So you’ve decided for one reason or another to sell or trade your car yourself. There are several things that one should know if they’ve decided to do this on their own.
Bobby Newton has 10 years of experience and shares his advice for those that will be doing their own selling or trading.
The Absolute Basics When Selling Your Vehicle
Basically to be able to sell your car yourself, there’s one thing and one thing only that you need. A clear title. That’s it! If you have a clear title to the car in your name, then it’s very easy to transfer it to a new owner. If there are any lien holders on the title then it’s not a clear title and you will need to address the lien holders. If there’s money owed on the car in all likelihood the title will have the entity that it’s owed to listed as a lien holder.
Beyond that, there are I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed in the process so let’s move forward.
Basic Title Transfers
Your car title is the official/legal documentation of who owns the vehicle and a seller should make sure that a buyer updates the new ownership with the local DMV office. This should be done when the vehicle is being sold. If you’re the seller you do not want the buyer driving around in the vehicle without it legally registered under their own name. Making sure the title is legally transferred to the buyer, relieves the seller of all responsibility for the vehicle. The seller then has peace of mind knowing that if the car is involved in an accident there will be no legal repercussions coming back to themselves.
How to Maximize the Amount of Money When You Sell or Trade a Vehicle
This is easy. We’ve all gone to a car dealership to look at used cars. It’s amazing how clean some of them are. And it’s because they’ve been professionally detailed.
Detailing a car can be done in a day and most of the products used to accomplish it are already around the house. Start by hand washing the car and make sure you wash the wheels and tires good, then shammy it. Be sure to get all of the water spots off. You may even go bit further by taking a little bit of fine steel wool and going over the chrome fixtures inside and outside of the car.
Next give the interior a good cleaning paying special attentions to the windows. Clean glass matters a lot. Check the trunk, glove box, door panel containers, and the center console storage areas and make sure they’re empty of trash and other items not related to the car. Have the owner’s manual in the glove box of the car with all of the maintenance records for a potential buyer to inspect.
What About Under the Hood?
Cleaning the engine compartment is easy. Just warm the engine up good then stop by the car wash and spray under the hood real good. Leave the engine running when you’re doing the spraying. Don’t bear down on the alternator either, you could possibly damage the internal components. Just hold the wand back and give it a light spraying. Don’t worry about getting the engine wet. Modern cars ignition systems are very tight.
Once you’ve got that done, drive to your local auto parts store and get a can of engine bright. Go home and read the instructions on the can then apply it by spraying it all over everything under the hood. It will look wet and oily but don’t worry. Just close the hood and wait about an hour then open it back up. The results will be shocking. Everything will look almost brand new.
Determining the Value of Your Car or Truck?
This is the most revealing aspect of the whole process. Determining a cars value while easy can sometimes also be difficult if there have been customizations done on the car since it left the factory. Modern consumers always think of Kelly Blue Book values when thinking about how to price a vehicle they’re selling. We recommend visiting their website and using their free valuation tools to determine your vehicles value. Follow this link to their site http://www.kbb.com/whats-my-car-worth/. Once you’ve completed the questionnaire and found your vehicles current value print out the report. This will be valuable when talking price with a prospective buyer.
Making the Transfer to the New Owner
When you sell your car as one individual to another there are a few rules you need to observe. One is to never take partial payment with the remaining payment promised to be delivered later. Your buyer needs to pay everything up front. If you’re taking a check from them, inform them that they cannot take delivery of the vehicle until the check clears your bank. We all like to think the best of people, but sadly promises made are sometimes promises broken.
Get the title legally transferred into their name after payment is received. It’s important that you not let a buyer pay you for the purchase then just drive off in the car. If that car is still registered to you then you’re still liable for it. Make arrangements to meet the buyer at the DMV and do a legal title transfer where you actually see the transfer happen at the DMV. Doing this will give you piece of mind that you’re no longer legally bound to the vehicle and will have no legal repercussions if it’s involved in a wreck or some type of illegal activity.
Remember! The only unanswered questions are the ones that don’t get asked.