How to Sell a Car: Tips for Getting the Most Money

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There is a lot involved with selling your car. 

You’ve got decisions to make, things to organize, and paperwork to gather to make sure the sale goes smoothly and that you satisfy all the DMV requirements. 

This page will go over the entire process of selling your car, and provide you with some tips on how to get the most money for it. 

Choosing How to Sell Your Car: Dealer Trade-in Vs. Private Sale

The first decision you need to make is how exactly you plan on selling the car. Your main options include:

  • Doing a trade-in at a car dealership. 
  • Getting an instant cash offer from a car buying company. 
  • Selling the car privately. 

If you’re looking to get the most money for your vehicle, selling it privately is typically going to be your best option. 

However, selling the car privately means there will be more work and requirements for you. 

When you go through a dealership or a car buying company, most of the hassle of selling the car will be taken care of by them, but the price you’ll get is often much lower. 

Preparing your Car For Sale

Once you’ve decided on how you’ll be selling your car, you need to get it ready for sale. 

This includes:

  • Getting it cleaned.
  • Repairing any damage. 
  • Completing any necessary smog or safety inspections. 
  • Getting your forms, paperwork, and documents in order. 

Next, you’ll need to determine the value of your car. 

Spend some time doing some research on prices of similar cars for sale in your area. 

You can use services like KBB, NADA, or Edmunds to get an idea of what a fair price is for the condition and mileage of your vehicle. 

Advertising and Finding a Buyer

If you’re selling the car yourself, your next step will be to advertise it and find a buyer. 

When advertising your car for sale, it can help to cast a wide net. This may include:

  • Creating a Car For Sale sign and posting on the vehicle.
  • Taking out an ad in your local paper. 
  • Creating online ads on different car sales websites and classifieds like Craigslist. 

When you create your advertisement, it helps to provide the potential buyer with as much detail as possible, including:

  • Clear, quality photos of all sides and the interior of the vehicle. 
  • The year, make, model. 
  • Vehicle specs, features, and any add-ons. 
  • Mileage. 
  • How the vehicle was used. 
  • Condition details. 
  • Warranty information. 
  • Why are you selling the vehicle? 
  • Condition of the tires, battery, windshield wipers, etc. 
  • The VIN.

You can typically find a buyer quicker if you provide a vehicle history report for the car. 

Purchasing a report yourself and making it available to interested buyers is a great way to build trust and get the most money for the vehicle. 

If you’ll be allowing test drives, you should double check with your insurance provider to make sure your policy covers this. 

Satisfying the DMV Requirements when Selling your Car

Once you’ve found a buyer and have agreed upon a price, it’s time to take care of the necessary paperwork. 

This will typically include:

You can learn more about the paperwork required when selling your car privately here. 

The buyer will be responsible for getting the car insured, registered, and title through their state DMV in a timely manner. 

As the seller, you’ll need to submit your Notice of Sale and cancel your car insurance policy.

Be sure to check with your state DMV about the exact steps and requirements necessary when selling a vehicle privately.