Trading in your car may be the simplest way to turn your car into cash, but selling your car yourself may reward you with a higher return. The process may be a bit more complex, but if you can find the right buyer, you may just walk away with more money for a down payment on a newer car. If you’re unsure of how to sell a car, follow the steps below to make the sale as simple and straightforward as possible.

Get started Start Your Car Bill of Sale Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Prepare for the Sale

Preparation is the one thing that most people overlook when learning how to sell a car. Before setting an asking price and placing an ad, you need to gather your car’s paperwork. This includes your original sales paperwork, the car’s title, and any service records that you may have.

These documents will provide buyers with important information about your car, including your car’s style and any optional features it may have, such as leather seats, a navigation system, or keyless entry. These additional features will add to your car’s resale value and allow you to create a thorough description of your car. Service records also serve as proof that the car is well-maintained and in good working condition.

In addition to this paperwork, you should also create a Car Bill of Sale to make the sale official with the DMV. We offer a customizable Car Bill of Sale template that you can use to complete your sale.

Increase Your Car’s Resale Value

While you always have the option of selling your car as-is, it’s often better to go the extra mile to fix up your car and increase its resale value. Depending on the condition of your car, it may be worthwhile to:

  • Invest in a professional detailing job
  • Replace the car’s lights
  • Fix windshield chips or cracks
  • Replace worn tires
  • Fix any cosmetic blemishes

It’s also a good idea to get the car’s oil changed and to perform any scheduled maintenance before putting your car up for sale.

Set an Asking Price and Place an Ad

Setting an asking price is one of the most challenging parts of the process. Determining the value of your car is no easy task. Most sellers will first check the Blue Book value of their vehicle and set a price based on this number. It may also be a good idea to check the local classifieds and online ads to see what other people are asking for with similar cars.

If you’re looking for a quick sale, you may want to set your price lower than average. A lower price may also be appropriate if the car was in an accident or needs major repairs, such as new tires or brakes.

Cars that are well-maintained, under a transferrable warranty, or have just had new tires or brakes installed can demand a higher price.

Once you’ve settled on an asking price, you can place an ad in the local newspaper or online. If you’re unsure of how to sell a car online, most websites will provide you with a simple guide on how to upload your listing and interact with buyers.

Screen Potential Buyers

To make the sales process as stress-free and simple as possible, you should consider screening potential buyers before setting up appointments for test drives. Ask for the buyer’s full name and make sure that you clarify which methods of payment you accept.

It’s often best not to waste time on buyers that are looking to pay in installments or are trying to secure financing. Payment through certified check or money order is typically the best option.

Complete the Sale

Once you’ve found the right buyer, you and the buyer will need to sign and date the Bill of Sale. In addition you’ll need to:

  • Sign over the car’s title to the buyer
  • Fill out, sign, and submit the release of liability to your local DMV
  • Remove the car from your insurance policy
  • Some states will also require you to remove the license plates

Before handing over the keys to the buyer, make sure that you make copies of all the signed paperwork. Additional paperwork may also be required by your state, so make sure that you research local laws and regulations before completing the sale.

Get started Start Your Car Bill of Sale Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Car Bill of Sale Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.