Do you have a used car that you want to sell? Maybe you’re unsure of what to expect. Perhaps you are new to the process and unsure where to start. You may be weighing the pros and cons between selling the car yourself or selling it to a dealership. Here are some general guidelines for getting started in the process and choosing the best option for you.
Preparing To Sell Your Car
You will need to gather the necessary documents; the car title, the vehicle history report and service records. The original sales paperwork is also good to have. Visit the DMV online to check for any other paperwork and regulations particular to your state. This will also be when you find out if there are any state specific transfer fees or taxes. That will be good to know when researching to determine your asking price for your vehicle.
If you don’t have the title to your vehicle because you still owe money on it, this will complicate your sale. Find out from your lender what you will need to do. If you can pay the remainder of your loan right now in cash, that will simplify the process. Otherwise, the buyer will pay the lender, not you, and the lender will pay you the remainder after settling the loan.
If you want to get the most out of the sale, it’s important to make the necessary investment into your vehicle. This will include paying for pre-sale checkups when requested, cleaning, polishing and repairs. This will probably involve consulting a mechanic. Speaking to the mechanic doing the repairs is a good way to get an initial estimate of what your vehicle is worth. Once your vehicle is professionally cleaned and in shape, you’re ready to take photos to post for your advertisements.
Selling Your Car Independently
Selling your car independently will get you more profit than selling it to a dealership. So if you’re able to invest the added time and necessary energy to get the best deal for your car, this is the option for you. Now that your car is ready for sale, you will want to take attractive photos that include ones on the interior, all sides of the exterior, the dashboard, the engine, and the tires.
Keeping in mind the mechanic’s estimation of your car’s value, peruse local listings and see what cars similar to yours are being listed at. This will help you to determine how much you could reasonably expect while setting your price. You will have a better chance if you post your advertisement on several sites such as Cars.com, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and eBay Autos. Once you have decided on your asking price, you’re ready to write your advertisement. When you include your asking price in your advertisement, state whether the price is “firm” or “negotiable.” Begin with a brief description of the car and list the desirable features it has. Also mention why you wish to sell it. Be honest about the condition and maintenance of the vehicle. Include in your advertisements if your car is under extended warranty, if the tires or brakes are new, and any other upgrades.
It’s very important to be safe while selling independently. Watch out for scammers and don’t post a personal cell or home phone number on your advertisement. Use a Google phone number for answering your offers. Do not use photos of your car at your home or try to conduct in person business there. Instead photograph your car at an attractive location a few hours before sunset. And conduct test drives and meetings at safe, public, locations such as retail parking lots where there are security cameras. Always bring a friend during a test drive and never allow the driver to go off location or drive you to a different or unknown place. In order to protect yourself against fraud, touchless payment methods such as PayPal or cashier checks are best.
Selling To A Dealership
If you decide to sell it to a dealership, the good news is they handle the paperwork for you, there aren’t additional selling fees to pay, it’s resolved quickly, safely and eliminates a lot of guesswork. It is a good option for people who want to unload some of the mental labor. Especially if the aspect of selling independently that involves social burdens (i.e. answering all of those emails and phone calls) is overwhelming. If it is more important for you to get the money quickly than it is to make the biggest profit from your sale, then an instant cash offer is a good option. It can be redeemed at local dealers if you want to replace your vehicle.
If you still owe money on an auto loan for your car but want to trade your car in, a dealership can arrange the details with the bank that holds your loan. Plus, with a trade in there is the possibility of reducing a sales tax on your new car.
Do You Need More Advice?
The car you drive is a significant part of your budget. Selling a car might free up money you can use toward your other financial goals. If you’re looking to make a long-term financial plan, an advisor can help. Contact us to be matched with the one who’s right for you.