If you’re ready to sell your car yourself and want to do it the right way, then it’s best do some homework first.
From pricing and prepping your vehicle, to advertising, negotiating a deal and finalizing the sale, there are a few details to take care of before you can turn your ride into cash. It’s very simple and here are a few suggestions to get you started.
What’s Your Car Worth?
How quickly your car will sell depends on the type of car you own. Sedans are in constant demand, SUV’s and minivans, trucks and vans are good sellers, sports cars and convertibles are more seasonal and classic cars may take a bit longer. You can look up the value of your car’s make and model on Kelley Blue Book and CARFAX. You can also search online for similar vehicles on sale to see what other private sellers are asking.
Leave Room To Negotiate
Price your car competitively so it will sell fast but leave some wiggle room for negotiating, setting it slightly higher – maybe $500 to $1,000 more – than what you’d like.
Give Your Car a Makeover!
First impressions count – even with cars! A clean car will photograph better and sell quicker, so wash the exterior, clean and vacuum inside (or consider having it detailed), discard all the trash (we all have messy cars, right?) And clean the windows inside and out. Have a mechanic take a look and get an inspection report. You can also order a vehicle history report to further reassure a prospective buyer.
Then gather your maintenance records and paperwork and keep them in a safe place until the actual sale.
Photograph the car from as many angles as possible – people love photos – exteriors and interior.
Where to Advertise?
There are limitless advertising opportunities these days and many of them are free. You can try websites such as AutoTrader.com and Cars.com, and popular sites such as Craigslist Facebook Marketplace and Ebay. You can also explore some peer-to-peer sites such as Carvana and Ziplflip. You can spread the news on your social media sites and use good old-fashioned word of mouth – someone in your circle of friends or family may be looking for a good buy. You could even go real old-school and put a For Sale sign in the window.
Putting on a show!
You’ve spread the word, your car looks shiny and new, so now sit back and let them come to you! Keep in mind when showing your car that prospective buyers are evaluating you as well as your car. Do you come across as honest? Trustworthy? How you appear to others at this stage could make or break a deal. If they want to test-drive the car (and they will!) make sure they have a drivers’ license and go with them. Ladies use your discretion and be careful of accompanying a man alone. Show them all the reports and maintenance records you have and answer any questions truthfully.
Prepare to Haggle!
Most people who buy cars from private sellers will want to negotiate. They may ask questions like: What’s your best price? Would you accept…? Make sure you’re prepared to haggle and know your bottom line – what’s the least amount you’re willing to accept? And go from there.
Finalize the Sale
Check with your state’s DMV on rules regarding the sale of a vehicle before people come to look at your car. Only accept cash or a cashier’s check. Record the odometer reading, sign the car’s title over to the new owner and remove the license plates (you’ll need to turn them in to the DMV.) A new title will then be issued and sent to the buyer.
Take it to a Dealership
You may consider skipping all the work and taking your car straight to a local car dealership advertising a We Buy Cars program. Many dealers are currently struggling to keep up used vehicle inventory and are willing to pay top-dollar for you vehicle. Even if you are not in the market to buy, most dealerships are willing to make decent to very good offers to buy used cars. Getting a few quotes for your car’s value is still recommended, so that you can establish a baseline expectation for what you vehicle is worth in its current state.
That said, this is no doubt the easiest way to sell your car.
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