How To Sell A Car

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Here’s The Three Best Ways To Sell Your Car

  1. Sell your car privately (pays the most, but the highest level of difficulty)
    • Craigslist
    • Facebook Marketplace
    • Cars
  2. Sell your car to a car buying service (pays more than a dealer and less than privately, but the easiest level of difficulty to sell)
    • CarMax
    • TheCarBuyer
    • Carvana
  3. Sell your car to a dealer (pays the least and likely will be low-balled)

Steps to Prepare For The Sale of Your Car

Once you know how you’ll proceed with the sale of your vehicle (private, dealership, car buyer service) here’s what you’ll need to prepare.

The Paperwork

  • Certificate of Title – simply called the title or the pink slip
  • DMV transfer of ownership forms 
  • Financial information for your car loan – call your lender and see what may be required for your situation
  • Vehicle History Report – It’s best to have your own copy of this to compare with what a dealer might be showing you.

Cleaning & Minor Repairs for the Vehicle

  • Clean the exterior and interior of the car. Give it that “curb appeal.” Don’t forget to clear the trunk to show the potential buyer the full space available.
  • Fix broken tail lights, fuses and other minor repairs. Don’t go overboard, only simple repairs
  • Fill all fluids – you’ll want to avoid scenarios where wipers don’t respond or a service light turns on for an easily preventable cause 
  • Inspection by a trusted mechanic – Know the actual condition of your car, you’ll want to avoid surprises when selling.

Advertise, Negotiate, Close the Sale

  • Invest your time and energy into the advertising efforts mentioned here for private sales, including photos and listings of your vehicle, meeting with potential buyers and beyond.
  • Be prepared to negotiate to get the very best sale value possible for your car. Knowing the value of your vehicle is of utmost importannce to you!
  • Complete the transfer of funds and vehicle – Don’t forget the DMV paperwork, to account for sales tax, and use recommended payment methods conducted at a financial institution for private sales.
  • Hand off your keys!  

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How To Sell a Car Privately?

It’s often said that choosing to sell your car privately — no dealerships or 3rd party services involved — nets the best value possible for your vehicle. This rings true for highly in-demand vehicles that can accomplish a quick sale. Tho this is true, make sure you realize that with a private sale, all of the effort is on the seller to accomplish each and every details of the car sale.

What does it mean to sell my car privately?

Selling your car privately simply entails you, the owner of the vehicle, selling to the public. This usually involves listing your vehicle for sale on popular third party vending sites/apps like:

List of Third Party Car Marketplaces

  1. eBay Motors
  2. Facebook Marketplace
  3. Craigslist
  4. Cars.com
  5. Hemmings
  6. True Car
  7. CarGurus
  8. AutoTrader

Process of Selling a Car Privately

When you choose to sell your car privately, you will be responsible for the money, time and energy it takes to accomplish the following:

  1. Find out what your car is worth 
  2. Collect a free vehicle history report using CarFax 
    • Selling a car with a clean vehicle history report, or CarFax, will promote a higher sale price of your vehicle
  3. Advertise the sale of  your vehicle 
    • Utilize the above list of helpful website and applications if you do wish to sell your car on your own
  4. Upload your vehicle’s photos and details to third party car marketplaces
  5. Prepare to meet and show your vehicle to potential buyers
    • You will need to be prepared to interact with interested customers online and in person in order to achieve your goal of selling your vehicle privately.
    • Be ready to take the time to meet in person with a number of potential buyers before you finalize the sale of your vehicle.
    • With our experience, be prepared to spend a good amount of time dealing with people who are not actually interested or are planning on giving you a low offer once you meet in person.
  6. Schedule Test Drives
    • Potential buyers will need to test drive your vehicle. You’ll need to make those arrangements with them, verify their driving credentials and accompany them for the ride.
  7. Allow access to a mechanic
    • Often the savvy buyer will bring their own mechanic if they are not one themselves. Be prepared to allow them to inspect the car.
  8. Negotiate to Get The Highest Price
    • Make sure you have the skills it takes to negotiate a fair and competitive price for your vehicle. Don’t forget to account for required taxes in the sale of your car.
  9. Prepare the Paperwork for the Private Sale
    • If you and the potential buyer have agreed on the price, you’ll need to prepare vehicle registration and sale paperwork from the DMV and have your Title Deed (pink slip) ready to sign over to the buyer.
  10. Collect Secure Payment
    • Cash or a Cashier’s Check is always the safest route. Because checks can be falsified, it’s often recommended that you meet at the buyer’s bank to confirm available funds and authenticity of payment.
  11. Avoid Scams
    • Online scams exist, don’t be fooled by money order schemes asking you to wire money for a larger amount than you’ve agreed to. Verify the identity of the buyer, including name and address.

