Selling a used car isn't as difficult as it might seem. Even if it's your first time, it is possible to sell your car fast and get the most money possible without a major hassle. Doing your research about market value, advertising and increasing the car's curb appeal can go a long way in creating a quick and easy sale.
How to Sell a Used Car
Clean up the car.
There's a reason that all of the cars at the dealership look so clean and new. You are more likely to sell the car when it looks like it's been taken care of. Thoroughly wash and wax the car, clean the Windows, throw away any clutter, vacuum the interior, detail the trim, clean the upholstery and apply tire gloss. If you don't want to do it yourself, you can take the car to a professional detailer, but this can be costly. The goal is to make the car look as clean, shiny and new as possible to attract any potential buyers.
Consider mechanical problems. Before selling the car, determine if it has any mechanical problems. You should repair small things like burnt-out lights or fuses and fill up the vehicle's fluids. If you aren't sure about the car's condition, take it to a mechanic to have the car inspected. Whether you want to fix the problems or sell the car as-is, you can show the potential buyers the report so they know what they're getting themselves into. Locate service and maintenance receipts so you can show the buyers that you took good care of the car.
Find your car's value.
It's important to price your car according to your area and the car's condition. Over-pricing and under-pricing are common mistakes that sellers make, so do your research. Check out other used car listings and use pricing calculators to find out the private seller value of your car. If the car needs repair work, you should lower the price accordingly. If you still owe money on the vehicle, contact your loan holder to determine the best course of action. In some cases, you can pay off the rest of the loan with the money you receive from the buyer at the time of sale.
Decide how you'll advertise your car.
Do you want to list it at online auction sites or in classified ads? Social media and word-of-mouth are other valuable methods to let people know you're selling. You can also put a "for sale" sign in the window of the car and park it in an safe area where a lot of people pass by. If you want to make a sale quickly, use as many methods as possible. When posting an ad, include the car's condition, note it's best features and selling points, and post clear pictures of the interior and exterior. Be realistic, but be sure to mention the car's best points, such as low mileage or an immaculate interior. If no one smoked in the vehicle, that's a big plus. Make sure you play up the best features of the vehicle.
Meet the buyers. Decide where you'll meet any potential buyers. If you don't feel comfortable meeting strangers at your home, you can arrange to meet them somewhere in a public place. Don't accept offers from or meet with people who sound suspicious. Once you do have a meeting set up, approach the potential buyers pleasantly and answer questions openly enough so that they feel comfortable with you. Allow them to test-drive the car and ride along with them, or bring a friend or family member if you feel more comfortable that way. If they want to go alone and you trust them enough, copy their driver's license information and agree upon a set time limit. Write down their cell phone number, as well. If they want to learn about the history of the vehicle, show them the service and maintenance records so they know that the car has been well-maintained.
Negotiate for the maximum sale price.
If you receive an offer for the vehicle, be ready to negotiate a price. You should have a set minimum price that you won't go below, unless you need to get rid of the vehicle very quickly. There is no set way to negotiate the price, but read the potential buyer and consider your responses carefully. You do not have to sell the car to the first person that looks at it. In some cases, buyers who declined the initial price return the next day after thinking it over.
Close the deal.
Once you come to an agreement with the buyer, it's time to deal with the paperwork. Collect the payment. Transfer the car title according to your location's specific laws. Print out a bill of sale form that includes the car's VIN number and description, as well as the price, date of sale and the names of both the buyer and the seller, and ask the buyer to sign it. Make copies of all the paperwork. When the new owner takes the car, contact your insurance company to remove it from your policy. Congratulations! You've successfully sold your used car.
Tips, Tricks & Warnings
- If your car is in an undesirable condition, but you need to get rid of it quickly, consider selling it to a dealership. You might not get a good price, but they'll usually take the vehicle off your hands.
- Collect the payment and verify it BEFORE you transfer the title. Use your discretion to determine an acceptable form of payment.