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Updated by John Huh on Sep 17, 2019
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John Huh John Huh
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Ten Steps to Selling your Car

Selling your car is easier than ever, thanks to the ways in which social media has connected all of us. If you haven't sold a car in a while, or you are having difficulty selling your car, chances are this countdown can help you. No mater what year make and model your car is, chances are there's a buyer out there for your situation. If you have found yourself wasting money on classified listings or spending a lot of time with flaky would-be-buyers, check out the Ten Steps to Selling your Car.

1

Know your Market

Know your Market

No matter what kind of vehicle you are trying to sell, it can help yo get a grasp on what the market conditions are for a car or truck like yours. Being unreasonable with your asking price is not a good way to successfully sell your car.

You don't even need to leave your home to do this properly. You can browse online websites like ebay.com classifieds and search for similar models. Use research through local dealerships to see just what the asking range for a car like yours is in.

2

Classify your car

Classify your car

Before you decide to sell your car you should set your expectations to see how best to plan your sale. Depending on the kind of car you own, there's a few things you need to figure out. Here's a few bullet points to remember when you are planning to sell your car.

  • Sports Cars - If you are selling a sporty car or coupe, it's a good idea to plan your car sales around summer. Most buyers aren't looking to buy a sports car unless it's sunny out.
  • Trucks and Vans - The nature of these vehicles make them easy to sell, so you should never shortchange yourself. These kinds of vehicles are steady sellers so don't be afraid to ask for what you want.
  • Sedans - In demand by families and all kinds of drivers, sedans are a solid sell no matter what time of year it is. Make sure to price your family sedan properly and be ready to stand by your price.
3

Price your Car

Price your Car

Now that you understand what kind of market conditions and price point your car should fetch, you can now price your car. One of the best tools available online for this is Edmunds.com, which gives you a True Motor Vehicle price for your year, make and model.

Of course you know your car the best, so if there's any kind of special considerations to your car that prevents you from asking full price, you will know it. Here's a few rules to keep in mind when you are pricing your car.

  • Properly overprice - If you want 11,000 dollars for your car, set your asking price at 12,000. Because most buyers will always try to negotiate, make sure that this wiggle room is already factored into your price.
  • Don't be afraid to negotiate - Even if a buyer makes you a low ball offer, don't be afraid to counter. Most buyers expect a bit of back and forth negotiation, so keep an open mind.
4

Prep your Car

Prep your Car

Before you list your car or take any photos to post online, clean it and prep it ahead of time. Just a few simple steps can ensure your car is looking it's best and ready to make a perfect first impression on the new owner.

Here's a few tips to make sure your car is in tip top condition and looking ready to sell.

  • Wash and wax your car. If you aren't up to the task, consider having your car detailed by a professional
  • If there's something wrong with the car and it won't cost a lot to fix, consider a How To guide and DIY approach.
  • Clean the brake dust from your wheels and rims. This is one of the first things that a buyer notices.
  • Clear any check engine lights - warning lights and service engine soon indicators are bad signs to any perspective buyer.
  • Clean your mirrors and windows carefully - Making a first impression is vital and having clean windows is important.
  • Clear out all of your junk and personal belongings - Present your car as a blank slate, giving the buyer a way to envision the car as their own.
5

Advertise your Car

Advertise your Car

Now that your car is looking and running great, you need to get your car out there. Advertising your car has changed quite a bit in recent years. Take plenty of high resolution images and post to the typical places online, and here's a few tips to get the job done.

  • Post your car to a website - Craigslist.com and Autotrader.com are great ways to get your car listed. You can find other places online as well, but keep in mind that many will charge you to list your car.
  • Social Networks - Facebook and Google circles can be effective ways and new methods to spread your sale via online "word of mouth"
  • For Sale Sign - It's cliche but slapping a good old fashioned for sale sign can get a lot of results. Put your number on there clearly for people to see and everywhere you drive your car is a rolling advertisement.
6

Know the Lingo

Know the Lingo

Before you engage any buyer or advertise your car, you've got to understand the language of used car sales. Many of these terms are important to know if you want a positive sale. Increase your chances of getting as much money as possible by utilizing the terms of sale.

OBO - This term stands for "Or Best Offer" meaning you are open to negotiation and welcome it. This can tell buyers that you are ready to sell and make a deal if the numbers are right.

Firm - The complete opposite of OBO, when you use FIRM in any of your listings it's to show that you don't welcome negotiation. Your asking price is fairly set in stone and you aren't willing to budge much if at all.

Must Go! - Typically used for sales that are desperate or fire sale type situations. You are telling the buyers that you've got to dump your car and are willing to entertain all offers.

7

Get your Paperwork in Order

Get your Paperwork in Order

In order to properly sell your car, there's a few articles of paperwork that you need to prepare. These things are good to have ready, because without them you might lose out on a potential sale.

  1. Pink Slip - The legal deed to your vehicle, have this at the ready when showing your car
  2. Bill of Sale - You need to have this document ready, and with all of your liabilities clearly stated
  3. Maintenance Records - These can help the perspective buyers see how well you have maintained your car
8

Show your car

Show your car

Selling your car can be a stressful situation, especially if you aren't sure about showing the car. If you feel as though you don't want to hand out your personal home address, this is an understandable concern. You can always ask to meet at a neutral location if you are really worried about it.

However if you really want to sell your car, and get the most amount of money possible, you might want to reconsider.
Potential buyers will be heading someplace and often times with large sums of cash. They might feel as though something is off or not right if you are asking to meet at the local Taco Bell parking lot instead of your home.

Put buyers at ease and help them feel comfortable by showing your car, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down. Be open and warming but make sure to collect collateral and any information if you intend on letting them drive your car.

9

Close the sale

Close the sale

Once you've sold the car, you have to take the proper steps to transfer liability and the ownership of your sold car. You should do this right away because any laws the new driver breaks may cause you some serious inconvenience. If you don't transfer ownership or close out the deal properly, this could lead to some serious legal issues.

10

Consignment Lots

Consignment Lots

The last ditch effort to selling your car is look up a local consignment lot. These can really help you reach a group of buyers who may not have ever seen your car or even had a chance to see it. Be careful however because these lots do take a cut of your sale, and if your car doesn't sell within a set amount of time, chances are you will be paying for a lot more.