5 Expert Tips for Selling Your Used Car


When it comes time to sell your vehicle, there are several different things you can do to help get the most value for your car, and don’t leave any extra money on the table. Selling your used car for the best price can help pay off your existing auto loan or lease and sometimes even help put some money back in your pocket. Typically, you’ll have a few different ways you can sell your car which ranges from easily selling to a local dealership to listing the car yourself and waiting for a potential private party buyer. In some cases, you may end up getting more value if you sell it to a private party but it does come with its own headaches and pitfalls. 

Regardless of which route you go when you sell your car, there are a few important tips you need to keep in mind to ensure you get the most money for your car.

Figure Out Which Way to Sell – 5 Expert Tips

Selling to A Dealership

The first thing you’ll need to figure out will be which way to sell your car. Typically, the easiest way would be to simply take it down to a dealership and either trade-in your vehicle for a new one or in most cases you can just sell them your car.

There are a few different things you’ll need to be wary of when selling or trading to a dealer. Sometimes the salesperson will combine your trade-in, the price of the new cars, plus all the additional fees into one confusing offer so you don’t really know if you’re getting a fair offer for your current car.

Also, if you’re trying to sell a higher-end luxury or exotic vehicle to your dealer you need to keep in mind that they’re more than likely trying to purchase the car as cheap as possible so they can make the most profit. Even worse, most dealers don’t really understand the value of these higher-end luxury vehicles. That’s why for these cases we usually recommend a car buying service that specializes in this field.

Instant Car Buying Services

You also have the option of using an instant car buying service that usually takes most of the hassle and stress out of the selling process while still giving you an aggressive offer. Usually, when you’re trying to sell your Mercedes Benz or any other higher end vehicle you can typically get the most value from buyers who specialize in these higher-end vehicles. All you’ll usually need to provide is your car’s VIN number, mileage, and answer a few questions about the condition before you get your instant offer.

Listing Your Car Online & Selling Private Party

Oftentimes selling your car to a private party buyer will usually get you the most value but it does typically require a lot more effort and work on your end. You’ll have to take professional photos, create a detailed description, and list your car on various sites just to get started. Afterward, you’ll have to deal with different buyers, take them out for test drives, and then negotiate with them just to get your asking price.

You also have a little more risk associated with private party buyers, while unlikely it’s still something you will need to consider when selling. When meeting the potential buyers for a test drive it’s best to meet them in a public, well-lit area to avoid any potential security risks. You also want to qualify buyers that contact you to make sure they’re not just looking to take your car for a joy ride. While you might get more value for your car in some cases it does come with a lot of extra work and hassle.

Prepare Everything for The Sale

Before you actually sell your car it’s always wise to get all your documents in order such as vehicle service records, repair records and original window stickers which is an easy way to ensure you get the most value for your car. Most people including luxury buying services are willing to pay more for vehicles with a detailed history and records. Having all these documents handy when dealing with buyers will help reduce any potential concerns they may have. Also if your vehicle was involved in an accident or had body repairs done, having documents showing that the work was performed by a reputable shop will help ease potential buyers.

If you don’t have access to any of your old records, providing buyers with a vehicle history report from either CarFax or AutoCheck will help show some important details that a potential buyer may want to know.

You should also contact your lender if you still have any balance remaining on your loan or lease to figure out the steps, you’ll need to take to get your vehicle’s title. When you’re dealing with a dealership or an instant car buying service, they’ll typically handle all of this for you.This is usually most important when you’re trying to sell your car to a private party and will let you buyer know when they should expect the title transfer. Larger banks and lendering will usually take a little longer compared to small lenders because they have so many titles to process so it’s always important to find out before you sell your car.

Get Your Vehicle Ready for Sale

When it comes time to sell your car, you’ll always want to see if the vehicle needs any work or repairs that can help get you more value. This can be tricky at times because you obviously don’t want to spend a bunch of money into a vehicle, you’re looking to sell but if it can add value it may be worth your investment.

According to experts at Business Insider, if you’re looking to sell a higher-end luxury sedan that’s only a few years old then it may be wise to take the time to detail your car prior to sale, ensure your tires have enough tread left, your recent oil change was done so you can try to get the highest selling price.

Some states like California will require you to have an up-to-date smog check certificate or vehicle inspection before you can legally sell your car. If the car doesn’t pass you may be forced to pay for the repairs or even take the car back, so it’s always wise to ensure you’re up to date before selling.

Complete the Paperwork

Thankfully when you’re selling your car to a dealership or an instant car buying service, they’ll handle all the paperwork needed to complete the vehicle transfer and everything required by the DMV.

However, if you’re planning on selling your car through a private party, you will need to check with your state’s DMV to see what documents need to be completed for the title and registration transfer. You should also provide a Bill of Sale Form to your customer, which you can easily download for free from various sites. Ensure you add the words vehicles sold as is to make sure they clearly understand you will not be offering any warranty or coverage and the sale is final.

You’ll also want to call your insurance agent right away and remove the vehicle from your policy and if your vehicle was signed up with TollRoads you should also remove your old car from your account to prevent unwanted changes in the future.

How to Get Paid

Now that you’re finally ready to sell your car and get paid there are a few things you will want to keep in mind. If you have equity in your vehicle and selling to a dealer or instant car buying service, you can have them cut you a check or apply the equity towards a new car if you’re purchasing another.

When you’re dealing with private party buyers things tend to get a little more complicated but we always recommend meeting them at their bank to avoid any potential risks or future issues with payment. Have your buyer get a cashier’s check from their bank and sign off on all paperwork before you hand over the keys. With the recent rise in check fraud, it’s always wise to check with the bank that issued the check to ensure it’s valid before you transfer the title over.


Thankfully in today’s day in age car owners have so many different methods they can utilize when selling a car. If you keep these important tips in mind when it’s time to sell your vehicle you will surely be able to get the most value for your vehicle and can easily avoid a lot of the frustrations and hassle that usually comes along with the selling process.

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