So, you’re ready to get rid of that beat up old car that was a hand-me-down from your grandma. It’s was your first car, and it’s been a great car, but the time has come for an upgrade. Trading it in can be the easiest way to get rid of it quickly, but it will not get you much money. If you’re looking for the best way to get the most money, selling privately is the way to go. Sure, it will take a bit of time and effort, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Below are all the tips to help you get the most when selling your car.
Get a Tune up
‘It takes money to make money’ is very applicable here. The first thing you’re going to want to do is take your car in to get a tune up. You don’t have to go crazy here and fix every little thing, but you do want to make sure you’re selling a car that runs well and has all of the basics working.
Make sure the tires aren’t flat, the lights all work, there aren’t any cracks or leaks, and the battery is charged. Covering small things like this can go a long way.
Fix any mechanical issues
While you’re in the shop, find out about any mechanical issues your car may be having. If you’re willing to fix them, you will definitely reap benefits from the return of a higher price. But if you don’t want to spend money, you should consider getting a quote anyways to let potential buyers know what they’ll be taking on. A common courtesy like this means you care about the car and who you’re selling to.
Get vehicle history report
By law you’re required to obtain a vehicle history report when selling your car. This document lets the potential buyer know everything about the car, like accident history, past car owners, title status, and mileage. It will also impact how high you’re able to price the car and how much buyers are willing to pay.
Clean It Up
Hey, no one wants to buy a dirty car. It may have served as your garbage can for fast food wrappers and plastic bottles, but that’s not what potential buyers want to see. Make sure you clean it up, and you could even consider getting it detailed.
While this can be pricey depending on where you go, it will definitely be worth it. If you smoked in your car, or your car was victim to messy kids and pets and now it’s covered in weird stains, this will help eliminate that. It can help make your car look and feel brand new, which in turn means you can up the price.
When you sell privately, you will need to list your car somewhere like Craigslist or Kelly’s Blue Book. These sites get hundreds of local car ads a day, so it’s important that you take high quality photos to help you stand out.
If you own a nice camera, or know someone who does, consider using it. However, phones these days also have excellent cameras and you’ll probably be fine using one instead. You just want to make sure you are taking clear, high resolution photographs. Posting any that are blurry or dark will make attracting buyers difficult.
Another tip for taking and posting photos of your vehicle is to take many! The more the merrier here. Take exterior shots, interior shots, close ups of any special features like sunroofs or seat warmers, and be sure to be upfront about any scratches or dents. This way potential buyers know exactly what to expect from your vehicle and there are no misunderstandings.
Write about it
In addition to posting photos, you will need to write up a description of your car, explaining all of the important details. You will need to write about the basics like the make, model, color, condition, and mileage, as well as any unique aspects that buyers should know about.
This is a good opportunity to disclose any background information about the car, like accidents it’s been in or mechanical issues that haven’t been fixed. That way everything is transparent and there are no confusions.
The more websites you list your vehicle on, the more offers you’ll get. Craigslist, AutoTrader, and Cars.com are obvious ones, but also consider social media websites such as Facebook, or apps like Nextdoor. Facebook and Nextdoor are both sites that can help you reach your local communities, while the others can help you cast a wider, statewide or national net.
Once your car ad is posted online and it’s live, you will start to see offers roll in. Check your email and messages frequently so you don’t miss any, and respond promptly to the ones that interest you. The internet can be a pretty wild place, but always remember to be courteous and polite regardless.
Screen Potential Buyers
Now that people are responding to your ad, have them call you to vet how serious they are. Talking on the phone is a good way to figure out who they are and what they want out of the transaction, and if they’re really ready to move forward with you.
It would be a shame to spend time corresponding with people who don’t agree with your terms or aren’t serious about buying.
Escrow services can be used for the transfer of ownership from anything to houses, jewelry, and cars. It makes sure that large sums of money are protected from both parties involved and isn’t released until all paperwork is signed and everyone is satisfied with the deal.
You may encounter a buyer that wants to use one, and that can be great. Escrow services provide peace of mind to both the seller and buyer by creating a safe and neutral environment for the exchange of money, but be wary of fraudulent sites.
