So You’ve Decided to Sell Your Car? Here Are the Things You Need to Prepare

man holding keys to car

So you’ve decided to sell your car. For whatever reason, you must know the basics, such as making sure your car is in a valuable condition and having your paperwork ready. Have you had it cleaned and inspected? Do you know how to increase your car’s value to be able to sell it at the price you desire?

Selling your car can be convenient, but selling it to a dealership may not always satisfy you with what they’re willing to pay. So it’s more possible you can get more money by selling it independently. But the decision is totally up to you. Every option has its pros and cons.

Research the market.

Studying the market is vital to a successful sale. You can research for listings in your area and find comparable vehicles. This will help you decide on your estimates for your own vehicle’s worth.

Also, keep in mind that finding similar listings doesn’t mean they can apply exactly to your situation. Every sale is different. Every buyer is different. You can’t always expect buyers to be willing to pay for the price you want them to. It also depends on your car model’s popularity, age, condition, and other features that a buyer might be looking for.

Gather paperwork.

This might be the least fun step that you do when selling a car. Although, it is essential. Not only will this make your sale trustworthy, but it also increases your car’s value. If you sell to a car dealership, they will handle most of the paperwork for you as part of their service. For private or independent selling, you’re responsible for everything.

If you are having trouble looking for your title, get a copy from your local DMV before making the sale official.

The documents you have to handle vary by state. But generally, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your car’s title. Also known as the pink slip. It serves as your right to sell your used car legally. But don’t sign it recklessly and be meticulous about it.
  • Bill of sale. This proves to the buyers that you purchased the car cleanly and properly.
  • Check your loan. If you’re still in the middle of paying off your auto loan, consult your lender and ask them how you can arrange the sale.
  • Vehicle history report. This gives you and the potential buyers the details about your car, like the number of owners or whether it’s been in accidents.

car repair underside

Have your car inspected and make the repairs it needs.

For inspection, you can inspect it yourself first so that you’ll know what to expect when you have it inspected professionally. This way, you can fix the problems and avoid bigger ones that can cost more, such as body damage, smashed headlights or taillights, or cracked windows.

The next step is to consider how much value they’d want to add to your car before you make any changes or repairs. Having a single feature fixed, like a broken windshield, can cost more than what it adds to your car’s value. Don’t drain your wallet from trying to make it perfect. No buyer expects a perfect secondhand car anyway.

You can spruce up your old car by buying new floor mats and/or replacing old tires with new and more durable ones. If you’re selling a pickup truck, you can replace or install the hitch. Doing these upgrades allows you for a higher price.

Your car will be worth more when buyers see how much the previous owner took care of it. With this, you can negotiate a better offer.

Offer a test drive.

Potential buyers mostly want to have a test drive to make sure the car is completely fine and valuable. You can set up a safe place to meet to show them what you’re selling. If you can, take a trusted friend with you to ensure more safety.

As the test drive is happening, answer their questions and don’t be aggressive to convince them. If they want a mechanic to inspect the car, they should pay for that. Attend only to the urgent problems.

Especially if you’re a private or independent seller, there are still some things you need to watch out for when you decide to sell your car. You have to be careful about who you’re selling to and the transactions that will be occurring.

The entirety of selling a can be complicated, but as long as you understand how the process works, you can make things easier.

Scroll to Top