Do’s and Don’ts of Selling a Car

How to Sell Your Car and Get the Most Money and Save Time

If you’re in the market for a new car, one thing that can help with your new car purchase is selling your old car. When you decide to sell your car, it’s a good idea to know some of the things you should and should not do.

When you sell your car, mistakes can be made, like investing too much money in the process of selling. You can also lose money if you don’t know the value that you should sell your car for. There’s even a risk of providing too much personal information and having a potential buyer take advantage of you when you sell your car. The process of selling your car is also time-consuming, so avoiding unnecessary steps can save you time.

Below are some tips on things to avoid and things to do when it comes time to sell your car.

Sell Your Car Do’s

Know the Value of Your Car

In order to sell your car, you will need to know the value. Luckily there are a variety of ways to find the value of your vehicle. There are several websites that you can use to evaluate your car and provide you with both the trade-in and private sale values.

In order to get the accurate value, you will need to know the mileage, condition and factory options your car has.

It’s also a good idea to look at other car marketplaces to see what prices similar cars are being sold at. Comparing your vehicle with online ads for cars that have comparable mileage, condition and options is a good way to get an idea of how much you can sell your car for.

Have a Pricing Strategy

Before you sell your car, it’s a good idea to set a price and ask yourself a few questions. How soon do I need to sell the car? Can I get more money if I allow more time for the sale of the car?

What is the lowest offer I am willing to take for the sale of my car? Should I stay firm on my price or accept a lower offer? What would a reasonable counter-offer be?

When you sell your car, you want to avoid making quick and emotional decisions. Having a pricing strategy when you sell your car will help you get top dollar for your car.

It’s common for sellers to make the mistake of selling their car for the same amount they owe on a car loan. If you use this as the amount you should sell your car for, then you may be selling the car for too much or not enough. If you find that you won’t be able to sell your car and pay off your loan, you will need to be prepared to cover the difference so that you are able to obtain the car title.

Know how to obtain your car title

To prevent any delays in the sale of your car, be sure you have your title already or know how to obtain it. If you still owe on your car, be sure you contact your lender ahead of time to know what steps are necessary to obtain the title.

Not all lenders have the same processes and time frames, so knowing up front what is required will help you be prepared.

If your car is already paid off, locate your title and store it in a convenient but safe location. If you have a home safe, that is an ideal location, but you can also use your bank’s safe deposit box.

In the case of a lost title, you can obtain a new one from your state’s DMV, but this will take some time, so be sure you start this process early.

Get a Car Wash

Every car looks better after a good car wash. It’s a cheap way to make your car look better and appeal to a buyer. Be sure you wash your car before taking any photos as well as before a buyer sees your car in person. In some cases, it may even be worth it to have the car professionally detailed as the end result may lead to a significantly higher offer than if the car was left untouched.

Use Quality Photos

Having photos of your car is a powerful way to advertise your vehicle. Potential buyers want to be able to see pictures of the car versus just a description.

Including multiple angles and pictures of the interior of your car will help as well. It’s also a good idea to use a local park or an empty parking lot when taking photos, and be sure there is plenty of sunlight when possible.

Most cell phones are good enough to take quality pictures of your car. And even though technology allows you to make modifications to your photo, this is not recommended because you need to be honest about the condition of your car.

Having multiple quality photos will help you get the most money for your car.

Allow a Buyer to Perform an Inspection

If a potential buyer requests to have an independent mechanic perform an inspection, the worst thing you can do is say no. As the seller, if you refuse to have an inspection, it’s a red flag to the buyer and you will likely lose the sale. When you sell your car, be prepared for a potential buyer to request an inspection.

Be sure that the inspection is done by a licensed mechanic, but also at the buyer’s expense. Often times, a shop will have someone come to you for the inspection versus taking it to their location. You can also request a copy of the inspection report so that you can provide this to the buyer or any other potential buyers.

Meet a Buyer in a Safe Location

Since it’s likely you will not know the person you will be showing your car to, be sure you plan to meet them in a safe location. You shouldn’t have them come to your home or meet them in a secluded area.

A good location to meet someone is a busy parking lot with plenty of security cameras, like at a shopping center. It’s also a good idea to bring along a friend or family member so that you are not alone when you meet them in-person.

