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5 min read Published February 27, 2023

Written by Allison Martin Written by

Allison Martin’s work started over 10 years prior to that as a digital content strategist. She’s been published in several leading financial outlets, including 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 dedicated to helping their readers to control their finances by providing precise, well-studied information that breaks down complicated subjects into bite-sized pieces.

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The demand for second-hand cars is high due to the . While the shortage is diminishing and could come to an end this year, many auto manufacturers continue to produce fewer vehicles than they usually produce. So, dealers are still facing smaller amounts of inventory. However, it’s a good thing in the event that you happen to be selling a used car, as you’re still likely to have plenty of potential buyers. But before you post an ad on the internet there are a few steps to take to get top dollar for your car. 8 steps to sell your car used an asset as significant as a car you want to secure the most competitive price. Make sure you clean your vehicle prior to listing it for sale, take time to determine the best price for selling and understand how to negotiate efficiently. 1. Select the best method you’d like to market your vehicle. There are three ways to sell your car: Sell it to a third party: only works if you’re looking to purchase a car from the dealership . It’s convenient since you don’t need to promote the car to prospective buyers. The downside is you probably won’t get as much for your vehicle like you’d from a private sale. Private sale: You’ll generally receive more when you sell it yourself. However, you will have to work hard to find the perfect buyer and agree on a specific selling price. Dealership: A lot of dealerships will give you a free, no-obligation cash offer for your car. It’s simple and quick and you’ll be given an agreed-upon time frame to decide whether to redeem it. Websites for buying cars: such as Shift and AutoNation promise to offer you a price for your vehicle in a matter of minutes. You’ll need to provide certain details about the vehicle’s make, model, color and mileage. It is also necessary to upload photos. These companies offer cash in a short time for your car, however they usually charge service fees that eat into your profits. 2. Take the required documents aren’t able to sell your vehicle to a dealer or private party unless you’ve got these documents in your possession: Paperwork from the original purchase of your vehicle. The title to the vehicle. Any service records available. If you’re missing one of these documents, wait until you have them available to sell your car. If you don’t, you’ll encounter issues when trying to close the deal. It’s also a good idea to have the documentation for emissions tests available if you live in a place where these tests are mandatory. If warranties still are in effect for your vehicle, keeping this paperwork on hand is also important. It is possible to get more for a vehicle that is insured by the warranty. 3. Get your car ready for auction After you’ve determined how you’ll sell your car and gathered the necessary documentation, now is the time to get it ready for market. In the ideal scenario, you’ll want to improve the appearance of the interior and exterior of your vehicle to shine in the eyes of potential buyers. Make sure your vehicle is professionally cleaned or spend some time vacuuming and shampooing the carpets, washing the mirrors and exteriors, applying wax, if needed, and making the tires shine. Also, bring your car in for an oil change. If your brakes or tires are nearing the expiration date it is moment to replace them. It is recommended that the mechanic replace any burnt-out light bulbs or windshield wipers that don’t perform as they should. Also, plan to repair cracked windshields, scratches, or scratch marks. Bankrate tip

The process of cleaning your car and making the necessary cosmetic changes is similar to staging a home for sale. The appearance of your vehicle matters and will help fetch more money. Many people don’t want to purchase an automobile that is adorned with scrapes or dents or a messy interior.

4. Determine the best price for your sale. If you plan to sell your used car to a private event , . A price that is too high can cause buyers to be turned off, and selling for a low price could result in you receiving less than you should. So, you want to do your research to ensure that the price of the car is right with a bit of some room for negotiation. You can use several tools to determine . Use the  »  » feature of Kelley Blue Book or refer to Edmunds to find out what your car’s worth. You can also use Autotrader or browse classified ads to look for similar listings in your neighborhood. 5. Get the word out Tell everyone you know that you are selling your car and ask for them to spread the word. You can also post on social media or advertise on sites with a used car marketplace -for example, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book or Cars.com or in your local newspaper. When creating your advertisement include photos that showcase different angles of the car’s exterior, interior and how it’s under the car’s hood. The ad should also mention the year, year of manufacture and model of the car as well as its current condition, the asking price and acceptable payment methods. Include features that make it stand out, like the extended warranty, the fuel-efficiency rating, heated seats, and the reason you wish to sell the vehicle. 6. Prepare to negotiate. To be prepared for negotiation, regardless of whether selling privately or through a dealership bring your vehicle to some dealers and ask for offers. Utilize this information along with what you found 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 your table with lowest price in the back of your mind and be prepared to make a counter offer. Begin the conversation by letting the buyer throw out a number. If it’s a good number then you have to decide whether you’d like to request more or go forward with the deal. But if the number isn’t enough, you can counter with a slightly higher amount that is greater than the amount you’re willing to accept. Be prepared to leave in the event that you are unable to agree on a fair price with the other party. 7. Be cautious and secure regarding the sale. It is essential to be safe importance when arranging the sale of your car by a private party. The seller might want to make payment in cash. S suggest that they utilize a contactless payment processor, such as PayPal, instead. A cashier’s check is another option. The check is guaranteed to clear since the funds are immediately withdrawn directly from the buyers bank account when the check is made. If the potential buyer wants to test drive the car prior to committing to buy your car, call your to ensure you will be protected in case that you are involved in an accident. Also, pick a populated area and agree to the route before it starts. You may also want to bring someone else with you to ensure your safety. 8. Make the sale official At finally, you have discovered the ideal buyer and you’re eager to finalize the sale. However, before you can officially close the deal, you must visit the local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) together with the buyer to transfer the vehicle’s title on to the buyer. Keep in mind that this process looks different in each state. Certain states may require evidence of passing the inspection or that you contact the tax assessor’s office in the county you reside in. You can check out the regulations for your state by visiting . The next steps are based on whether you want to make some extra cash or swap your vehicle to buy a new one, these suggestions will allow you to get the best value for your vehicle. A private sale is likely your best way to maximize your profits. Be sure to get some valuations prior to selling your vehicle to make sure that it’s priced correctly and is sold in a short amount of time.


Written by

Allison Martin’s career started over 10 years prior to that as a digital content strategist. Since then, she’s been featured in numerous prestigious financial publications 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 since late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances with clear, well-researched information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into digestible chunks.

Auto loans editor

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