Selling a car is a big decision that may result in an easy sale or a drawn out, complicated process. Following a few simple guidelines should make the process much easier. The Internet is full of useful sites that provide detailed information on how to price, market, and sell a car.
First, determine the worth of the car using resources like the Kelly Blue Book and guides put out by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), both of which are available online. Other resources include local used car ads. Although these may be useful tools when preparing to sell a car, they can only provide a general value of the car.
There are many additional factors that can affect a car’s value. These include the mechanical condition of the car and extra features installed, such as a DVD player, anti-lock brakes, and other safety features. The condition of the paint, body, interior, and tires are also factors in determining the car's value.
Other factors that can affect the price of a used car include the type of car and the region in which it is sold. A convertible sports car sold in a cold weather region may fetch less than the same model sold on the coast. Conversely, a four-wheel drive car may be sold for a higher price in a snowy, mountainous region. Another factor affecting value is the gas price. In times of high gas prices, low fuel consumption vehicles may sell faster than gas guzzlers.
Next, determine how to sell the car. Trading a car in is the easiest way to sell a car, but the owner will most likely net less with a dealer than through a private sale. If one is not purchasing a new car, and simply plans to sell a car to a dealer, he or she may receive even less, as a dealer getting a new car sale out of the deal is often willing to offer more of an incentive to trade in the car.
Check with the bank to determine whether there is a current loan on the car. If this is the case, the loan will need to be satisfied before the title is released and the transaction can be completed. When selling a car to a dealer, the dealer will often pay off the bank directly. If the car is under a lease, check with the leasing company about any restriction on paying off the lease early. Lease swaps are also available for those looking for someone to take over a car lease.
When preparing to sell a car, be sure to clean it thoroughly, both inside and out. This can be done at home with a vacuum and some elbow grease, or the car can be detailed at the local car wash. Cleanliness is important to most buyers, as is smell. Be sure to remove any cigarette or pet smells as much as possible.
Get the car up to date with its maintenance, and check fluid levels and tire pressure. Gather up maintenance records so that potential buyers can see the car’s repair and maintenance history. This information helps to sell a car by providing buyers with peace of mind regarding the vehicle’s maintenance.
An owner should be prepared to have the car inspected by a mechanic, which the buyer should pay for. Be sure to disclose any and all known defects, as withholding important information could result in legal action against a seller if hidden problems surface later. Getting a CARFAX report, which gives a history of the vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN), can be another useful tool to sell a car.
Next, advertise the car. This can be as simple as putting a sign in the window and parking the car in a prominent spot. Another way to sell a car is to advertise in the local paper or online nationally. Once the car is sold, be sure to complete a bill of sale according to state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requirements. After the sale, be sure to transfer the title correctly as well.