Moving to a new city? Need some extra cash? Looking to upgrade your vehicle? Whatever your circumstance, selling a used car is not as simple as it looks. It takes time, energy, and usually, money. Decisions need to be made and steps taken.
Luckily, you can make the process a lot simpler if you decide to sell to a dealership. You won’t have to research the market, set prices, advertise, or spend time showing the car and dealing with all the back and forth involved with a private buyer.
Time is money. If you value your time, then you’ll agree that selling to a dealership is a lot simpler and overall, cheaper than selling to a private buyer. And, if you are looking to buy a new car, you cannot beat the convenience and affordability of trade-in values at dealerships. Whether you are selling your car for cold hard cash or are looking for a trade-in deal, speak with us first.*
While some factors may be out of your control (location, market, etc.), these steps and techniques for selling your car will increase your odds of success.
Steps for selling your vehicle to a private buyer:
- Determine the vehicle’s worth
- Gather the paperwork
This includes the title, maintenance records, bill of sale, release of liability, warranty documents, and as-is documentation.
- Get the car ready
Clean the car inside and out. Shine the exterior, vacuum the interior, replace any damaged floor mats, and clean rims and tires. Or, go with a professional car detailer.
- Take pictures
You should have high-quality images from multiple angles for your advertisement. This includes, all sides of the exterior, front and back seat, trunk, dashboard, carpets, wheels, and engine.
- Find a place to advertise
There are many options available to you, some better than others. You’ll want to compare among the following advertising methods: social media, “for sale” window signs, newspapers and other print media, craigslist, eBay, cars.com, autotrader.com, Kelley Blue Book, and Beepi.
- Create an ad
Creating a good ad that will get a response takes some time and effort. You want to come across as a trustworthy person who has taken care of their car. At the absolute minimum, you’ll want to make sure that you include the price, mileage, modifications, VIN number, and the number of owners.
- Screen potential buyers
This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process. You can help eliminate the number of false leads by choosing carefully where and how you are advertising your vehicle. Regardless of where the potential buyer comes from, you’ll want to verify their full name, clarify acceptable forms of payment, only accept full payment, and determine if the buyer is in the area.
- Give your sales pitch
You’ll have to bring out your inner salesperson to pitch your car to prospective buyers.
- Negotiate the sale price
If you are set on the price, stand firm. Most private car buyers, however, are expecting to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to counter-offer to get a price you both agree on. Write down your lowest acceptable price and never go lower than that.
- Finalize the sale
You’ll need to do a couple of things before you can successfully transfer ownership to another person. The sale isn’t complete until you complete a title transfer. You may also need a bill of sale, depending on what state you are in. After payment is accepted and the bill of sale completed, you need to sign over the title, fill out a Release of Liability (if required), provide warranty documents (if applicable), maintenance records, and any additional paperwork your state may require.
Don’t forget to hand over the keys and remove your vehicle from your insurance policy.
– steps via DMV.org
How to Sell Your Vehicle to a Dealership
In contrast, here are the steps for selling your car to a dealership:
Bring your car, truck, or SUV into one of our locations (Chattanooga, Dalton, Cleveland, or Dayton)
We’ll give you a free appraisal
Sell us your car
We don’t know about other dealerships, but at Auto Simple, we make it as easy as 1-2-3. Yes, it’s that easy. You’ll avoid all the hassle of paperwork, dealing with multiple buyers, and waiting for payment.
What Is My Vehicle Worth?
If you want an estimated appraisal before you bring in your vehicle, we do that too! Simply fill out this form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.
Even though selling your car at Auto Simple saves you a lot of inconvenience and annoyance, you still want to get a good deal. Here are some insider secrets to get top-dollar for your vehicle:
Bring in your vehicle
While it may seem obvious not to bring in a filthy vehicle that still has last week’s fast food in the back, other things are not so self-evident. Before you get your used car, truck or SUV appraised, take the time to go through these steps:
Clean the car inside and out.
Read this WikiHow article for tips on detailing your car before bringing it in for sale. Sometimes, however, the job is too big for one car owner. In this case, it may be best to take your car into a professional detailer. It may cost you around $100, but you’ll almost definitely make this money back. Besides the beautiful result of professional detailing, you’ll also send a message that you’ve been taking good care of your vehicle.
Here are some quick tips for cleaning your vehicle before sale:
- Take everything out of the vehicle.
- Clean the inside and outside.
- Top off fluids (oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc.)
- Get rid of the smell (use this WikiHow article)
Take vehicle into a mechanic.
You will want to find out what’s wrong with your car before the dealership does. Make sure your inspection is thorough. Typically, a thorough inspection will cost around $100. If it’s less than $75, it’s probably not good enough.
By inspecting the car first, you’ll have some extra documentation and be able to disclose the findings. This builds trust and confidence. Additionally, you’ll have a second opinion to compare against the mechanic who does the inspection for the buyer.
Bring in all the documentation you can.
Gather copies of all of your vehicle’s maintenance records. If you don’t have them, you may be able to call your local mechanic for copies (usually for a fee).
Determine a price.
There are several ways to get a suggested sales price for your car. We recommend checking out Kelly Blue Book and some private-party sales of cars that are the same make and model as yours. Set a reasonable sale price, but be prepared to lower it a bit and you’ll be happy with the end result.
We’ll give you a free appraisal
After you have prepped your vehicle for sale, bring it into one of our dealerships. We have mechanics and appraisers on the spot so you can get your quote the very same day.* The offer will be valid for 7 days.
Bring documentation and paperwork.
Don’t forget to bring the following:
- Your vehicle’s title (or payoff information)
- Valid and current vehicle registration (verifies you are the owner)
- Government issued photo ID
- All keys and remotes (if damaged or missing, your offer may be adjusted)
- Maintenance records (recommended but not required)
Feel free to download our checklist before you arrive.
If for any reason you don’t have your title or the titleholder is unable to make it, give us a call before you arrive: 1-877-794-ACAR
Sell us your car
If you like our offer, you can sell us your car and get paid on the spot.* It’s that easy! There’s no pressure or obligation. If you want to sell your car easy and fast, Auto Simple is your simplest and best choice.
Buy Here Sell Here—We Buy Cars!
*Contact us for further details.
Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600
Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600
Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600
Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)