling, but an auction creates immediacy that Craigslist, or telling your co-workers or posting an online ad won't.
A few other thoughts?
No one will be showing up at your house, checking out your other cars (or maybe your computer, your security system or your sleep habits). You won't be staying at home waiting for that (formerly) very interested caller who didn't show. And you won't be tempted to take that $50 deposit on your $10,000 car just in case the "buyer" wins the Lottery.
The auction company, if it’s have done its job, has lined up one, two or a few buyers (or maybe not) to purchase your car. It's easier to show your car to 1,000 potential buyers at an auction than it is to drag 10 people to your house and give them each a viewing.
Does it cost money? Very possibly, yes. But perhaps not; if you get two interested parties who battle it out for your car, you might wind up with more than you originally wanted.
I have seen this happen before. It's even happened to me.