One startling statistic that you probably haven’t heard is that there are approximately 33 million used vehicles sold each year. And, if you’re like the 30 percent of vehicle owners in the U.S. who sold their old vehicle themselves in 2011, you know you have some work ahead of you to get the most you can out of the sale.
The AAA offers a number of tips that just about anyone can use to make the selling of your vehicle less burdensome that it might otherwise be. In addition, you’re likely to make more out of the deal relative to the amount of effort you put into getting your car ready to sell.
Get it ready. – You wouldn’t just hang a sign in the window or put an ad in the classified section or online to sell your car, would you? That would be foolhardy. First, you need to prepare your car for sale. That means cleaning it out of all personal items, getting it professionally detailed, having a mechanical inspection at a repair shop and getting a detailed report you can share with prospective buyers.
Figure out a price. – What should you charge as an asking price for your used car? It should be more than just a guess. Do your homework. Go to sites such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds and enter the year, make, model, condition and other characteristics of your vehicle to determine its potential resale value. Look at comparable prices from several vehicle pricing sources to back up your asking price – and give to prospective buyers. Remember, if you price your vehicle too high, you’re not going to sell it. By the same token, if what you own is a hot commodity and there are few of them available in your area, you may be able to ask a bit more.
Get the word out. – The old-fashioned term is marketing and it’s more important today than ever before. It’s also a whole lot easier than just listing your ad in the newspaper’s classified section. Today’s car sellers make use of social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as online car-selling sites such as AutoTrader, Cars.com and eBay Motors. Post pictures, list the stand-out features of your vehicle, asking price and any other pertinent details and include contact information so that would-be buyers can get in touch with you.
Show the vehicle to prospective buyers. – This is the tricky part for many car owners looking to sell their vehicle independently – showing the vehicle to interested buyers. It’s important to use good judgment when figuring out when and where to let buyers look at the vehicle. Make it a public place so that your safety and security, and that of your family, is never compromised. Don’t allow the would-be buyer to drive off without you in the vehicle for a test drive. You may never see them again. Also have detailed vehicle information available to show the buyer, including a CARFAX vehicle history report, along with detailed maintenance and repair reports.
Manage the payment process. – Getting your money out of the sale of your vehicle is probably the next most dreaded aspect of private-sale transactions. According to the AAA, it’s best to complete the transaction at a bank so that you can be sure the buyer’s payment is legitimate. Beforehand, prepare a bill of sale that you and the buyer can sign, and have it notarized at a bank or an AAA office. As for that payment, it can be via certified check, cash or money order. Do not accept a personal check. Be aware that some buyers will be reluctant to comply with your terms. If this happens, or they seem unduly anxious or uncomfortable with the process, be doubly cautious so that you don’t become the victim of a scam.