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How to sell your used car in 8 steps Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make better financial decisions by offering you interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information at no cost and help you make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Earn money The products that are advertised on this site come from companies that pay us. This compensation could affect how and where products appear on this site, including such things as the order in which they may be listed within the categories of listing, except where prohibited by law. Our mortgage or home equity products, as well as other products for home loans. This compensation, however, does have no impact on the content we publish or the reviews you see on this site. We do not cover the vast array of companies or financial deals that could be open to you.


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5 min read published on February 27, 2023.

Written by Allison Martin Written by

Allison Martin’s work started over 10 years ago as a digital content strategist. She’s been published in numerous prestigious financial outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Credit.com.

Editor: Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers feel confident to manage their finances with concise, well-studied and well-researched content that breaks down otherwise complex subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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The demand for used vehicles is high due to a . While the shortage is diminishing and may even be over by the end of this year, many automobile producers continue to produce less cars than they typically do. So, dealers are still facing less inventory. However, it’s a good thing in the event that you happen to be selling a used car since you’re likely to be able to find plenty of potential buyers. However, before you put up an ad on the internet you must follow a few basic steps you should follow to ensure you get the most money for your car. 8 steps to selling your old car an asset that is as valuable as a car, you want to secure the most competitive price. Clean your vehicle prior to listing it for sale. Also, you should take the time to research an appropriate price for sale and learn how to negotiate efficiently. 1. Select the best method for selling your automobile. There are three options to sell your car: Trade it in: only works if you’re looking to purchase a vehicle from a dealership . It’s convenient, as it doesn’t require you to advertise the vehicle to potential buyers. The downside is you probably will not get as much value for the vehicle as from an auction. A private sale will typically receive more in the event that you decide to sell it yourself. However, you will have to work hard to find the perfect buyer and negotiate a fair sale price. Dealership: Many dealerships will give you a free, no-obligation cash offer for your vehicle. It’s fast and simple, and you’ll have a set period to decide whether to redeem it. Car buying websites: like Shift and AutoNation guarantee to offer you a price for your vehicle in a matter of minutes. You’ll need to provide certain details regarding the car’s name, model, color and mileage. Additionally, you’ll need to upload photos. These companies provide cash quickly for your car, however they often charge service fees that eat into your profits. 2. Gather the necessary documents You can’t sell your vehicle to a dealer or private party unless you have the following documents The original paperwork from the transaction of selling the car. The title of the vehicle. Any service records available. If you’re lacking any of these documents wait until you have them on hand to sell your car. In the event that you do not, you may face complications when trying to complete the sale. It’s also recommended to have emissions test documentation available if you live in a place where these tests are mandatory. In addition, if there are warranties that are in effect for your vehicle, keeping this paperwork available is essential. It is possible to get more for a vehicle that is covered by warranties. 3. Get your car ready for auction After you’ve determined how you’ll sell your car and collected the required paperwork, it’s time to prepare it for the market. Ideally, you want to clean up the interior and exterior of the vehicle to shine in the eyes of potential buyers. Get your car professionally detailed or spend time cleaning and shampooing carpets, cleaning the mirrors, washing the exterior, applying wax if necessary and making your tires shine. Also, take your vehicle to the mechanic for an oil replacement. If your brakes or tires are getting close to the final stage of their service It’s the right time to get them replaced. It is recommended that the mechanic replace any burnt-out light bulbs and windshield wipers that don’t perform as they should. Also, plan to repair cracked windshields, scratches or dents. Bankrate tip

Cleaning your car’s exterior and making the necessary cosmetic changes is like staging a home for sale. The appearance of your car matters and will help fetch an increase in price. Many people don’t want to purchase cars that are splattered with scratches or dents or a messy interior.

4. Choose the appropriate price for the sale If you plan to sell your used vehicle to a private buyer , . An amount that is too high could make potential buyers turn away, and selling at a price that is too low means you will get less than you should. So, you want to conduct your own research to ensure that you set the right price for your car, while leaving a little some room for negotiation. There are many tools to figure out . Make use of your  »  » feature of Kelley Blue Book or refer to Edmunds to determine the value of your vehicle. Or you can use Autotrader or refer to classified ads to find similar listings in your local area. 5. Get the word out Tell everyone on your list that you are selling your car and ask to share the news. You can also make a post on social media or advertise on websites with an auction for used carslike Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or Cars.com or in your local newspaper. When you create your ad make sure to include images that show multiple angles of the car’s exterior, interior, and what it appears like under the under the hood. The ad should also state the year, make and model of the car as well as its current condition, the asking price and acceptable forms of payment. Additionally, you should include any features that make it stick out, such as an extended warranty, fuel-efficiency rating, heated seats, and the reasons you’d like to sell the car. 6. Come ready to negotiate To make sure you are prepared to negotiate, no matter if you’re selling privately or to a dealer, take your car to a few dealers and obtain offers. Use this information and what you’ve found when researching your car’s value through websites like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to inform your negotiations with potential buyers. It is important to arrive at the table with the cheapest price you’ll accept with a clear mind, and then be ready to make a counter offer. Begin by letting the potential buyer offer an amount. If the figure works then you have to decide if you want to seek out more or move forward with the sale. But if the number is too low, try to counter with a amount that is greater than the price you’re willing to accept. Be prepared to walk away if you cannot agree on a fair price with the other side. 7. Be smart and safe about the sale It is essential to be safe importance when you arrange selling your vehicle with a private party. The seller may want to make payment in cash. S uggest that they use an online payment processor that is not contactless, such as PayPal, instead. A cashier’s cheque is another viable option. The check will clear since the funds are immediately taken from the buyer’s bank account when the check is signed. If the buyer is interested to test drive the vehicle before committing to purchase your car, call your insurer to ensure that you will be protected in the event that you are involved in an accident. Also, pick a populated area and agree to a route before it begins. It is also possible to have someone else accompany you for extra safety. 8. Get the deal signed off at finally, you have discovered the ideal buyer and are now eager to close the deal. However, before you can officially close the deal, you need to visit the local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) with the buyer to transfer the title of the car over to the next owner. Remember that this process looks different in every state. Some states might need proof of a passed inspection or you should call the tax assessor’s office in your county. The rules applicable to your state at . Next steps , whether you’re trying to earn more cash or trade your car for a new one, these tips can help you earn top dollar for your ride. However, a private party sale is the most likely way to maximize your profits. Be sure to obtain some valuations prior to selling your vehicle to make sure it is priced right and is sold in a short amount of time.


Written by

Allison Martin’s work began over 10 years ago as a digital media strategist. Since then, she’s been featured in numerous prestigious financial media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Credit.com.

The edit was done by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor

Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances with concise, well-studied information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites.

Auto loans editor

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