Learn How To Get The Best Deal

10 Steps to Sell a Auto

So, you finally got that big promotion at work and you’ve decided it’s time to sell your auto and pick up something new. It might seem like an easy process, but if not executed successfully, you may be tied to your old auto for longer than you think. There are a couple important steps to selling a auto quickly and efficiently while still making the money for your auto that you deserve. Here are a couple of the tips that helped me sell my used auto, and they are things that you should keep in mind to help you sell a auto fast.

Step 1) Determine a fair asking price for your auto.

First of all, check the value of your auto in the auto price area of our Research section, and from automotive value sites such as Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com), Edmunds (edmunds.com), NADA Guides (nadaguides.com), and TrueCar (truecar.com).  Next, when I decided I want to sell my auto, I took a look at the current marketplace to see whether or not it was going to be easy to sell my auto, and to get a feel for the auto inventory in my area.  You should also take a look at your local auto classified listings to gauge the prices that comparable autos are being listed for in your area. Keep in mind any upgrades, like a new sound system, or any work you’ve done recently, like new tires or a new radiator. This research helped me determine the asking price for my vehicle.

Step 2) Prepare your auto for sale.

Just as you would clean and stage your house for sale, you should do the same thing to your auto. Wash it yourself or take your auto to a local carwash, or even detail it. You want it to look attractive for potential buyers, so they are excited about buying your auto.  If necessary, you should take the time to get rid of any odors or stains.   Also, have any repairs done by a local and licensed auto mechanic, that you can have prospective buyers contact if necessary.  If you really want your auto to stand out from other vehicles available your local auto mechanic can also do a pre-sale inspection that you can advertise to buyers.   Your auto only has one chance to make a good impression to prospective buyers, so if you want top dollar, take the time to prepare it properly. 

Step 3) Take it on a pre-sale test drive.

Know the condition of your auto before you take it on a test drive with a potential buyer. Be prepared to answer any questions about the autos performance, handling, and service history. Your confidence in your auto will make a potential buyer feel better about the vehicle and the transaction.

Step 4) Create an ad.

Take multiple photos of your auto’s exterior and interior after you’ve detailed it. You’ll want a full body shot at the very least. This will give buyers a visual of the auto, and ads with photos sell faster.  Take the time to take multiple photos and use a good digital camera.

It’s also important to be honest about any accident history. You can put buyers at ease by offering a vehicle history report on the auto that details the condition of the auto and any owner/accident history.

Write a detailed description of your auto and it’s specs. Be sure to include year, make, model, condition, mileage, and extras/features; such as one owner, non-smoker, leather, sound system, rims, new tires, no accidents, and complete service records.

Step 5) Advertise

There are many places to place an ad to sell a auto online, in the newspaper, or in vehicle specific classifieds.  To see a full list of places to list your auto for sale, visit our sell my auto page.  There is usually a fee to advertise, but advertising will give you a better chance to showcase your auto to a large number of people. In fact, the Internet has definitely opened up your chances of listing your auto for sale across state lines. Be sure to include good contact information so that buyers will know how to get a hold of you.

Step 6) Be cautious with potential buyers.

Use caution when talking to potential buyers. It’s smart to know with who you’re dealing. Ask for their name, address, place of employment, and phone number if they are seriously interested in buying the auto.  Schedule a meeting with them if they are interested in seeing the auto in person.  If you are not comfortable meeting with someone at your home address, meet them in a public place.   In preperation for the meeting, be able to describe and talk about the auto.

Step 7) Allowing a buyer test drive and inspection.

If you have verified that you have a serious buyer and they have provided you evidence that they can financially purchase the auto, you should allow the potential buyer to test drive and/or have the auto inspected by a independent mechanic.  Only allow serious buyers to do this as not to waste your time, and for the auto test drive, do so in a low traffic area.   This can also help you later down the road in the event the buyer decides that they made a mistake and wants you to take the auto back, or if the buyer tries to sue you for some reason.  Allowing the buyer to test drive and inspect the auto up front shows that they knew the vehicle they were buying.

Step 8) Negotiate a price.

Be sure to talk up the auto’s good selling points (i.e. low mileage, new radiator, one owner, no accidents or frame damage, etc.) while keeping in mind that the intent of the transaction is to sell the auto. If you did good research when determining the fair market value for your auto, this should help you negotiate a fair price for the auto.

Step 9) Execute the transaction with a bill of sale.

Many states require a specific type of bill of sale to be used for the transaction.  If possible have the buyer pay you with cash, money order, or cashier’s check payment to ensure you are getting paid for your auto.  If you have an outstanding loan on the auto, there are third party sites and services that can help you with certain aspects of the transaction, such as Escrow.com.

Step 10) Title transfer and finishing the process.

As part of the transaction, it’s necessary to fill out the title transfer form and for the new owner to submit it to the appropriate state DMV. This will ensure the auto’s title and registration transfers to the new owner and you are no longer liable for the auto.  In some states, you can provide your state DMV with a Release of Liability form to ensure they are aware you no longer own the auto.  In addition, you will need to notify your insurance carrier that the auto is no longer in your possession.

Conclusion

Being organized and smart about selling your auto will make the process as seamless as possible for you.  Keep in mind that it usually takes a auto dealer 30-60 days to sell a used auto, so if you have not sold your auto after 30-60 days, you may want consider lowering the price.  If you are desperate to get rid of your old auto, you may want to auction it off to the highest bidder on a site like eBayMotors.com, or call some local auto dealers and see if they will buy it from you. Good Luck!