10 Steps for Selling Your Car

7 Screen Potential Buyers

Unless you hire a broker or have a friend who owes you several favors, you'll need to meet prospective buyers and set up test drives. This can be daunting, so it makes sense to look through all the candidates online first, then call the ones that seem promising. That initial phone call is the best way to put both parties at ease.

If you communicate by email, re-send the details of your ad (potential buyers are probably reaching out to several owners) and offer to answer any questions they might have.

Before setting an appointment to show your car, ask for the person's full name and offer yours. Clarify which forms of payment are acceptable to you - certified check and money orders are best. You might be surprised how many people still need to line up financing, expect you to accept a down payment, or even plan to pay you in installments! Don't waste time with these buyers.

Tip: Sell Local

To help protect yourself from fraud, it's best to sell to someone in your area. Tell prospective buyers that you don't accept out-of-state checks and that you would like to meet at the buyer's bank and go in with them to get the cashier's check. Some banks may also want to see the vehicle if the buyer has lined up financing.

Tip: Collect Your Documents In Advance
Before you meet with any potential buyers, gather all the documents you'll need so you have the option to sell the car on the spot. These may include ownership documents (title), maintenance records, and other key paperwork. Requirements and acceptable documents to complete the sale can vary, so check your state's Department of Motor Vehicles website to see what it requires when transferring ownership.

As the seller, you must provide the vehicle title and some form of odometer disclosure listing the vehicle's mileage at the time of the sale. In some states this is part of the title itself, while in other states it is a separate form. Other key documents include:

  • Warranty information
  • Bill of Sale
  • "As is" statement
  • Release of Liability form (check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles)
  • Any additional documents your state requires (such as Smog Certification in CA)
Next Step 8: Use the Test Drive to Sell
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