Regardless of how nice the person seems before you meet them, you should never take the chance of being harmed or taken advantage of. The sale of your car is never more important than your safety.

Sell Your Car Don’ts

Repair Your Car

When it comes time to sell your car, it’s common to think that you need to repair any mechanical issues. However, you should not do any significant repairs before selling your car. The cost to repair your car will likely decrease the profit you will get when you sell your car. This is also true for any minor body damage to the car.

However, if you have any mechanical or bodywork that needs to be done to the car, it is a good idea to have an estimate on the cost to repair before you advertise to sell your car. Having an estimate of the cost to repair will help avoid a potential buyer asking for a price drop of $1000 when you know the cost to fix is only $500.

In your advertisement to sell your car, it’s a good idea to be upfront about any major issues with the car. This will save you and the buyer time to avoid looking at the car that they potentially would never be interested in if they knew the issues with the car.

Not Considering using a Car Buying Service

If you find that it will take more time than you have, or if you want to avoid the hassle or need to sell your car fast, you should consider using a car buying service. Using this type of service is convenient, fast, and puts money in your pocket to put toward a new car.

Another thing to consider is if your car has multiple or significant mechanical issues or body damage, using a car buying service can eliminate the risks and headaches of not being able to sell your car.

Take the First Offer

Often times if you are looking to sell your car quickly you will want to take the first offer you receive. It’s a good idea to counter-offer so that you are not leaving money on the table. You might be surprised, but even if the offer is higher than what you are asking, you should make a counter-offer.

One reason to do this is that the person who is wanting to buy the car may not have done their research and is willing to pay more for the car. And as long as you have been upfront about the car, that is ok.

Another reason not to accept the first offer is that it may seem you are over-eager to sell the car because there is something wrong with it.

If you are trading in your vehicle or using a car buying service versus doing a private sale, it’s a good idea to shop around and get different quotes. They will likely be similar, but you might find one that will give you a bit more money.

Provide Incomplete or Inaccurate Information

The advertisement for your car should include as much information as possible. You should also ensure that the information is accurate.

When you sell your car, you should include the car’s model, make, year, mileage, condition and any other factory equipment in the ad. If you keep the car protected in a garage and you have all the service records, be sure to mention this in the advertisement as well. Be sure to include anything that adds value to your car in the ad.

On the other hand, if there are any major issues with the vehicle, especially with regards to the mechanical health of the vehicle, be sure to mention them in the ad to avoid wasting time.

Provide Unnecessary Personal Information

When you sell your car, there will be some exchange of personal information with the car buyer. However, you should avoid any oversharing to protect your personal information. If you have the car service details, be sure to black out your personal information. Before you show the car, remove any personal items from the car and don’t meet the potential buyer at your home.

During a private-party car sale, you will never need to provide your social security number. If this is requested, consider it as an attempt to scam you.

Allow a potential buyer to test drive alone

If you let a potential buyer test drive your car alone, don’t be surprised if you never see your car again. Other than the possibility of your car being stolen, your car may be mistreated or driven longer than agreed upon.

You should always insist on going along for the test drive. You should also request to take a photo of their driver’s license and text it to a family member or friend. Let your friend or family member know that you will text them within the hour and if they don’t hear from you and can’t reach you they should contact the authorities. They should provide the police with a description of the car, the photo of the driver’s license and a photo of you.

Having a test drive route planned ahead of time is also helpful. This way you can drive in areas that are well populated. If at any time you feel unsafe during the test drive you should stop the test drive.

These ideas may have you nervous or even scared about doing a test drive, but it’s always best to be prepared and put your safety first.

Leave Your Car Messy

As mentioned above, when it comes to selling your car, wash your car but be sure the inside is clean as well. Be sure you remove all personal property from your vehicle. It’s also a good idea to clear the personal electronic information from your car, such as the Bluetooth link to your cell phone. Don’t forget the trunk, glove box and any other storage areas you have in the vehicle. Take time to vacuum the car, including under the seats and the trunk before you try to sell your car as well.

If the above seemed overwhelming and you are re-thinking the option to sell your car, you may want to consider a car buying service like CarVIO.

CarVIO is Fast, Easy and Reliable! Visit us at to get your quote today!

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