You finally solidified the decision to sell your used car on your own, so now’s the time to think about how best to complete the sale.
You want the best price possible, as well as a seamless transaction.
This means giving your vehicle some TLC, and getting your paperwork in order.
It’s Got to Be Clean
First things first, make sure your used car looks good. Yes, you have to clean it completely. You have two options, do it yourself or pay someone else.
Pay Someone Else to Do It
If you don’t trust your own car-cleaning abilities or just feel lazy, it isn’t too costly to let someone else do it.
Here’s what you’ll pay
- $20 to $50 for a good scrubbing and maybe some wheel dressing
- $100 to $200 for a professional detailing (a good investment)
Not bad to watch someone else do the work.
Do it Yourself
Here is a basic checklist
- Wash and wax exterior
- Wipe down all interior surfaces
- Shampoo and vacuum carpets (and cloth interiors)
- Give the trunk a good clean
- Clean those windows
- Get rid of cigarette and pet odors
Clean windows allow buyers to see your handiwork clearly and add a considerable amount of sparkle to your car.
Did You Maintain it?
Once your used car is physically attractive, move on to putting together a package that will help convince prospective buyers that your vehicle is reliable and you’ve taken good care of it.
First, make sure you’ve got your vehicle up to date, ensure all lights and fuses work properly, fluids are topped off, and the tires are properly inflated.
Then put together a folder with inspection and maintenance work on the vehicle – hopefully you’ve saved everything. If not, several online services can provide reports to help build trust with a buyer.
Get A Check Up
More sophisticated buyers might ask to have the car inspected by their own mechanic.
Be prepared for such requests by having your own mechanic perform a “physical” on your car before you begin marketing it.
You can also order a CARFAX report, which outlines a vehicle’s history through its vehicle identification number (VIN).
So Much Paperwork
Then there is the administrative side, which should not be overlooked because much of it protects you.
Going into the process to sell a used car, find a copy of your vehicle title. If you don’t have it, contact your lender and ask that they send it to you along with a lien release.
Once the vehicle is sold, follow closely bill of sale guidelines by the state Department of Motor Vehicles, and ensure that the title is transferred correctly.
Last (and this is too often overlooked) be wary of insurance matters when test driving and surrendering your keys. Be sure your buyer is properly insured.
If not, any mishap on the road can turn into a nightmare, an insurance nightmare.