Some sites will claim they are endorsed by credible companies, such as TrustE, to trick you, but this is not the case. Make sure you do background checks before handing over any amount of money.
Keep a paper trail
This is a valuable tip for entering any kind of agreement with a stranger, but especially when it comes to selling your car, remember to collect and keep all documents organized. Both you and the buyer will be required to fill out paperwork for the title transfer and you should always make sure you hold on to it in case you need it in the future.
Additionally, keep records of your correspondences and the buyer’s driver’s license or other identification documents. It’s always better to have this than not.
How to spot scammers
If you’re not familiar with the internet or online marketplaces, it can be tricky to spot scammers. The world-wide web is a wonderful place full of infinite possibilities, but just like the real world, there are always people trying to take advantage of the unassuming. It’s important to remain vigilant when selling things so you don’t get scammed.
Below are some tips to help you recognize when someone is trying to rip you off. Staying aware is your best protection.
Offering to buy it now
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. If you’ve listed your car for 8,000 dollars and someone immediately offers to pay 8,000 dollars up front, you should definitely be suspicious.
This is a common trick. First, they will tell you they will send you the amount, and then you will get an email saying the amount is pending. The only way to get access to the full amount is to pay 1,000 or so dollars for shipping.
If you fall for this and pay the ‘shipping’ cost, you will end up losing money instead of gaining any. Insist that the buyer sees the car before purchasing to avoid these types of scammers.
Third Party Buyers
Another common scam is to reach out to sellers with the promise of many interested buyers, but charging a fee to get you in touch with them.
You should never pay anyone to help you sell your car once you’ve made an ad. Once your ad is up, people can reach you directly, and there is no reason why you would need to pay a third-party person to get you connected with buyers.
Never agree to a monthly payments situation with a stranger. There is no way to ensure that they will pay every month, and they will most likely not follow through with it. I’m sure you always want to see the best in people, but it’s safer to do business with someone who can pay the total upfront than deal with the headache of getting paid every 30 days.
How long should it take to sell a used car?
Selling your car privately takes the longest amount of time out of all the options out there, but guarantees you get the most amount of money. Following all of the steps and tips above definitely takes effort, so keep that in mind if you’re under any type of time crunch.
It’s hard to say exactly how long you can expect to find a buyer, because there are so many different factors involved. It depends on what kind of car you’re buying, what condition it’s in, what the demand for your car is, and how you priced it compared to others on the market.
If you haven’t found an offer you agree with after 30 days, perhaps you should reconsider how much you’re selling it for or what type of information is in your ad.
When Selling a Car What payment should I accept?
There are a few payment options you may be presented with as a seller, but some are better than others.
Cash is the safest and easiest way to go, as it’s the most fool proof way to make sure you’re getting the correct amount of money on the spot.
Checks are another option, but come with a bit more risk. If a stranger is handing you a check in person, there is no way to immediately recognize if it is fake or not.
A solution to this is you could request the buyer meet you physically inside a bank to double check payments on the spot so you are not handed anything counterfeit.
Wire or Bank Transfers
This method of payment is most common among the younger generation, with apps like Venmo, PayPal, CashApp, and Square. They are fairly secure and more convenient than cash or checks, but you cannot send sums larger than 10,000 over them, so keep that in mind.
Stay Safe and Vigilant
Keep these tips and tricks in mind for the next time you decide to sell your car privately. Giving your car a thorough check through to make sure everything is running smoothly mechanically can help boost the cars value, as well as letting potential buyers know exactly what they are getting out of it. Don’t forget to clean the interior and consider getting your car professionally detailed, as this can also make your vehicle more desirable.
Remain vigilant online to avoid scammers and always keep your safety in mind when dealing with strangers from the internet. Avoid getting taken advantage of by remaining cautious, but also respond courteously and promptly to serious sounding offers.
When you meet in person to complete the sale, bring a friend along with you, and make sure you’re in a public place during daylight hours.
And finally, if you’ve read all of this and decided that selling your car privately seems like way too much work, you can always utilize our services at CashCarsBuyer.com. At CashCarsBuyer.com, we take all the hassle out of selling and provide you with the fairest prices for your used vehicles.