Now that you’ve made the decision to sell, what should you do before selling your car? Before listing your vehicle, ensure you have all the necessary paperwork and that your car is clean and inspected. Once you’ve done those basics, it’ll be time to decide how best to list your vehicle for sale.

Although selling your used car to a dealership may be more convenient, you might get paid more cash by finding an independent buyer. Before selling your vehicle, educate yourself on the market value so that you can ENSURE you are getting a good price for it.

If you’re looking to sell your car, these steps will not only make the process simpler but also help you receive competitive offers.

1) Do your research

Woman on doing research on laptop

If you want to sell your car successfully, research is key. You can start by checking out the U.S. News listings of dealer inventory to find prices for comparable vehicles in your area. That way, you’ll have a better idea of what your vehicle is worth.

However, keep in mind that seeing a listing doesn’t guarantee that the automobile will sell for that amount. The price buyers are willing to pay varies considerably, depending on various elements such as the car’s condition and mileage, as well as the season and location.

Certain vehicles are more popular at certain seasons of the year. Nobody wants to buy a convertible or sports car in the winter, yet you may get better offers during the summer. SUV and van demand may be cyclical, but if you sell your Ford F-150 in a rural rather than an urban location, you’re likely to receive top dollar.

2) Gather all the necessary documents.

Man reading documents in front of his laptop

Paperwork, though tedious, is essential for most transactions. If you sell to a dealer, they will do the paperwork for you as part of the car-buying service. However, if selling to a private party, you must have all the documents ready. The documents required differ per state but generally are a bill of sale, an odometer certification, and the vehicle’s title. Additional copies prospective buyers might want include a copy of the car’s vehicle history report provided by many sellers

If you cannot find your car’s title, get a copy from your local DMV before continuing with the sale. People selling their car who still have money owed will need to figure out exactly how much is remaining on the loan. This way, when you receive payment for the car, you can take the check to pay off the current loan and deposit what remains (if anything). It might take some time to retrieve titles from banks, so be sure to inform buyers in advance that they’ll need to wait patiently.

Before a state will legally recognize a sale, several documents are needed from the seller – especially if they’re out-of-state. These might include: a bill of sale, lienholder information, a title transfer application and notice of sale or transfer to new owner.

3) Get your car inspected

Before selling your automobile, potential buyers may want to try driving it to be sure it’s in excellent working order. Similarly, you may want to go to a dealership or an expert mechanic before putting your current vehicle up for sale so that you can fix any issues that might lower the value of the vehicle and force you to sell for less money.

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

When you’re trying to determine whether or not to get something fixed on your car, think about how much it’s actually going to increase the value of your vehicle. Would fixing a dented fender that costs $200 but adds an extra $500 onto the price you should definitely consider the fix. Because customers understand that used cars aren’t perfect, overspending on repairs doesn’t make sense.

You may improve the looks of an old automobile by purchasing new floor mats or changing out worn tires with a fresh set. Once you’ve shown potential shoppers that your vehicle has been well-maintained, you might receive higher offers, but you must always weigh whether or not you’ll get as much money back from the sale as you put into refurbishing it.

4) Get it professionally detailed

If you want to sell your car for the most money, get it detailed first. A good detailing job costs $100-$200 and will make your car look almost new again, making it more appealing to buyers and helping you get a higher price.

“If you give your interior a good fresh, clean scent, this will also make the car feel like it’s clean and leave a good impression,” says RJ de Vera of Irvine, California-based car care product company Meguiar

Before you sell your car, you might want to get it detailed. This means making it look and smell clean. If you can’t afford to get it detailed, then at least wash and vacuum it yourself.

5)Choose Your Sale Strategy

You have several options for selling your car. A dealer makes it easy but typically will not yield the best possible offer. Whereas a private-party buyer or third-party service requires more work on your part but could result in a bigger return.

You’re likely to get the best price with a private-party sale. Selling privately does require the most work on your end. Be prepared to market your car to potential buyers, field phone calls, emails, and text messages, and schedule test drives. If you have the time and energy, this method will likely yield the highest sale price. Companies like Driveway Auction are a great option to sell your car in a private setting without having to do all the work.

Another option to consider is the instant cash offer. Essentially, you provide your car’s information, and buyers will provide an estimate for what they’re willing to pay based on that. It’s a hassle-free way to sell your vehicle. If you don’t want to interact with dealers or buyers, look into one of the online marketplaces, but keep in mind that these companies take a cut of the proceeds as their fee, but they help make the sales process easier.

6) Create your ad

You’re now ready to create your ad. Make sure you spend some time writing a compelling description of the vehicle you want to sell. Keep in mind that your automobile will compete with hundreds of others for people’s attention. A snappy headline, clear pictures, and a thorough explanation will help you stand out from the competition. To ensure you hit all the key points, begin by focusing on typical buyer concerns like condition or mileage. You could also start with your car’s best feature. Being truthful in your ad is essential; if prospective customer learns you’re lying about your vehicle, they’ll lose faith in you and any chance of making a sale will be gone. Sometimes, this could invalidate the sale and force you to take the car back.

7) Don’t forget to wipe

Fewer and fewer people are holding on to physical copies of important documents, but that doesn’t mean you can skip straight to selling your car. You need to be sure to remove any electronic evidence of ownership as well.

That means removing your personal information from the vehicle’s navigation system and canceling any services, such as OnStar telematics, Apple Music, Sirius XM or any of the other subscription services. Many navigation systems feature a single command to erase all prior destinations and personal data. If you have satellite radio, either cancel your subscription or transfer it your new vehicle. This is also a good habit to do when you rent a car. You can never be too careful with your personal information.

In Conclusion

Selling your car can be a daunting task, but if you follow these simple steps, you can make it a smooth and easy process. Just remember to clean the car inside and out, choose the right sale strategy for you, create a great ad, and remove all traces of your ownership before handing over the keys. With a little preparation, you’ll be on your way to getting the best possible price for your car.


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Contact Driveway Auction today to get more for your used car. Without all the hassle.

Have a Great Day! 🙂

Did you find this blog post helpful?   Be sure to check out our other blog posts for more great tips and advice. Thanks for reading!

Check out this article specifically about the Electrical Tape and Odometer Scam.


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