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What To Do When You Sell A Car Privately?

If you’re thinking about selling your car, you might be wondering what the best way to do it is. Selling a car privately can be a great way to get more money for your vehicle than trading it in at a dealership, but it can also be a bit more complicated. In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about selling a car privately, from preparing your car for sale to finding the right buyer and completing the sale.

Preparing Your Car for Sale

The first step in selling a car privately is to get it ready for sale. This involves a few key tasks:

Clean Your Car

The first thing you should do is give your car a thorough cleaning. This includes washing the exterior, vacuuming the interior, and wiping down all surfaces. A clean car will look more attractive to potential buyers.

Make Any Necessary Repairs

If there are any mechanical or cosmetic issues with your car, you should address them before putting it up for sale. This could include anything from getting an oil change to fixing a dent.

Gather All Necessary Documents

Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork for your car, including the title, registration, and any service records. You’ll need these documents to transfer ownership of the car to the new owner.

Pricing Your Car

Once your car is ready for sale, you’ll need to determine its value. There are a few different ways to do this:

Look Up the Value Online

You can use online resources like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to get an idea of what your car is worth. These tools take into account factors like the make and model of your car, its age, and its condition.

Check Classified Ads

Another way to gauge the value of your car is to look at classified ads for similar vehicles in your area. This will give you an idea of what other sellers are asking for their cars.

Get an Appraisal

If you want a more accurate assessment of your car’s value, you can take it to a professional appraiser. This will cost you some money, but it can be worth it if you’re not sure what your car is worth.

Advertising Your Car

Once you’ve determined your car’s value, it’s time to start advertising it. There are a few different ways to do this:

Use Online Classifieds

You can use websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to list your car for sale. Make sure to include detailed information about your car, including its make and model, mileage, and condition, as well as plenty of photos.

Advertise in Print

You can also place an ad in your local newspaper or other print publications. This can be a good way to reach potential buyers who might not be searching online.

Use Social Media

Don’t forget about social media! You can post about your car for sale on your personal Facebook page or in local buy/sell/trade groups.

Showing Your Car

Once you start getting inquiries about your car, you’ll need to be ready to show it to potential buyers. Here are a few tips:

Be Prepared

Make sure your car is clean and ready to show at all times. You never know when a potential buyer might want to come see it.

Meet in a Public Place

When showing your car to strangers, it’s a good idea to meet in a public place, like a shopping center or parking lot.

Be Honest

Be upfront about any issues with your car. If a potential buyer discovers a problem you didn’t disclose, it could ruin the sale.

Completing the Sale

Once you’ve found a buyer for your car, it’s time to complete the sale. This involves a few steps:

Transfer Ownership

Make sure to transfer ownership of the car to the new owner. You’ll need to sign over the title and any other necessary paperwork.

Get Paid

Make sure you get paid for the car before handing over the keys. You can accept cash, a cashier’s check, or a wire transfer.

Cancel Your Insurance

Don’t forget to cancel your insurance on the car once it’s sold. You don’t want to keep paying for insurance on a car you no longer own.


Selling a car privately can be a great way to get more money for your vehicle, but it does require some preparation and effort. By following these tips, you can make sure your car is ready for sale, find the right buyer, and complete the sale smoothly.


1. Do I need to get my car inspected before selling it privately?

It’s not required, but it can be a good idea. A pre-sale inspection can identify any issues with your car that you might not be aware of, allowing you to address them before putting the car up for sale.

2. Can I sell a car that still has a loan on it?

Yes, but you’ll need to pay off the loan before transferring ownership of the car to the new owner.

3. Should I accept payments for my car in installments?

It’s generally not a good idea to accept payments in installments. You run the risk of the buyer defaulting on the payments or encountering other financial issues that prevent them from paying off the car.

4. What do I do if I can’t find a buyer for my car?

If you’re having trouble finding a buyer for your car, you might want to consider lowering the price or advertising in different places.

5. Can I sell a car that’s not in running condition?

Yes, but it will likely be more difficult to find a buyer. You’ll need to disclose the condition of the car upfront and be prepared to sell it at a lower price than you would for a car in good running condition.

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