Selling a Car Yourself
Selling a vehicle privately instead of at a used car lot has its benefits. You are likely to get more money by selling your vehicle privately rather than trading it to a car dealer. However, there are several important factors to be considered before putting your car up for sale. With the right set of knowledge, you will be able to easily set a fair price for the car and avoid scammers who tend to prey on used-car sellers.
In order to avoid any hassles, you should know these 12 things about selling your car yourself.
Before you put the vehicle up for sale, you have to establish its true value. This is the only way you are going to set the fairest asking price. There are online sources that can assist you to quickly find out the car’s value based on its model, make, and condition. Here are some good online sources:
It is also important to note that vehicle prices can vary by city and state. You can also look at websites of used-car dealers in your area to see how much your vehicle would go for. If you overprice the vehicle, you will be greatly disadvantaged because you won’t attract any buyers.
2. Fix and Clean the Car
When it comes to sales, the first impression can either make or break you. The car has to be in good physical condition to attract more buyers. Even if the vehicle is in good mechanical shape, prospective buyers can be turned off if it has a dirty interior or muddy body. Detail the car and make sure any mechanical issues have been repaired.
Make sure you have gathered all the necessary paperwork you will need before you begin the sale. These usually include warranty information (if there is still any coverage) and the title (if your car loan is completely paid off). Having this paperwork beforehand will make finalizing the sales much quicker and efficient.
Make sure your car’s title is clear – which means it’s not showing a lien holder. Sometimes what happens is, your bank will give you something stating that the car is paid for but you still have to pass that on to your state’s Motor Vehicle Department so that it can show it as paid off on the car’s title.
4. Collect Vehicle Maintenance and Repair Records
Collect all the maintenance records – this is everything from oil changes to tires, to brakes to whatever. These records will help potential buyers feel at ease because they know the vehicle was well cared for. You can also buy a vehicle history report then print out recent price estimations. Maintenance records can also be used to answer a potential buyer’s questions and concerns about the car’s condition.
5. Look out for Scammers
There are several private car sale related scams. One solid way of avoiding scams is to request picture identification from any potential buyers. If a buyer refuses to provide ID, then there is a high chance you are dealing with a scammer it someone will ill intent.
If you advertise your car on Craig’s List, then be especially careful of who contacts you. You might get people saying they need the car and will buy it without seeing it. If it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. Be smart.
6. Advertising is Important
Slapping a “for sale” sticker at the rear window simply does not cut it. You have to increase your chances of selling your vehicle by making sure you have fully utilized car-buying websites and free online classifieds.
Look for free advertising options and exhaust them before you start paying for any ads. Also use social media to spread the word about your vehicle. When creating an online ad, make sure you include a lot photos of the vehicle’s exterior and interior.
7. Be Willing to Compromise
More often than not, buyers tend to offer a few hundred dollars less than the initial asking price. You can pad the asking price a bit, while remaining fair and competitive. You have to be willing to knock off a couple hundred dollars.
8. Deal with the DMV
Every state DMV has their own set of requirements; however, a general requirement is that you have to provide a clear title and that the car must be loan free. You have to document the sale to the DMV. There are some states that require a smog test for vehicles past a certain year. The odometer reading has to be verified before a sale.
Check to make sure everything is in order with the laws in your area if you want a successful car sale without problems.
9. Time Frame
Believe it or not, some times of the year are much better for selling vehicles than others. For example, most people are not interested in purchasing a car around or during the holidays because their focus is on other expenses such as holiday parties and gifts. A good time to put your car up for sale would be tax refund season. This is a time when people have extra cash to spend on huge purchases like vehicles.
10. Avoid Sharing Personal Information
There are some people who target private car sellers in order to attain their personal info and use it to commit identity theft or property damage or theft. Avoid this risk by clearing all personal info from the car such as registration and insurance information that can be linked back to you. Also meet potential buyers away from your residence.
11. Limit Test Drives
Never allow more than one test driver in the car at any given time. Every potential buyer must provide a valid driver’s license and ID before going for a test drive. Lastly, never allow a potential buyer to drive the vehicle alone.
12. Verify the Payment in Full
Don’t surrender possession of the car till the car payment has fully been made and verified. If possible, do not accept any personal checks. Let every potential buyer know that the preferred mode of payment is cash, cashier’s check or money order.
If you’ve never sold a used car by yourself, then do good research or maybe you have a friend that has done it and would be willing to help you. If something doesn’t feel right in your gut, then trust your gut and say no. You don’t want to learn something the hard way.
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