Tips for Selling a Used Car

By Renee Gerber , last updated July 17, 2011

Selling a used car is necessary when you buy a new vehicle and have no more use for it, or if it would no longer be feasible for you to own it. Unfortunately, there are also instances when you might want to sell your car simply to get extra money. Selling is a far better choice than trading, as you can get as close to the retail value of it. Whatever the case, you should know exactly what you must do in order to sell your used car.

The first thing you must do prior to putting your car on the market is to prepare it. It should be as presentable as possible for potential buyers. Take the time to clean it up, and bring it to the mechanic to fix any underlying problems, such as changing old oil or fixing a dent on the driver's side.

Unfortunately, even if you are selling a car that you have owned for only one day, the value of the it will no longer be identical to what it was when you purchased it, regardless of whether it was used or even brand new. While you want to be fair, you probably don't know off-hand what the car's true value is. This is where the Kelley Blue Book will be your best friend. This is a good guidebook that will give you an estimation of what the monetary value of your car is, based on the year of its make. Prices will vary, depending on where you are in the United States. They are also determined based on the condition of your car, the mileage and history of reliability of its particular make.

If your car has a lot of miles on it, a potential buyer may request a CARFAX report. This is basically a report about the history of your car, which will tell the interested potential buyer how much usage and mileage the car has seen, as this will give them a better idea of just how used the vehicle is and whether it has been in any serious accidents before it came into your possession. If you weren't the original owner of the car, it is a good idea to obtain a CARFAX report, even if you don't let potential buyers see it, as it will show you the history of the vehicle. This, in turn, will give you a better and fair idea of how much you should charge your buyers when they want to purchase it.

The next step is to decide how you will sell your car. There are two ways, and which you use depends on how much money you want for it and how quickly you want to sell it. Wholesale is a way to sell your car to a dealer, and CarMax is an example of such a dealer that buys used cars from people looking to sell. Another option is to sell the car yourself directly to a buyer, which is considered private sale. You will generally get a higher price for your used car in this manner than if you go through a dealer. EBay Motors is one of the fastest and most effective ways to sell your used car to an individual, as is Craigslist.

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