Trade In or Sell Myself?
The process of selling a vehicle may seem daunting. But if the value of your car or truck is worth more than the trade-in, it’s worth selling it outright.
It doesn’t have to be complicated; it just requires some effort and planning. The right preparation can remove the stress, maximize your cash, and get your car sold in little more than a weekend.
Consider this helpful list so you can learn how to sell your car. The first step is deciding how much your vehicle is worth.
Setting the Asking Price
The amount you will gain from selling it privately as opposed to trading it in is the largest factor in your decision. Determining your car’s value is as simple as checking a few resources:
Once you know the value, set your asking
price a bit higher, but don’t go above the next thousand.
This keeps your price competitive without turning away prospective buyers. It also gives you room to negotiate. If you don’t want to settle, set your price AT value and list the price as “firm” when you advertise.
Collect the Paperwork Collecting everything you need upfront will save you stress at the last minute.
Visit your local DMV online to find your state’s requirements for transferring a motor vehicle title.
The DMV recommends you have:
The title, often referred to as your pink slip. It gives you the legal right to sell the car.
Warranty documents, if still applicable.
Maintenance records. If you haven’t kept these, you should be able to get them from the mechanic who handles your work.
Bill of sale to document the terms and conditions.
Release of Liability to keep you from being liable for problems or accidents incurred after the date of sale.
If you still have an outstanding loan, call your lender to see how to arrange the sale, as paying off the loan is your legal requirement.
Finally, order a
Carfax or AutoCheck report. This will give all the needed answers about previous owners, accidents, and more.
Prospective buyers will want one. It shows good faith on your part to provide it.
Now it’s time to work on curb appeal.
Increase Your Car’s Resale Value
This step is simple: clean your vehicle. Whether you do it yourself or take it to a car wash to have it professionally detailed, this is vital.
Remove everything from the seats, floors, glove compartments, door pockets, and trunk.
Wash, wax, vacuum, and detail it until it looks as new as possible. Nobody wants to pay for someone else’s dirt. You want a prospective buyer to feel they are getting a car that is well cared for.
Once clean, park it in an attractive location and take multiple photos taken in good light and from every angle.
Include driver’s seat, back seat, odometer, tire tread, trunk space, and engine. These pictures are your buyer’s first impression, make them count.
Now to advertise!
Create a Good Car Ad
Decide where to advertise. If you’re in a high-traffic area, sometimes a simple “For Sale” sign in the window is enough. But for most, it’s necessary to list your vehicle in other ways, like:
Craigslist – it’s free and everyone has access to it.
AutoTrader – Basic ads are inexpensive, and their website can be searches across the country.
eBay Motors – You have the option of buying an inexpensive ad or listing your car for auction.
Your local newspaper – Classified ads can be made in both the hard copy editions and via their online presence.
Creating a good ad means keeping it simple but thorough. It should include all the needed information.
List the make, model, mileage, exterior and interior color, general condition, and of course, your asking price.
It’s also a good idea to include the mpg, tire condition, history of accidents or damage, modifications, and either the VIN or a link to the Carfax/AutoCheck report.
Finally, include a way to contact you, whether phone, email, or other.
Kelley Blue Book has a great page on how to create the best ad. Finalize the Sale
Always arrange to meet buyers at a safe place, and if possible, take a friend along. Go along with them on test drives.
Many potential buyers may want a mechanic’s inspection, which is fine, but they should pay for that themselves.
Let the buyer make the first offer. Once a price is agreed on, accept only cash or a cashier’s check as payment.
Fill out and submit all the paperwork from your bank and the DMV.
Finally, you should complete the bill of sale and sign the title. Congratulations, your job is done. Now, hand over the keys!