Tips to Privately Sell Your Vehicle

LifeStyle on April 24, 2019

Are you shopping for a new car? Are you okay with buying a used car? Regardless, you’ll probably want to sell your old car first. You can choose to sell your old car in two ways – opt for a trade-in at a car dealership, or sell the vehicle privately for cash.

There are many ways to sell the car privately. You can sell it online on eBay, Craigslist and other online portals or marketplaces. Or, you could just sell the car in person, to a friend, co-worker or someone you became acquainted with recently.

You could actually make more money by selling the car privately – which is the #1 reason why you should go for it. For example, a car valued a dealership at $14,000 could easily fetch $15,500 in the private market. A difference of more than 10 percent: which is pretty good, really.

But there are things to be wary of, danger signs or red flags that you should watch out for. Let’s see what they are and how to deal with them.

#1:  Screen all callers carefully.

Let’s say you list the car on Craigslist. You will receive plenty of calls from prospective buyers, as well as texts and email messages. You should ask to talk to the buyer, to get an idea of how serious they really are. If the buyer says they want to buy the car and offer to pay the full price in cash without even looking at it or taking a test drive, then that is a red flag. If the buyer offers an out-of-state check; that is another red flag. Also, you should ask to see the prospective buyer’s driver’s license before allowing them to take your car on a test drive.

#2: Take precautions before setting up a test drive.

If the buyer is legit, they should have no issue showing you their driver’s license. As the seller, it is up to you to set up the time, date and location of the test drive. You should set it at a safe, public location, where there are plenty of people moving about. Also, accompany the buyer; make sure the test drive is short, not more than 5 to 10 minutes. Ask a friend or family member to be with you as well, just to be safe.

#3: Make sure the transaction is 100% legit.

It is very important that the monetary transaction is conducted in a safe and legal manner.  If the buyer makes any unusual requests, such as offering to pay in installments or paying a part of the money now and the rest later – just say no. Insist on an all-cash deal. Have all the paperwork on hand, don’t reveal everything to the buyer and don’t sign off the car’s title until you get the full payment for the vehicle. If the buyer is paying by check, visit the website run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to make sure the check is legit.


…Be honest about the car.

Tips to Privately Sell Your Vehicle

You should be perfectly honest about the car, and not try to mislead the buyer. If there are any issues with the vehicle, don’t gloss over them. Mention them specifically. But don’t undersell the car either. Think like an ad filmmaker; emphasize its best features and what makes it worth the buyer’s money. You cannot sell the car privately unless the buyer trusts you fully.