Tips to safely sell a car on your own


From Special Reports

More and more auto buyers are considering and ultimately purchasing preowned vehicles. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, used vehicle sales in the United States have risen every year since 2013.

The increase in used car sales over the last decade reflects a growing confidence among consumers that preowned vehicles are reliable and worth buyers’ investment. Though many dealerships now offer sizable inventories of preowned vehicles, private citizens can still sell vehicles on their own. Car owners hoping to do so can consider the following tips to ensure the process is safe and smooth.

• Fix any issues with the vehicle. The competition to attract buyers’ attention will be steep. Private sellers will have to contend with the hesitation buyers naturally have about preowned vehicles as well as dealerships that specialize in used car sales. Dealerships typically offer preowned vehicle warranties that guarantee the life of certain components. To compete against such offerings, private sellers must make every effort to fix issues with their vehicles prior to putting them up for sale. Mechanical issues must be addressed, but cosmetic issues like cracks in the windshield, dents or scratches on the vehicle exterior and even aging tires should be fixed/replaced as well.

• Prepare a maintenance portfolio. A portfolio of maintenance receipts can impress buyers and reassure them that the car has been well-maintained. Receipts for oil changes, annual tune-ups, repairs that were made, and even receipts for new tires can be included in the portfolio.

• Screen prospective buyers. The automotive experts at Kelley Blue Book recommend that sellers insist on speaking with serious buyers over the phone prior to scheduling a test drive. Such conversations give sellers a chance to vet buyers about what they’re looking for and whether or not they’ve arranged financing. KBB advises sellers to be wary of buyers who offer to purchase vehicles sight unseen.

• Contact your insurance provider. Prospective buyers will want to test drive the vehicle, so contact your insurance provider to confirm that your coverage extends to other drivers. Some companies may request that you get a copy of prospective buyers’ drivers licenses. If such a request is made by your provider, mention that to buyers when speaking with them on the phone.

• Meet at a public location. When scheduling a test drive, insist on meeting at a public location away from your home, such as a grocery store parking lot. The test drive can begin and end at this location. This measure is designed to keep sellers safe.

• Insist buyers make financial arrangements on their own. When a buyer agrees to purchase the vehicle, KBB recommends that sellers insist they make financial arrangements on their own. In addition, KBB suggests asking buyers to put down a deposit and get back in touch when they’re ready to conclude the sale.

Private sellers can take various measures to ensure the process of selling their vehicles goes safely and smoothly.

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