Selling Your Vehicle Privately

selling car privately

Sooner or later, there comes that point in your life when it is time to get rid of your current vehicle, and get a new one. Regardless of the reason to sell your vehicle, there are a few ways to do it.

Taking the car to the dealership as trade-in, or selling it to dealers/brokers is pretty self explanatory. Just take your title, have them give you an offer, and exchange your keys for a check. Perhaps the most pain-free way to deal with the car you no longer want is to work with AutoLand, where we’ll do all the legwork and you simply get paid.

There is, however, another option that many owners consider, and that is selling privately. Selling your car privately is much more complex, long and effort-intensive. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, it can and up yielding a bit more money for your car. Here are a few tips on how to make this process easier:

Advertising

Forget the local newspaper. People do not read newspapers anymore, much less the car classifieds on the back page. Everything is done on the Internet, and placing your car’s information and photos on a car trading site for a small fee is guaranteed to give you more exposure.

Photos

You are your car’s salesman, so make sure your car looks great. Wash it, clean it, polish it, and take it outside on a sunny day for the advertisement photos. Your first/primary photo should show the entire car, typically showing the the front and passenger side on an angle, at an average person’s height level. Subsequent pictures should show all sides of the car, and the condition of tires and wheels. Take some photos of the interior with the doors, sunroof or convertible top open to get the most light. Even if the car has seen better days, a good photo will get you more noticed than a newer car with a bad one.

Can I Take it For a Spin?

Once you start getting some interest, be weary of people who ask if they can drive the car before they have ever seen it. They may just want to drive the car, and are usually not serious about buying. If a potential buyer asks to drive the car after looking at it, make sure to come with them, and, if possible, make sure you have a friend or family member with you. Don’t let your desire to sell the car put you in a potentially dangerous situation. If you feel uncomfortable, you are in full right to refuse the test drive.

Will You Take a Check?

Once hands have been shaken, and your potential buyer is happy with the condition of your car, the portion of the deal involving money and legal documents can be tough, and uncertain. Do not take personal checks, or cash, unless your car is worth less than 1 grand. Specify in the ad that you want to be paid with a cashier’s check. It is money guaranteed by the issuing bank, is extremely hard to forge, and cannot be written if the account does not have enough money to cover it. Do not sign over any legal documents, or hand over the keys until the full amount has been deposited into your account.

Avoid dealing with people who claim to be out of the country, or ask to deal through an escrow account. Those are instant red flags.