Selling Privately

​Private car sales are the most common means for you to enjoy an agreeable price for your vehicle. Stemming from when the first Ford Model T was exchanged between two parties, this very same tradition has carried over into the present day. However, enjoying a tidy profit can be quite challenging if you have never been involved with the process. To make things much easier, let us take a look at some of the variables that you need to keep in mind as well as a handful of ways to be prepared well in advance. A bit of knowledge can go a long way!

Know the Worth of Your Car

Of course, you will first need to know a fair asking price that you can present to the potential buyer. The three best sources to determine this are:

  • Kelley Blue Book
  • NADA Guides

One point here to mention is that there can be times when your vehicle is not worth nearly as much as you had suspected. In this case, you might be better off considering a trade-in through a dealership.

Have your Paperwork Ready

Before advertising your car to private buyers, be certain that all of the necessary is ready. This will include the title, the bill of sale, the registration, proof of insurance and a form known as a Release of Liability (this protects you from any damage claims after you have sold your car). It is also a good idea to have all of the previous maintenance records available upon request. The buyer will likewise be required to present you with his or her forms; the most important arguably being a valid form of identification as well as a bank account number.

Preparing Your Car

Presentation is the key to a successful sale. In other words, let's not forget that there are many times that the cover of a book speaks volumes about its contents. A vehicle which is dirty and has not been properly maintained is likely to hint that the owner had abused it over the years. Although you may not be able to restore your car to pristine condition, there are still some areas which can be addressed. Examples here include:

  • Washing and waxing the exterior.
  • Cleaning or replacing floor mats
  • Cleaning the surface of the engine.
  • Changing the oil and other important fluids
  • Washing the interior and exterior of all windows
  • Properly inflating tires

Be sure to check the functionality of your front and back lights, your emergency blinkers and any interior components (such as heating and air conditioning, any GPS system and power doors or windows). After all of these steps have been completed, you will be wise to take a handful of high-quality pictures and post them during the listing process.

Advertising Options

Depending upon where you live, it is likely that you will have a number of advertising options available. Common sources include local online forums, automotive repair shops, newspapers and magazines. It is always best to use each of these in combination, for the chances of you encountering a buyer willing to pay an optimal price will increase substantially. Be sure to list critical concerns such as the asking price, the mileage, the make and model, the VIN number and any recent repairs that have been made. This will save you a great deal of time as opposed to having to weed through numerous buyers only to find that they have been looking for a vehicle in a different condition.

Payment Options

Although these can vary from person to person, be CERTAIN to make the payment options very clear from the very start of the sales process. Frequent methods include check, wire transfer, PayPal and credit card. There can be times when one may suit you over the other. Should the buyer agree, you may be on your way to a lucrative sale.

Private car sales can net you a great deal of money within a relatively short amount of time. The key is to recognize the variables that need to be addressed. With a bit of foreknowledge, you could soon find that you are in a much better financial position!