If you have a car to sell, you will usually make more money by selling it yourself than selling to a dealer. Being a prepared seller helps the transaction progress more smoothly and results in no surprises. Follow these tips to quickly sell your car and put some extra cash in your pocket.
Step 1: Remove personal belongings from the car and vacuum, wash, and wax it. If the car has minor issues like small scratches, fix these or take a negotiable approach with the asking price. You will get more money for the vehicle if it is clean and in good condition.
Step 2: Get a mechanic to inspect the car. This will identify any problems and help appraise the value. It also prevents potential buyers from saying the price should be lower due to the vehicle needing significant work that is unnecessary.
Step 3: Go to the Kelley Blue Book Web site to research the value of the car. Compare this price with what other sellers are asking online for vehicles of the same year, make, model, trim line, and mileage. This should give you the starting point for asking price. Add some money to this price so you have some bargaining leeway.
Step 4: Advertise the car for sale online, on local bulletin boards at the grocery store, and in the newspaper. Put a sign in the window of the car. To add more pictures to online ads, create a Web site for the vehicle and display additional specifications and photos. Ads should include details about option packages and any aftermarket additions like alarm or stereo systems. If the car has low mileage, has had few owners, non-smoking owners, and is in great condition, mention this. When complete maintenance records are available, gather these and advertise that potential buyers may see them.
Step 5: Use Carfax or a similar service to run a vehicle history report. Print this to show to prospective buyers.
Step 6: Ensure that there are no outstanding tickets on the vehicle. Gather the title, vehicle transfer form or bill of sale (which you can get from the DMV), registration, current emissions certification (if emissions testing has been conducted), and a liability release form (also available from the DMV). When in doubt about all paperwork required, consult with the local DMV for guidance.
Step 7: Before allowing anyone to test drive the vehicle, verify that the person has a valid driver license. Potential buyers may request that their mechanic inspect the car. If you have had this done recently (see Step 2), produce the work order. While the buyer is test driving your vehicle or having a mechanic look at it, hold onto his or her car keys as security.
Step 8: Once you have agreed on the selling price, request payment via certified check or cash only. Never accept installment payments or personal checks.
Step 9: Complete the bill of sale, sign it, and have the buyer sign it. Add the wording “Car being sold in as-is condition without any warranty or guarantee” to the document. Make a copy for yourself and the buyer.
Step 10: Sign over the vehicle title to the buyer.
Step 11: Complete the liability release form.
Step 12: Cancel car insurance coverage for the vehicle so you will not be responsible for anything that happens once the vehicle leaves your possession.
Step 13: Give the car a final review to make sure you have removed your personal items. Remove the license plates before allowing the buyer to take the car. If the police stop the buyer during the drive home, the bill of sale will serve as proof of ownership.