The Car Owners Guide: How to Sell Your Used Vehicle

Selling a used vehicle as a private party will typically result in a higher sales price than trading in the vehicle to a dealer. Individuals that want to sell a used car, however, should expect to invest time and money before selling the vehicle. Selling a used vehicle requires individuals to evaluate the condition of the vehicle and establish a reasonable sales price. Additionally, sellers will typically need to advertise the vehicle. Sellers should also fully understand the logistics involved in selling a used car.

 The Condition of the Car

 Before selling a used car, you must evaluate the condition of the vehicle. Many used car buying and selling resources such as Kelley Bluebook evaluate used vehicles as excellent, good, fair or poor. An excellent vehicle looks like new and has no mechanical or physical defects. A good vehicle has no major defects but can have minor surface blemishes. A vehicle rated fair, on the other hand, will have some cosmetic and mechanical defects. Finally, a poor vehicle will have significant cosmetic or mechanical defects.

Pricing the Vehicle

When pricing a used vehicle, you should sell your vehicle below the retail price and above the wholesale price. The retail price is the price the used car would sell for from a dealer in its current condition. The wholesale price, on the other hand, is the price a dealer would pay for the vehicle during a trade in. Additional factors that will determine the selling price of a used car include the condition of the vehicle at the time of sale and the demand for the vehicle in the local market. For example, a sports car would most likely sell for less in a rural, mountain town that receives significant annual snowfall than in a major city.

Finding a Buyer Locally

Individuals can use several tools to effectively sell a used car locally. First, individuals that want to sell a used car should network with friends and associates. Word of mouth is a free sales tool that can also effectively help sell a used car within an extended network. Additionally, advertising in local newspapers can help individuals successfully sell a used car. Many local communities also offer free weekly publications that accept classified advertisements for used cars. Advertising in these free weekly publications is often less expensive than advertising in the local daily newspaper. Individuals that want to sell a used car locally should also place a for sale sign with contact information in the window of the used vehicle.

Finding a Buyer Online

Selling a car online can also effectively help individuals sell a used car. Online advertising can greatly increase the exposure of the used vehicle by offering the vehicle to a national market. Today, many consumers also look online when purchasing a used vehicle, and advertising to this online market can increase the speed of selling a vehicle. Many online websites accept advertisements for used vehicles from private parties. These websites include eBay, AutoTrader, CarsDirect and Cars.com.

The Logistics of Selling a Vehicle

Before selling the used car, gather all information associated with the vehicle including the vehicle’s title and maintenance records. Additionally, prepare the vehicle for inspection and delivery. Make sure the vehicle is clean inside and out and functions properly. After the sale, make arrangements to transfer the vehicle title to the new owner. Check with the local department of motor vehicles for detailed information about transferring a vehicle title in your jurisdiction. Never transfer the title, however, until the buyer fully pays for the used vehicle.


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