If you want to sell your used vehicle before buying a car, there are a series of steps you’ll need to take to make sure you get it right. Not only will you want interested buyers to see you as legitimate, but you’ll also want all maintenance to be up to date, all terms and conditions to be set, and you’ll want the sale price to be fair for both you and the buyer. Because you’re trying to sell a used car on your own, it can be more difficult, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea. Knowing all the proper steps and doing your research is the first step.
Of course, before you do anything, you’ll want to make sure it’s in amazing shape for potential buyers. That means before you put the car for sale or start showing the car, you’ll want to get your car detailed. Make it as clean as possible so you can take amazing pictures of it and have it ready for inspection by potential buyers.
Once the outside looks amazing, you’ll need whatever is underneath the hood to look just as good. Get your car serviced before selling your car so that you know every piece and part is in tip-top shape, from the oil to the engine and beyond. You can’t sell a car with parts that don’t work unless you disclose those things. Your maintenance records will be presented with the bill of sale, so it's important to be upfront about those things in order for the whole process to go smoothly.
When you’re trying to sell your used vehicle, you’ll need to know the market. Do your research on what price other people are selling used cars for in your area. Not just used cars in general either, but cars that are comparable to your car’s year, make, and model. You want to make sure, before selling your car, that you’re going to be pitching in the same ball game. This is also something to consider for people considering how to buy a car from a private seller, so they don't get ripped off in the process.
Once you’ve done your research, you can make the next step in trying to sell your used vehicle and set a price. This is when you’ll actually be able to post your car for sale with your personal information and the sale price listed. Make sure when you set your price that it is comparable to the market. It is always good to start at a higher price and then lower it as needed, because if you start at a lower price, you won’t be able to raise it later.
When you sell your used vehicle, you will have to advertise it yourself, because you won’t have a dealership to do this part for you. You can create “for sale” signs to place on your vehicle as you continue to drive it or if you plan on parking the car in a high traffic location. You can also use the Internet to your advantage and post your listing on social media, Craigslist, and other used vehicle-sales websites. Hopefully, you’ll attract potential buyers this way.
Once potential buyers start to contact you about your used vehicle, you can start showing the car. You can offer test drives if you are comfortable with it, or you can drive the car while your potential buyer rides with you. Then, they are at least able to see that the car runs efficiently.
When you get a potential buyer who is interested in purchasing your vehicle, you two will agree on a set price, and this is when the official paperwork and purchase will begin. A pre-purchase inspection should be scheduled for the vehicle, so that the buyer can be assured that the vehicle is in complete working condition as you’ve claimed. That way, no legal action can be taken after the sale if something is to go wrong on the back end. This inspection is good for you and for the buyer because it happens before the purchase is made and it will keep you both safe in the long run.
Once the inspection is clear to sell your used vehicle, you’ll have to get paperwork set up that allows the potential buyer to purchase the vehicle from you. Even if you are attempting to buy a car with cash, you’ll most likely need to complete the bill of sale, sign over the title to the buyer, fill out a release of liability, provide copies of maintenance records, provide warranty documents, and get a cashier’s check for the full price of the car from the buyer. In some instances, there will need to be a cashier’s check that will come from the buyer's bank because they took out a loan for the car.
When you sell your used vehicle, there is always a second option of selling to a dealership instead. In this process, you would simply take your vehicle to a dealership, they would tell you what your car is worth, give you the money for it, and walk you through all the steps to buy the car from you. It’s a much simpler process because the dealership handles the intricacies of selling of your vehicle; however, you may get a worse deal for your car if you do it this way. It’s all a matter of time versus money, and whether you think it’s worth the effort spent to sell your used car yourself; otherwise, you put yourself at risk of the most common mistakes people make at the car dealership.
Now that you see all the steps required to sell your used vehicle, it’s important to remember to be cautious through this entire process. When selling your car on your own, you never know who you might be dealing with. You must screen every potential buyer that comes your way to make sure you don’t get scammed. Put your safety first, and stay alert.