How to Sell Your Car. Whoa...This is Happening!

How to Sell Your Car. Whoa…This is Happening!

I’ve had my car since I turned 16. SIXTEEN?! Yes, 16. It’s my baby. Dependable. Trustworthy. Quirky but lovable. You get it. Anyways…one of the BIG To Do’s on my ridiculously long “Stuff to Get Done Before Moving Across the World” list was to sell my car and it was stressing me out big time.
I‘ve never sold a car. I’ve never bought a car used. I had no idea how to go about such a task. Worry not – it took me FOUR DAYS – here’s how I did it:
  • Visit Kelley Blue Book to determine what your car is worth
    • TradeIn Value (how much you should expect a dealership to give you for it)
    • Private Party Value (how much you should expect to get for it on Craigslist)
  • Take it in to a dealership
    • Have them assess your car and tell you how much they would give you for it no questions asked. No bargaining. This will be the absolute least you will get for your car. It’s nice to know that before you start putting legwork into – regardless of offers you get, you can always just take it to the dealership hassle-free
  • Post it on Craigslist
    • Put it up for a price that’s reasonable (in the Kelley Blue Book range), but higher than what you actually expect to get
    • Add some pictures and a description – be honest about the imperfections
    • I recommend creating a separate email account for this post – you get a lot of emails once you’ve posted it and a lot of them are kinda weird
  • Choose the winners
    • You are all smart folks…you can tell the difference between a serious normal-person buyer versus a creepy CL scammer – assess the inquiry e-mails you get, respond to those that sound legit
  • Meet prospective buyers
    • NOW BE CAREFUL WITH THIS ONE…I’m a lady. And a tiny one at that. There was no way I was meeting anyone without McKay present. Regardless of your gender or stature – meet in a safe and public place where you feel comfortable
    • Let them test drive it, but ask to see their driver’s license and proof of insurance. Also, either get in the car and go with them or take their car keys and let them go on their own if you feel comfortable
  • Accept an offer
    • Knowing what the dealership will give you, you now have a baseline of how low you will go with prospective buyers trying to bargain – stick to it and take your time
    • I don’t really know how to deal with large sums of cash money – I mean…I don’t have one of those dollar bill checker pens just laying around and honestly a suitcase full of money sketches me out. My buyer and I went to Wells Fargo together where he got a cashiers check in my name with me present
  • Make it official…the paperwork you’ll need to fill out
    • Pink Slip for your car which you’ll sign over to the owner
    • Bill of Sale (I used this form downloaded from the DMV site)
    • As Is Addendum (this form makes it clear that you are no longer responsible for any further maintenance costs) – the only official one I could find had to be purchased here, but since my buyer was pretty awesome and trustworthy – I used this one which was free
    • Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability – must be filed with the DMV within five days of the sale and can be filed online here

Sale complete – CONGRATS!

I was very lucky – the first potential buyer I met with ended up being the one to buy the car. He was extremely pleasant to work with, very reasonable and I am happy to know my baby has gone to a good home!

-E.