Sell Your Car: 4 Steps to Take Before You Do

A woman in orange shirt stretching outside her car during sunset as she prepares to sell her car

To sell your car privately can seem complicated if you’ve never done it before but if you take the right steps, it doesn’t have to be difficult. You want to get the highest price for your car and avoid being low-balled by a private buyer. To do so, you’ll want to make sure your car looks great and that you are ready for a sale at any time. 

1. Have Your Car Detailed 

Getting your car detailed before selling it is vital. You will most certainly get more money when you sell than what you spent on the detail. A clean car fetches a higher price tag but it won’t be enough to clean your car yourself. After years of use, there are likely small marks and stains on your seats and rugs. You will be impressed by how sparkling a detailer can get your car to look. Don’t let your car look dingy, it will cost you money on the sales price. 

2. Get a Clean Inspection Before You Sell Your Car

You will sell your car more quickly if you have an inspection done to make sure there is nothing wrong with your car that requires a repair. If a repair does need to be made, it’s best to fix it yourself or disclose it in your ad. Whoever purchases your car privately will likely want to have their own inspection done and if their mechanic finds anything unsavory, it will have been a waste of your time. Get a clean bill of health on your car so you can assure buyers they will have no issues. 

3. Gather Your Documents

There are a variety of documents you will need in order to sell your car. The vehicle title, registration, insurance card, and bill of sale will all be required. Don’t potentially lose a sale because you were unprepared before meeting with your buyer. Have all your documentation readily available in case someone wants to purchase your car on the spot. 

4. Get an Appraisal 

While you can use Kelly Blue Book for a general estimate of what your car is worth, you may benefit from speaking to a professional. Go to a car dealership and offer to sell the car to a dealer. The dealer may not offer what you want immediately, but you can use the amount they were willing to pay as an estimate of your car’s worth. It is important to know the value of your car as a private seller may want to haggle on the cost. 

Be prepared prior to make the decision to sell your car. Making sure your car looks its best and is in tip-top shape will ensure that you make as much money as possible on the sale of your car. If you have a buyer outside the state, you might want to check our post on Ship Car to Another State and find out extra details on how to do it too.

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