How the Pandemic Affects Private Car Sales

The pandemic resulted in many changes to the way we interact with people, not to mention the way we carry out business and function among the general public. Whether it’s buying groceries, going to the park, or simply running errands, we have all been required to work through these things.

Realistically, COVID has changed the world — even the process of buying and selling vehicles. While the general workings of how we buy and sell things remain in place, we‘ve had to implement new procedures. Although some restrictions have been reduced, there are still safety precautions that must be considered.

How the Pandemic Affected Car-Buying

Before we assess the changes to the car-selling process, it’s important to look at the process from the buyer’s perspective. The good news is that the car buying process can be done without the need for much face-to-face interaction. As evidence, consider these 7 basic steps to buying a car:

  1. Set a budget
  2. Get pre-approved for a loan
  3. Check for car deals
  4. Search through multiple dealers
  5. Talk with sales managers
  6. Test drive
  7. Final paperwork and taking delivery

Most of these steps can be done on the phone or online. As such, more and more car sellers are seeing the value of doing business like this—especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selling a Car During Lockdown

During lock-down, the process of selling a vehicle via private-party has provided some difficulties. Many people either lost their job, moved in with family, downsized, or started working from home, all of which greatly impacted vehicle sales. Because of the changes spurred by the lockdown, the process of selling a car on the private market has become a bit more complicated.

Selling your car typically involves five steps:

  1. Get your vehicle ready for sale. This includes performing any maintenance or repairs that could increase the value of the car. For instance, having a working A/C is a major selling point for most people, and having a clean vehicle can greatly increase your resale value.
  2. Compile information on your vehicle. If the vehicle was new when you bought it, you should record any modification and maintenance performed on the vehicle, as well as any issues you experienced with the vehicle. If the vehicle was used, you can include all the modifications, maintenance, and issue notations kept by the previous owner.
  3. Advertise your car. Here’s where the sales process intersects with potential buyers. At this point, you’ll need to advertise your sale—many car sellers use a combination of sales placards, print ads, Craigslist, social media, and word of mouth before the pandemic. During lockdown, online advertisements proved the most successful.
  4. Communicate with buyers. If you have a potential buyer, they’ll likely have questions for you regarding the vehicle. At this stage, buyers will often want to view paperwork and records, see the car in person, test drive, and negotiate price. The pandemic has made this stage difficult for sellers who hadn’t devoted time to online sales methods.
  5. Pay taxes and handle paperwork. During and after the sale you’ll need to pay fees, taxes, and handle paperwork regarding the sale of the vehicle. Unfortunately, many government offices and the DMV operated on limited hours during lockdown.

As you can see, during lockdown, advertising your car and communicating with buyers can place you at risk. There are a few things that you can do to limit your exposure as much as possible

  • Advertise online
  • Upload comprehensive photo or video vehicle tours
  • Scan, upload, and be prepared to email documentation
  • Wear masks when in face-to-face communications with buyers
  • Communicate and enforce masks and sanitization efforts with your buyer
  • Sanitize the vehicle before and after test driving

With some effort, most of the selling process can be completed online. Ultimately, you will still need to sign and complete the paperwork necessary at your local government office and DMV, but with ample preparation, you may be able to handle it electronically.

Selling a Car Online

Even before the pandemic hit, more and more buyers were researching, building, and even ordering cars online. Similarly, simple paperwork, loan management, and more can be completed online or through the phone. This means the test drive, finalization process, and delivery are the only interactions that must take place face-to-face—and many reputable dealers will deliver to your door for an additional fee.

Just as prominent online car sellers and even some local dealerships have made the car buying process even more accessible to online patrons, it is now possible to sell your car online, as well.
Online car buyers can streamline the process by allowing you to supply information, receive a speedy offer, schedule pickup at your home, and receive instant payment—all online. If you wish, you can drop your car off at one of the many local centers, depending on your level of comfort and your area’s lockdown status. This innovation makes online car sales ideal for lockdown and our new normal.

Sell Online Amid Lockdown

Protecting yourself and others has been the ultimate concern since the start of the pandemic. Whether you’re selling online or locally to a private party, as long as you communicate and enter the process prepared to sell, most buyers will be more than willing to do the same. In particular, buyers like CarVIO make the process safe, easy, and reliable. Call (760) 493-7781 or visit CarVIO’s FAQ section to learn more about how selling your car online via a trusted, online sales platform can keep you safe amid the pandemic.

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