6 Tips for Selling Your Car Privately

By on March 31, 2013

Whether you are getting rid of a second car you no longer need, or are hoping to cash in and get a new one, you naturally want to get top dollar for it. If the dealership’s offer left something to be desired, selling it privately may be the better route. Here are some tips for a smooth sale.

Take Lots of Pictures

The more people know about a car, the more likely they are to want to check it out in person. Taking just a few shots of the car will not cut it. Take lots and lots of photos of the interior and the exterior from all different angles. Not a lot of pictures may give the impression that you have something to hide.

Avoid Generic Ads

Get specific with your ad. Avoid generic terms such as ‘’fully loaded’’ or ‘’like new.’’ Talk specifically about the car’s selling points—maybe it is great in the snow or has a pristine interior. You also want to be honest about any flaws the car may have—no used car is perfect and most buyers do not expect it to be. If the interior is a bit stained or there is a dent or other imperfection in the body, mention it too. It will show you are honest and this is a big bonus for anyone looking at a used car, whether from a private seller or a dealer.

Safety Considerations

While most people are generally honest and not prone to criminal activity, you really never know. You might consider keeping your address private and arranging to meet the seller in a public place. As for the test drive, it is probably a better idea to go along than allow the person to take the car by himself. If it will make you feel better, consider having someone else come along with you and trail you just in case something were to go wrong and make sure you have a cell phone with you.

Do Not Negotiate until after the Test Drive

No matter the price, negotiation is almost always part of the game when it comes to selling a car. But, you want to save it for a point in the process that puts you at an advantage. A person will probably not really truly know if they want a car or not until after the test drive. If all goes well with that, and they decide they want this car, you will have the upper hand in negotiations—the more someone wants something, the more they are willing to pay for it.

Consider Drawing up a Bill of Sale

While not necessary, drawing up an official bill of sale may be a good idea—this contract between you and the buyer can offer you some added protection. Various legal websites offer the forms for a fee, or you may be able to find a template online and just type up your own. If you are selling the car ‘’as is,’’ this may be something particularly important to include in the documentation.

Payment Considerations

Cash is probably your number one choice, but for a larger transaction, this may not be possible. Avoid personal checks. A cashier’s check or a certified check is the next best bet, but even these can easily be drawn up fraudulently. If you will be accepting payment through this method, insist on being at the bank with the buyer to see the check being drawn up.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has blogged about various automotive topics from how to sell your used car to how to save on car insurance; if you are in need of a policy for your new car, she recommends using the Kanetix car insurance comparison service.

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