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How to Sell a Car Like a Pro

13 August 2019 AutoMarket, Tips & Advice

After many adventures and road trips, it’s time to move on from your four-wheeled friend. Of course, parting ways isn’t always that straightforward. For first-timers, selling your old car can be challenging at best.

If you’re having trouble generating interest from prospective buyers, you could use a nudge in the right direction. Motor Matcher has put together some tips to help you sell a car like pro.

Tip #1: Prepare all the necessary paperwork

Before advertising your car, make sure you’ve got all of the admin out of the way. Having your papers in order is a big selling point, because it means less hassle for the buyer. These include:

  • Original certificate or registration: A used car buyer will likely ask you to present the vehicle’s original certificate of registration (or at least a certified copy of it). This documentation proves that the vehicle is currently registered and verifies that the accompanying sticker is on the license plate. Beware of the word “encumbered” on your document. This means the vehicle has not yet been cleared with the financing entity that paid for the car. If your car is encumbered, be sure to have your reasons prepared along with supporting documentation.
  • Official receipt: An official receipt confirms that the car is currently registered. When presenting an official receipt, double check that it is up-to-date.
  • Absolute Deed of Sale: An Absolute Deed of Sale acts a receipt for the sale of a used car. In other countries, a Transfer of Title is more important than an Absolute Deed of Sale, or as others might call it, a used car Bill of Sale. When completing an Absolute Deed of Sale, confirm that the document contains the following information:
    • Purchase price and sales price
    • Vehicle year, make and model
    • Name and contact information of both buyer and seller
    • Date of sale.
  • Endorsement from the insurance company to the new owner: An endorsement from the insurance company states that the vehicle’s new owner is responsible for paying the insurance premium from the date of sale onwards.
  • Transfer of Title: Though it isn’t legally required, it’s always best to include a Transfer of Title in your documentation in case any complications arise. For instance, you could be found liable for any accident that the car is involved in if you are still the vehicle’s named owner. To protect yourself, enlist the services of an attorney to assist you with the Transfer of Title and ensure everything is done by the book.
  • Car loan (if applicable)
  • Maintenance records: Though these don’t count as official documentation, maintenance records can be very valuable. By providing these to prospective buyers, you’re establishing trust, which is crucial when selling a used car. Many buyers are sceptical about buying a used car from a private seller. They may be concerned that they will experience issues with it, which would be expensive to fix. Service documents act as proof that your car is in good condition and has been well looked after, meaning the risk of any breakdowns or malfunctions is lower.

Before you sell a car, you will also need to check with your state department in charge of motor vehicles for any other paperwork requirements pertaining to transfer of ownership. Having all of this organised in advance makes you a more attractive and reliable seller.

Tip #2: Estimate the value of your car to set the right price 

To set a fair price for your car, you must estimate its value. There are a number of key factors to take into account in determining what price to sell a car for, such as mileage, model, year and physical condition. 

Do your research to put a realistic price tag on your car that will attract buyers, while getting you the best deal. If you’re unsure, try the Motor Matcher Car Selling tool. Simply type in your vehicle’s details and see what the standard asking price is among other sellers. Compare listings of cars similar to yours to make sure you’re not asking for too much or too little.

Tip #3: Make your car presentable and attractive

If you want to catch someone’s eye initially, it’s what’s on the outside that counts. Before posting any photos or arranging any viewings, give your car the ultimate spring cleaning. Make sure the interior and exterior are spotless and looking their very best. It’s probably worth getting your car washed and valeted for a professional finish. Sometimes it’s best to leave these things to the experts.

Tip #4: Create a car add that sells

If you want to sell a car, be sure to include all of the important information in your ad. This includes a detailed description of the car, its special features, a breakdown of the asking price, high-quality photos, warranty information, and reason for sale. Providing these details adds a layer of legitimacy to your ad.

#5: Manage inquiries and screen callers carefully

You can expect to hear from interested buyers via phone or email, so if you’re not prepared for a large volume of enquiries, it’s best to use an alternate contact number or email address. By separating them from your personal messages, you will be able to manage queries more easily. Be prepared for the usual topics of questioning, e.g. reasons for sale, current condition, vehicle history etc. A serious buyer will want to know all of this information, and having all of it on hand will give you confidence as a seller.

Tip #6: Arrange inspection and test drive

Many buyers will want to test drive the car and have it inspected by a mechanic prior to purchase. These are standard precautionary measures when you sell a car. If the buyer chooses to take it to the mechanic, the norm is for them to shoulder the inspection fee. However, if any issues are found, it’s up to the seller to decrease the asking price. For the test drive, arrange to meet at a safe, public location during the day time and always accompany them in the passenger seat.

Tip #7: Accept the offer and close the deal

Buyers will most likely try to negotiate with you and whittle down the price. Therefore, have a minimum price in mind that you are willing to accept. This will help you to feel calm and self-assured, so that you don’t get flustered and accept a bad deal. Both the buyer and the seller should be happy with the final price. Let them know in advance whether you want cash, a bank transfer, or any other preferred payment method. Once payment is received in full, you can sign and date the title and provide the buyer with a bill of sale. 

By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to sell a car with confidence and generate interest in your car. It can be a daunting task for first time buyers, but once you have your information and supporting documentation in order, half the battle is done.

If you don't want to sell a car privately, you have other options. Motor Matcher is a trusted platform for selling used cars, minus the hassle. All you need is the car make, model, registration year, variant and you’re ready to sell.

At Motor Matcher, everything we do is modelled around providing customers with the right tools and empowering them with rich information, helping them make sound decisions when buying and selling cars. We offer a faster, simpler way to compare new and used cars online, creating an ideal and safe marketplace for all car buyers and sellers.

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