Tips and Advice for Selling a Used Vehicle

There are many steps and procedures one should take when deciding to sell a used vehicle.  Preparing for the sale of your car can help to make the selling process an easy experience. If you want to get the best price for a sale or trade in, you need to take the time to research all your options.  By following simple procedures, you will ensure that you get the best price for your car and the funds can then be used to purchase your next vehicle.   

The first thing to consider is the market value of your car.  You can find out how easy your car will be to sell by checking the classifieds and seeing the prices of similar vehicles.  Be sure to take into consideration the year, make, and model, mileage, condition of the car, and geographic location.  Also remember, that the time of year can affect the fast sale of certain types of vehicles, especially convertibles.  If your car is a classic it may take longer and may be more difficult to price. Certain cars such as work trucks and family vehicles may sell faster because there is always a need for these types of vehicles.  

Next, you want to determine what the asking price will be for your vehicle.  By researching the classifieds and other online car appraisal sites you can easily figure out the worth of your car.  Be sure to factor in the condition of your car, the mileage, and all the data from your market research.  By pricing your vehicle a little higher than what you expect to get, you will leave room for negotiation with the buyer. If you are selling to a private party, be sure to ask a fair price, if you want to draw a quick sale.  If you are selling to a dealership, or as a trade in, then be prepared to know the true value of your car so that you receive a fair deal when offered.

Just like in real estate, there is always that first impression or “curb appeal” when buying a car.  There are few steps you can take to ensure your car is looking its absolute best before presenting it to a buyer. The car should be brought in for servicing and should be in sound mechanical condition.  Be sure to vacuum and wash car thoroughly or take it to the car wash and have it detailed.  Take all personal belongings out of the car so the buyer can envision the car as their own.  Clean the windows and wipe the dashboard and surfaces.  For an added touch use air freshener to give it that “new car” scent.  Print out a report from to prove the car has a clean title and accurate odometer reading. All these things will add value and help the seller to see the car in it’s best light and presentation.

Decide how and where you want to sell you car.  There are many forums on which you can sell your car.  You can advertise your car on online by use of websites, social media, or online used car marketplaces.  You can also put a for sale sign on your vehicle and sell it the old fashioned way by word of mouth.  Another option is to sell or trade your car through a trustworthy used car dealership.  Consider how you will be buying your next car when making this decision.  If you are buying from a used car dealership, then selling or trading in your car, may be the easiest and most efficient and cost effective way to do this transaction.  You will be dealing directly with the dealer instead of with people you may not know online and both transactions can take place quickly, saving the time and energy it takes to place ads and show the car on your own.  

When negotiating your price with an independent buyer or with a dealership there are many messages that the buyer can send.  If they test drive the car and are interested they might say, “ I like the car, but…”.  If you are really wanting to sell the car quickly, you could respond…”How much are you willing to pay?”  If they say, “What is your best price?”, then do not seem too eager to reduce your price.  If they say “Would you accept…?”, then the buyer is probably motivated to buy and is ready to present an offer with the expectation of a counter offer. If the buyer says something like, “Take it or leave it”, they may be bluffing or seriously leaving no room for further negotiations. The message they are sending is that they are close to a final price and you may need to let them leave and see if they return. If they want to negotiate through email, without seeing the car, ask that they do all negotiations in person.  If you are working with a dealership that is reputable you may have the luxury of avoiding all these negotiations and be offered the fair market value which could be used towards the purchase of your next vehicle.

Finalizing the sale of your car and the rules and regulations pertaining to sales vary in each state. The DMV in your particular state will have all the information you will need and can assist you in the process. Once you agree with the price you must sign over the title and get an odometer reading. It is preferred to receive either cash or a cashier’s check at the time of the sale. A release of liability will also protect you when the buyer drives away and you have established the time of sale. You will want to cancel your car insurance or transfer it to your new car. The handling of the plates and the title will vary from state to state as well.  If you are dealing with a dealership, they will usually handle the paperwork and the DMV work which can also save you time and paperwork.  

Selling your car can be an easy process if you take the time to research and take the steps necessary for a smooth transaction.  Preparing your car for the sale, researching market value, negotiating a deal, deciding where you will be buying your next vehicle, learning the governing rules of your state,  are all very important factors pertaining to your used car sale.  Selling your used car for a fair price will also provide you with extra resources you can use towards the purchase your next vehicle.


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