For the extremely business savvy individual, selling your car privately might not feel like a major outpouring of your time and resources. But for others, the effort may soon feel more like one big headache. If that’s the case, consider having a dealership or car buyer service on your side.

Some sellers like the traditional route of selling their car to a dealership. There’s really nothing simpler than bringing your car in, receiving the appraisal of the value of your vehicle, accepting the offer, signing the paperwork and heading away with money. Dealership sales are no doubt the most convenient method for selling your vehicle, but it’s important to consider and understand the full picture of a dealership sale.

How To Sell Your Car to a Car Buying Service?

Sometimes referred to as “small dealerships,” a car buying service won’t necessarily have an inventory of vehicles on a traditional car lot. Instead, they will specialize in quickly buying the car you wish to sell, much like a larger dealership, but without the overhead operational costs of a traditional dealership. There’s a lot to like about this approach to a car sale. Here’s typically how it works:

The Best Way To Sell Your Car – Fast, Quick & Easy

Here’s how it works:

  1. Submit the details of your car over the phone or using an online form
  2. Receive a blind appraisal offer for the purchase of your vehicle
    • This offer is an approximation.
    • Final Value will be determined after an in-person inspection
  3. Schedule an appraisal and inspection at the car buyer location
  4. Confirm the sale price – their team will verify the value of your car after inspection and will confirm your online quote is consistent with their findings
  5. Complete all paperwork – skip the DMV line and finalize the sale in one location
  6. Receive your payment – expect to receive your payment on the same day by means of cash, business check, or cashiers check
  7. Enjoy a free ride home – some reputable companies provide free Uber or Lyft services or a company shuttle van so you’re not stranded
  8. Option to Trade-In? Many reputable small dealerships and car buyer services have a trade-in department if you’re on the hunt for a new car
    • Be sure to let the buying agent know that you are interested in getting a new vehicle, because you should be able to get a discount on your next purchase or lease.
    • Learn how to trade in a car.

How To Sell Your Car to a Dealership?

  1. Cars in excellent condition are typically worth more
    • If your car no longer runs, you’ll probably need to consider alternatives like a vehicle donation or selling the car for parts.
  2. You will need to know your vehicle’s value
    • It may be helpful to conduct your own research before scheduling appointment to sell your car. Utilize all available online resources as provided in the third party car marketplace sites.
    • Checking for your similar vehicles year, make, model, color, condition and miles in the ‘completed listings’ section of these sites will help you determine your vehicles value.
    • Understand that your vehicles value at a a dealer will be worth less than what you may receive from a private sale.
  3. The dealer will inspect your vehicle
    • Run a vehicle history report and be prepared for the dealer to test drive your car.
  4. Receive an offer
    • Evaluate it (online tools are helpful), negotiate where appropriate and act quickly to make a decision. The market value of your car can change from week to week, so delaying or taking longer than needed may have a negative effect on the price you’re hoping for.
  5. Complete the paperwork
    • Close the sale by completing all paperwork to transfer the vehicle and clear you of any outstanding loans. When you arrive with your title and don’t owe on the vehicle, it’s quite reasonable to expect a certified check on the same day or within 48 hours max.

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