7 Tips For Selling a Vehicle Private Sale
Although selling things online does come with some risk, it’s probably the easiest way to sell things nowadays. You can sell everything from a simple code for a video game to a dresser or a pair of shoes online. The best part is, there are tons of different places to list your items, and many of them are free.
The unfortunate truth is that selling things online comes with a lot of inherent risks. You don’t know the person you’re selling to, and unless you’re meeting up in person it can be difficult to accurately gauge their intentions.
Cars are one of the best things to sell online because you can meet up with the other party in person. If you want to sell your car online, there are some things you should know beforehand to make sure the sale goes smoothly. By taking certain precautions, you can have a successful private sale and avoid getting scammed.
1. Where to Sell
The first step to selling your car online is to find the right place to list it. There are a lot of different places where you can list your car for sale online, some of them designed for vehicle sales and some not.
So what should you look for in a listing website? The first thing you should look for is a website with a good reputation. You obviously know the popular choices like eBay and Craigslist, but there are other sites like Cars.com and CarGurus which have made a name for themselves as top online listing websites.
You should also look into the policies of the site you’re using. If something goes wrong for you, do they provide any sort of protection? Is the buyer required to register using real information to discourage them from scamming? While there’s no way to prevent scamming entirely, having policies in place to prevent it is always helpful.
Another important thing to look into is the cost of running an ad. You may be able to place a free ad on a website like Craigslist, but you’ll have to pay a bit to place an ad on most car selling websites.
2. Getting the Best Price
One of the most difficult aspects of private sales is that both parties want the best price, so one person usually gets the short end of the stick. Ideally, you should try to find a price point that benefits both of you.
The key to getting the best deal on your car is to understand that you don’t need to sell it right away. Take plenty of time to research your vehicle and determine a fair price for its make, model, year, and the condition it’s in. You can use websites such as Kelly Blue Book to find this information.
If a buyer offers you a lower price than what you’re asking for, don’t be afraid to turn their offer down. You can let them know that they can contact you if they change their mind, but you don’t have to accept less than your asking price to get your car sold.
No matter what your price is, be realistic. Nobody is going to buy a beat-up ’85 Geo Metro for $5,000, and you shouldn’t expect them to. Setting a more realistic price gives you more realistic expectations and helps you sell your car quicker.
3. Avoiding Scams
Scams run rampant on the internet, but you can avoid them with a bit of tact. The trick to avoiding scams is to recognize when things aren’t right and avoid the temptation of a great price or quick sale.
If the buyer is asking you to provide personal info, that’s an immediate red flag. The only time either of you should exchange any sensitive information is when the buyer is paying via bank transfer.
The best way to avoid scams is to meet up with the buyer. This won’t necessarily protect you from anything bad happening, but it allows you to feel the buyer out before deciding to proceed with the deal. Buyers are also much less likely to attempt a scam if they’re willing to meet face to face.
4. Increasing Value
You may be disappointed when you figure out the true value of your car in its current condition. While there’s nothing you can do to turn your Honda into a BMW, you can bump the resale value up a bit by making some minor repairs.
Hire somebody to remove some of the dents from your car. Large dents and dings can make your car look unsightly, and you can find affordable dent removal services. This will give the car that increases in “curb appeal” that helps it catch the eye.
New brakes are also a good selling point. You can get a set of brakes for a reasonable price and the job can even be done at home. Replacing brakes may be more of a worthwhile prospect on a luxury car, though, so consider simply dropping the price slightly and letting the buyer know that your car needs new brakes.
A cracked or chipped windshield looks bad from a hundred feet away. Have your windshield fixed before you sell your car so people don’t think you’re selling a hunk of junk.
If you’re really serious about upping your car’s resale value, make sure it has good tires on it. Since tires can be relatively expensive, a buyer will expect you to knock a considerable amount off of the price if your tires aren’t new.
You should also make sure your lights are all in working order. They’re super cheap and usually pretty easy to fix, and the buyer will immediately notice if they aren’t working. Plus, it’s illegal to drive without working lights.
5. Screening Buyers
When looking for a suitable buyer for your car, the offer shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. Make sure the buyer is willing to work with your desired payment method and isn’t asking for any sensitive information.
Truthfully, the only way to screen buyers is to meet up with them and decide how you feel about the situation. If a potential buyer gives you a bad vibe or seems a bit sketchy, it may not be a good idea to go through with the sale. It’s important to use your judgment and take things slowly to make sure nothing goes awry.
6. Test Drives
The test drive is perhaps the most important part of selling your car through an online listing. This is where the buyer will get a feel for both you and the car, and where you should answer any final questions and disclose any necessary information.
Make sure you let the buyer know of any little quirks your car may have. If it makes a strange noise or feels a bit odd, let them know so they aren’t caught by surprise—especially if it’s something benign.
When you go for the actual test drive, have the buyer take your car through various scenarios. They should turn it both left and right and drive both slow and fast to make sure nothing triggers a problem with your car. This inspires confidence if everything is in working order.
7. Final Steps
Whether you’re selling your car online or in person, you’ll need to complete a Bill of Sale. Sign and date this Bill of Sale and have the buyer do the same. Next, sign over the title and submit a release of liability to the DMV.
Get a copy of the buyer’s license at the bank while you’re getting paid. This will give you their identity to help protect you from scams, plus you’ll need the information on their license to fill out your release of liability.
Once you’ve received your payment, signed everything over, and submitted your release of liability, you’re all set. If anything happens to go wrong with the payment, you have the buyer’s contact information to get in touch with them or file a police report.