If you plan to sell a car, there are several important things to keep in mind and procedures to follow. Here are some helpful tips and guidelines to ease you through the process.

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Inform yourself.
  Before selling your car, be sure to know what the law requires. Laws vary by state, so check with your state’s DMV for all specific laws and regulations.

Know your car. Before you put your car on the market, be sure to know all important information about your car, as potential buyers will want to know this. Know the car’s VIN, make and model, condition, mileage, color, maintenance history, and any special features that could attract buyers.

Know your market. What kind of potential buyers will be interested in your car? For example, are you selling a sleek, high-speed sports car or a more family-friendly minivan? Try to target your advertising to this demographic or geographic location.

Set a price. When setting a price, consult other advertisements to see what other similar car sellers are asking for. You generally can get a lot more money by selling the car yourself rather than by trading the car in at the dealership. However, it is not uncommon for people to go through a car dealership. If you choose to sell it yourself, define your accepted forms of payment to potential buyers.

Prepare your car. Give the interior and exterior of your car a thorough inspection and cleaning to make the best impression possible. Repair all dents and damages and have any maintenance records or mechanic’s reports ready to show buyers.

Advertise. The better you advertise your car, the more likely it is to be sold. Increase your car’s visibility by posting ads online, in local newspapers and magazines, and put “For Sale” signs in the car windows. One of the most common buyer questions is the reason you are selling your car, so be sure to briefly answer this in your ads. Remember to be honest: caution them on anything about the car that needs fixing.

Read more about finalizing your car sale in How to Sell a Car Part 2: Completing the Sale.

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

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