How to Quickly Sell a Used Car

Overview

Ready to sell that old car of yours that you can no longer afford to drive? Or maybe, you're just ready for a new car?

Regardless of your reasons, in today's high tech world, selling a used car has never been easier. However, you still need to take some basic steps to be effective at quickly selling it. Below is a brief outline of the essential steps:

  • Research the value of your car
  • Post your car for sale online
  • Wait for a buyer
  • Wheel and deal
  • Sold!

Research the Value of Your Car

To determine the resale value of your used car, you need to know exactly the features your car has. The original price/feature sticker from the dealer, if you kept it, would be the best information resource. But if you don't have that, have someone familiar with automobile features look at your car and give you an inventory of features it has. Or you can search online some of the base packages available for your make, model, and year of car.

Here are some of the information you definitely need to know to properly assess the value of your car:

Basic information:

  • make, model, and year
  • mileage
  • car style/type (e.g. SUV, minivan, sedan, hatchback, etc.)
  • drivetrain: 2 wheel drive (front or rear wheel drive) or 4 wheel drive
  • transmission: automatic or manual
  • fuel consumption in miles per gallon (15mpg city/18mpg highway)
  • engine size (example: 4 cylinders, 2.6 Liters)

If you car has them, include comfort, convenience, and looks features such as:

  • air conditioning
  • bucket seats
  • power windows
  • power door locks
  • sun/moon roof
  • cruise control
  • power steering
  • tilt steering wheel
  • alloy wheels
  • power seats
  • leather
  • AM/FM/CD audio system
  • DVD/video system
  • navigation system
  • roof rack

Once you have all the necessary information, go to the Kelly Blue Book Used Car price calculator and figure out how much your old car is worth. Keep in mind the current state of your car, and be honest.

Post Your Car For Sale Online

Sure, you can use eBay or place an ad on your local newspaper to advertise the sale of your car. But, did you know you can sell online using your local Craigslist? Craigslist is by far the best and easiest medium for selling anything online. Best of all it is free. They don't charge you a dime!

Here are a few points to keep in mind when posting on craigslist:

  • Include pictures of your car from the perspective of its four corners This way the buyer can get a virtual tour of your car, and they know you aren't hiding anything.
  • Include pictures of the car's interior if there are features worth highlighting.
  • Also include pictures of any damages, dents, obvious scratches, or problems that the buyer needs to know about. If you've reached the photo count limit (which I think is 8 on Craigslist), describe them in the car's description section. Be honest.
  • Figure out which craigslist you should use. There are many craigslist sites, so do a search for your city. If there isn't one in your area, look for the closest one.

Post your car "for sale" ad using the same format dealers and car sellers use. Below is an image of some car listings on craigslist.

Source

Wait For a Buyer

Just like fishing, you've set the bait and have thrown the line; now you wait. In this case, you've set the ad and posted it. Now you just need to sit back, relax, and wait. Alerts for inquiries will come in via email. If you have a smart phone like an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy tab, configure your email account there so that you can be immediately alerted of potential buyers wherever you happen to be!

When meeting buyers, be extremely cautious. Here are some pointers:

  • Meet the buyer only during daytime.
  • Meet the buyer at a location that is open, where people always pass--whether by car or by foot. Better yet, bring someone along with you to the meeting.
  • Only divulge information to them that is relevant to the car sale. Keep personal information away.
  • Never let the buyer take the car for a test drive unless you are absolutely sure they leave something behind they need to get back to. OR make sure you to go with them during the test drive.

Wheel and Deal

Once you've found yourself a real buyer, start wheeling and dealing; but before you start, you must already know the lowest value you'll accept.

Now, if you were realistic with your pricing, the buyer may not haggle with you at all, but if they do, explain to them the value they are getting, and remind them that your price was based on Kelly Blue Book.

Depending on how bad you want to sell the car, if the buyer continues to haggle, you might have to tell the the lowest you can go. If they still don't accept, then the deal is off. Do not be afraid to lose a buyer this way, as there will be more.

Sold!

Before you finalize the deal, make sure the buyer can pay in cash. This is a prerequisite. No cash--no deal.

With the price settled, collect your money and fill out the car pink slip--transferring ownership to the buyer. As soon as possible, turn in your part of the ownership transfer to DMV. The sooner the better as it reduces your window of liability.

Also remember to discontinue the auto insurance coverage. That is the buyer's responsibility now.

Summary

We basically talked about how to quickly sell your car. By following these steps, your car will sell quickly. Let's review the essential steps.

  1. Using kbb.com and the exact knowledge of your car's condition, research the market value of your car.
  2. Post the "car for sale" ad online. Nothing beats Craigslist.
  3. Wait for a buyer. You'll receive emails from those interested.
  4. Wheel and deal, but never go lower than your originally estimated lowest value. You much set this ahead of time.
  5. It is sold! Get the pink slip all filled out within the timelines required by your state department of motor vehicle. The sooner the better.

Good luck, and let me know how yours turn out.

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