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The Best Tips For Selling An Old Car

If it’s time for a new set of wheels or if you’re looking to just get rid of your old car, you don’t have to dread the wheeling and dealing often associated with buying and selling a car.

Read on to learn how you can sell your used car quickly, easily, and efficiently, and put yourself in the driver’s seat when it comes to securing a great deal. Regardless of which car selling method you choose, you’ll need to make sure you have all the necessary paperwork ready to go, including the car’s title and bill of sale.

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Selling Your Car Privately

If you’re looking to sell your car to a private party, start by perusing any of the dozens of car sites like Craigslist and Autotrader, as well as countless local listing services that can help promote your used car. But before you can list your vehicle for private sale, you’ll need to make an accurate assessment of your car’s condition, including any mechanical issues. Because many states have specific laws about vehicle condition disclosures, it’s important that you know what information is required and that you present the facts accurately.

If possible, obtain a vehicle history report; sites like Edmunds and KBB offer easy-to-use valuation tools that can help you compile the necessary information. Additionally, you’ll need to provide photographs of your car that clearly show its current condition. Most online services make listing a car easy, and local papers, should you decide to list in them, usually provide clear instructions on how to post your vehicle.

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Getting An Instant Cash Offer

Instant cash offer sites are plentiful and easy to find; for example, the CarGurus instant cash offer tool uses real-time data to find the best offer from literally thousands of dealers. If you decide to sell your car 100% online with CarGurus, you’ll receive an offer immediately, assuming that there is dealer demand for your particular vehicle. CarGurus’ proprietary algorithm is designed to ensure that you’ll get the offer from whichever dealer is willing to pay the best price for your vehicle. Another plus: You can choose your preferred method of payment, and most car services will pick your car up right from your home.

You’ll need to take the following steps to get an instant cash offer:


• Gather the following documents: car title, odometer photo, registration, valid ID
• Enter your vehicle’s details, including VIN, odometer reading, condition
• Schedule a pickup time (vehicle can be hauled, towed, or driven away)
• Choose to receive payment via cashier’s check or bank direct deposit
At pickup time, you’ll be required to sign additional paperwork, including a bill of sale and power of attorney, which will be provided by the pickup staff.

Photo: Shutterstock/Nattakorn_Maneerat

Trading Your Car In

You can choose to unload your unwanted vehicle by trading it in at a dealership and applying the sale price toward the purchase of a new car. After you’ve selected the new car of your dreams, you’ll need to negotiate with the dealer and come to an agreement on a number for your trade. The dealer will assess the condition of your car, note the mileage, and research the market price, after which you’ll be presented with an offer that will presumably leave the dealership sufficient room to make a profit.

Once you and the dealership reach an agreement, your car’s trade-in value functions like a cash down payment that’s applied towards the purchase of your new car. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, make sure you understand the specifics of the deal you’re agreeing to so that there aren’t any surprises down the road.

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Looking For Additional Options?

Another option to consider when looking to sell your old car is an online auction, and we’re not just talking about good ol’ eBay. Today, car buyers frequent sites like Cars & Bids and Bring a Trailer when looking to score desirable, vintage, or rare vehicles of all types and at a range of prices.