The 11 essential steps to selling your own car
As a car dealer who has sold well over a thousand cars, I can share with you plenty of horror stories about people who wanted to sell their ride. A nasty crash from a driver who thought the clutch pedal was the brake. Fraudsters with checks worth less than their empty words. Even a supposed doctor who tried to use a late-model Lexus for a week-long getaway,
None of those disasters ever came near me. But acting as your own car dealer can bring the best and worst of humanity to your doorstep. If you want to sell your car solo, and enjoy a stress-free experience, you have to plan ahead. Here’s how:
Gather your records
Nothing gives better assurance to a buyer than a long list of maintenance records. Oil changes, tires, repairs, scheduled tune-ups and even unscheduled ones. All of these records provide assurance to the next owner that you were a good caretaker.
If you haven't already, start contacting the shops that have worked on your car. See if they can email or fax your records. Or, just write down what was done on a small notebook paper with the phone number for the service center. This way, an interested buyer can always confirm that you are an honest broker.
Honesty reduces stress for everyone when there is nothing to hide, and sets the right expectations with your potential customers. So offer your buyer full disclosure and take the high road.
Do an easy slow clean
Start by removing all the big items out of your car, followed by napkins, wrappers, and personal items in the glovebox and trunk. Then go for cups, coinage and whatever little things can be had between the seats.
Begin with the driver's area and slowly work your way around. By going slow, you eliminate the need to do it twice. At that pace, it's not your hands that dictate your actions. It's your eyes.
Go get the car washed. Then use a vacuum for the second go-through. Again, start slow and let your eyes guide the removal of the various dirt and crumbs.
Finally, if you like, you can go with a simple instant detailer spray product. Most used car buyers already have experience buying a used car. So there is no need to try to make your old car look showroom new.
Just go slow. Take it easy. And enjoy some nice music. After a while, you may realize why car guys enjoy cleaning their rides so much.
Start small at first. Search online price guides and other listings for a general idea of your car's worth. Once you have settled on a realistic number, raise that by $500 for negotiation purposes and get ready to publish your ride.