Selling your car can get you thousands more in cash than the trade-in value. But how can you make that sale, without being taken for a ride?
If you are thinking of selling your car, you may be wondering:
- where to advertise,
- how to show the car,
- what must be done to ensure a fair price,
- how to fill out and hand over the paperwork.
Below are some tips to help you get the most money for your used car, safely and effectively.
First, shout it from the rooftops: a fantastic car is for sale! Advertise as much as you can. Some websites are free, like craigslist.org. Others, such as CarsDirect.com and Cars.com, offer both free and premium options.
Another website, BestCarFinder.com, lists cars for sale by owner. Posting on BestCarFinder – which is also free – may be a good way for you to reach a targeted market. Many potential buyers have their reasons for preferring private sellers (that would be you) over dealers.
Wherever you advertise, upload many as many photos as you can of your fine automotive specimen.
Another idea, especially if your car is on the older side, is to stick a large “For Sale” sign in the window with your phone number, and park the vehicle in a public place. When that nice-looking car is right in front of their eyes, passersby can easily visualize owning and driving it. Warning: make absolutely sure that you have parked it legally. The last thing you need is a towing bill – am I right?
Speaking of money, it’s important to have a firm idea of the price you want. The blue book is still pretty much the bible on this one. My father, who has bought and sold used cars as a hobby for most of his life, says that your used car price needs to be “in the ballpark” of the bluebook value. Too low and people suspect that something is seriously wrong with your car. Too high and – well, you’ll still be stuck with the car, which was not your objective.
Once you get a potential buyer, arrange to meet in a public place. You don’t want random people you meet online to know where you live, do you?
Before you go to the appointment, remember: presentation is everything. Pretend your car is on a first date. Get it detailed inside and out. It must sparkle with cleanliness and smell minty-fresh.
Finally, did you get that price you wanted? No, you didn’t - unless the buyer has given you cash. Any experts you ask on this point will tell you: do not sign the bill of sale without cold hard cash in your hands. Go to the buyer’s bank with him if you have to, but do not take a personal check or any other form of payment. You will have no recourse if the check is bad.
One more caution: never agree to deliver the car to an out-of-state location. Online car experts say 99% or more of requests to do so are from fraudulent buyers.
Once you’ve made the legitimate sale and have the money, do the paperwork. Just fill out the mileage, price and address on the bill of sale, sign it, and sign over the title.
Done! You’ve made the world a better place by earning more money and giving another human being the chance to drive a marvelous car.