Selling cars, especially selling used cars, is not an easy task. It can take months, and there are so many things you have to be cognizant with. Here is a how-to guide on selling cars, with some tips thrown in to ensure your protection financially and legally.
Have a car you need to sell? Well, if you are planning to roll out your faithful steed out of your garage forever, you must at least make sure that you are getting the best deal for it. There are some things that must be kept in mind when selling cars secondhand. This is a guide on how to sell a car that has been down the beaten path for quite some time.
# 1: Estimate the Fair Value of Your Car
The first thing you must do when selling cars is to find out what the current price of your car is. Even before deciding to sell your used car, you must know that cars depreciate like nothing else, and so you must not keep high hopes. Your best bet will be to visit a reputed garage and get a fair assessment done, or you could go online and use some resources there to find out how much your car is worth in its present state. Whatever price you hit at, raise a few hundred dollars above it. You will need to keep some leeway for the evident bargaining that will follow.
# 2: Pimp up Your Car for the Sale
No, you do not require any MTV-style pimping up for your car, but you will need at least to carry out some repairs here and there. If something is really wrong with any of car’s vital components, then you might even get it replaced. If you have to spend a few ten-dollar bills, but that raises the value of your car by a couple of hundred dollars, then surely it is a good thing to do.
Also, before you plan to actually sell your car, do some accessorizing and general facelift procedures on your car. This includes replacing window glasses and wipers, changing torn upholstery and carpeting, replacing broken knobs, etc. This will definitely fetch a good price, even if you have to sell a junk car!
# 3: Get your Car Serviced
Check if your car is still meeting the pollution control norms. See if the car’s emission is in perfect order. Check out with your local authorities if your car violates any traffic regulations. If yes, then find ways to set them right before you sell your car. Prospective buyers will scrutinize every portion and function of your car, and if there is any flouting of rules, then your car will keep gathering dust in your garage, but will not pass into another owner’s hands ever.
# 4: Keep all Your Records in Order
You will have to ensure that all of your car’s paperwork is up to snatch before you put it up for sale. This will include current registration records for your car, ownership documents, insurance documents, service and parts replacement records for your car, pollution control records, etc. Also, if any parking tickets are due, make sure you pay them off.
# 5: Advertise Your Car
There are many places where you can advertise your used car for sale. You can put up fliers in local clubs, church bulletin boards, grocery shop advertisement boards, local garage sales, and even insert some captivating ads in local publications. There is no need to mention your asking price, but you must mention the brand and make of your car, and give a fair indication of how old the car is.
Describe the condition of the car in approximate terms, using phrases such as ‘excellent working condition’, ‘very good condition’, ‘no complaint condition’, ‘needing slight repair’, etc. Give your phone number, but there is no need to give more information. Interested people will call you, and then you can fix up an appointment with them.
# 6: Allow Prospective Buyers to Inspect Your Car
No one will arrive with a fat roll of bills in their pocket, hand it over to you, and take the car keys from your hands. There will be a lot of inspection for your used car, and that is an important part when you sell cars. If you have to sell your car, you will have to allow people to inspect the car, even if they bring their own mechanic along, or ask you to take the car to a garage of their choice. Of course, their requests must be reasonable. Do not just accept whatever they say, because they will not be the last buyers on Earth for your car. Do not allow people to take your car on a test drive by themselves. That’s the surest way of losing your car to strangers.
# 7: Negotiate, but Negotiate Wisely
When you sell your car, a rule of the thumb is to never accept the first offer that comes your way. Even if the offer made is way above what you expect, and you will definitely do cartwheels inside your house when they are gone, it pays to be patient and appear to consider their offer. Make a grimace too, if you are good at that sort of thing. And this is true even if you are out to sell a junk car. The reason to be a bit reticent here is, if you jump and accept the first offer that is thrown at you, people will definitely think there is some hidden snag in your car. If that happens, they will check up on your car more severely, and the deal might entirely get off too.
On the other hand, if someone really makes a ridiculously low offer, politely show them the way out. If their offers are low, there is no point even wasting time with a counteroffer. Wait and more offers will come. Patience is extremely important when you sell your car.
# 8: Be Particular About the Payment Mode
If you wade through the entire rigmarole of advertising, soliciting prospective buyers, haggling like an old woman buying apples from a roadside vendor, and finally settling down to an offer you can live with, you can enjoy the opportunity to get paid for your car. Selling your car has finally borne fruit, but you must be wary here. There are a great number of people who have accepted personal checks and allowed their cars to be driven away, only to realize three days later that the checks have been dishonored. Don’t let this happen to you. If not cash, at least insist on a money order or a cashier’s check.
# 9: Transfer all Documents to the New Buyer
Make sure you transfer all the documents to the new buyer along with the car keys. However, this is one point you need not be unduly worried about. The buyers themselves will make sure they get all the documents needed to establish their ownership of the car.
# 10: Wash Your Hands off the Sold Car Completely
Now that the car is not yours, you will have to ensure that no liabilities of the car get attached to you in future. Call up the insurance company and tell them you have sold the car, so that the policy gets canceled or transferred to the new buyer. Notify the concerned vehicles department in your state about the change in ownership. That will protect you in case the car has been mishandled or involved in accidents or crime. Once you sell your car, you want no ghosts of your car to come back and haunt you.