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It’s time to sell your vehicle, but you’re not sure whether to sell it privately or head to a dealership and potentially use it as a trade-in toward your next vehicle. Many people believe that selling their vehicles themselves puts more money in their wallets. However, this isn’t the case when you consider the investment of your time and the potential risks.
When you sell your vehicle privately, presentation means everything. This means taking extra time to have it cleaned or detailed and to have any issues repaired unless you decide to sell it as-is. Many private buyers will go over the vehicle carefully and use any areas of repair or signs of wear as an opportunity for negotiation. This can lead to a much lower offer than you expected and put you in a position to accept the offer if you’re in a rush to sell or reject it and spend more time looking for another buyer or fixing those areas of concern.
You’ll spend a lot of time answering questions about the vehicle, distinguishing between scammers and potential buyers, and scheduling appointments for buyers to look at and test drive the vehicle. This presents a significant risk because you don’t want to hand the keys over to a stranger who can drive off without paying. But, it’s also not exactly safe to get in a car with a stranger.
There’s also a risk of dissatisfaction after the sale. Since the buyer has your contact information and your address via the title, the buyer could demand a refund or even sue if you failed to inform them of significant issues with the vehicle. This makes privately selling a vehicle a huge risk with potentially damaging financial effects.
You can alleviate all these concerns and risks by selling your car to a dealership. Our experts will evaluate your vehicle and give you the best offer based on its fair market value. If you accept the offer, we can put the total toward your next vehicle. We’ll even pick up the vehicle at a time and location that’s most convenient for you.
Unless you’re willing to sell the vehicle as-is, you may want to have it inspected by a professional mechanic before you sell it. The “Check Engine” light that you’ve been ignoring or the broken radio is troublesome to potential buyers and can bring the value of a vehicle down even when you’re selling to a dealership. Having a professional mechanic inspect the vehicle will give you more information about any underlying issues, estimated repair cars, or how much you can expect to take off the offer if you choose not to have the issues repaired.
The next step in getting your vehicle ready to sell is removing your personal items. Your vehicle has likely accumulated a lot of stuff, from sunglasses and phone chargers to loose change, garage door remotes, gym bags, and beyond. You need to remove these items and clear any personal data from the vehicle. If the vehicle has a built-in garage door remote, check the owner’s manual to reset the remote. You’ll also want to unpair your phone from the vehicle and remove any personal data from the infotainment system, the steps of which you’ll find in the owner’s manual.
Would you go on a first date covered in mud from head to toe? Likely not, and the same should be true for your vehicle when you’re ready to sell it. You want your vehicle to make a great first impression, which means taking the time to clean it or have it professionally detailed. While you can easily use automotive-specific products to clean your vehicle, keep in mind that professional detailers can get the vehicle as close to its original condition as possible, making it all the more attractive to the buyer.
Before you sell your vehicle, it’s important to do your research. Find the vehicle identification number on the title, your insurance card, or on the vehicle itself. You can use this number on sites like Kelley Blue Book to determine the fair market value of the vehicle based on its condition and the area. This will give you a better idea of what the vehicle is worth. If you still owe on the vehicle, get your loan balance to see how much you need to get for the vehicle to pay off the loan.
The last step in selling your vehicle is gathering the right paperwork to complete the process. At the minimum, you’ll need the title to the vehicle or proof of ownership. If you own the vehicle outright, then you should have the title. However, if your vehicle has a lien and you’re making monthly payments, then the lienholder or bank has the title. You’ll simply need to give us the current payoff, and we’ll handle paying off the loan with the bank.
Other documents that are helpful include: