If you are looking to get the most out of your car, you may have noticed that you can get more for your car by selling it yourself. This can be more of a hassle than simply offering it to a dealer as a trade-in, but you will be rewarded with a few more dollars lining your pocket. Here's a few suggestions for selling your old set of wheels:
- Preparation: Most of the work to sell a car comes before somebody else ever looks at your vehicle. It should be washed, waxed, and cleaned. Remove all of your personal items from the car. Keep your maintenance records while you own a car so that you can demonstrate how you have cared for the vehicle. The more records you have the better. Buyers want to see regular oil changes and other basic car maintenance. Receipts and service invoices can prove that you've been a good owner. Keep these in a hanging file or similar device so that they will stay neat and organized.
Try to calculate what kind of gas mileage your car actually gets. This can be useful information to have for any prospective buyer.
Many buyers will want to run a vehicle history report such as a "carfax report" on a car before they consider buying it. This report requires the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and he or she may ask you to provide a VIN before viewing the vehicle. Learn more about vehicle history reports at Carfax.
- Appraisal: You'll need to decide how much you want to ask for your car. Learn what your car is worth with the used car appraisal guides at either Edmunds, NadaGuides, or KelleyBlueBook.
- Advertising: Consider how you want to advertise your car. You can place a classified ad in the local paper, or you can sell your car through a number of websites devoted to selling cars. Consider AutoTrader and Cars.com. eBayMotors is also an excellent marketplace to sell your car.
- Making the sale: Now that you've finally attracted a potential buyer, you need to be on your best behavior. Have the car parked in front of your house. Expect your buyer to examine the vehicle a little before he comes to your door. Make yourself available to answer any questions, but be careful not to interrupt them as you will appear bothersome or pushy. If your buyer has a license, offer the keys for a test drive.
If your car has a few problems, don't be afraid to tell your customer. A little honesty goes a long way, and he may feel like you are giving a good deal on a car. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to misrepresent the condition of the car.
Some buyers want warranties for the car they are buying. Most private party sales, however, do not include any type of warranty. Do not make guarantees about the reliability of the car unless you are willing to pay to fix it when it breaks.
- Sold! Once you have negotiated an agreeable price, it's time to accept payment for the car. It's usually best to insist that the buyer pay with cash or a guaranteed check such as a cashier's check.
- Get the paperwork right: The requirements for each state vary slightly, so check with your local Department of Motor Vehicles to determine what documents are required when you sell your car to another person. Generally, this consists of a state-issued bill of sale and title transfer.
Don't forget to take your license plate off the car before the new owner drives off. License plates are generally non-transferable, and it's the buyer's responsibility to obtain a new license plate for the vehicle. Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles to verify the license plate requirements.
Finally, contact your insurance company or agent to remove the car from your policy. If you bought another car, you can add it to your insurance policy at the same time you remove the car you just sold.