Happy used car private sellers
When selling a car privately, it's up to you to cross all the T's and dot all the I's to protect yourself, your vehicle, and your chance of making good money.

5 Things to Know When Selling a Car Privately

When it’s time to buy another car, you may think of selling or trading in your old one. There is a chance you may make a few more dollars selling your car yourself, but when you follow these tips, you can get the best buck for your bang! When you sell your used car, you have two choices: selling it to a car-buying company or selling your car privately.

Note that you will probably need to keep insurance on your old vehicle when you’re selling it because buyers will want to take it for a test run. Other than maintaining your car insurance, there are several essential things to know when selling a car privately.

What to Do When Privately Selling a Car

When selling a car privately, it’s up to you to cross all the T’s and dot all the I’s to protect yourself, your vehicle, and your chance of making good money. Buying or selling a used car is more than a simple sales transaction and often requires specific paperwork. The safe way to sell a car yourself is to make sure you understand your state’s particular requirements for buying and selling used cars.

Follow these tips for selling a car privately, and you could be behind the wheel of your next vehicle before you thought you would!

1. Gather Your Paperwork

The more documentation and other vehicle information you can show when selling your car privately, the better. Regardless of your local laws, you will almost always need a title, bill of sale, or both. Optimally, you’ll have a valid title to sign over to the new owner but check with your local DMV office for specific requirements. Regardless if a bill of sale is required, it’s always an excellent idea to use one to protect yourself. A bill of sale is legally binding and provides the buyer with proof of ownership.

Service and maintenance records aren’t required to sell a car, but they add value to the vehicle. Gather your service records and check with your mechanic for additional documents. If your car is under a transferable warranty, include that fact in your listing to attract more buyers.

Of all the things to know when selling a car privately, having the proper paperwork may be the most essential. Skipping any paperwork isn’t a safe way to sell your car, and it could put you at risk.

2. Pick Your Used Car Sales Platform

Take some time to analyze the current market before listing your vehicle. What are similar vehicles selling for, and where? Does your used car have any accolades or awards for dependability, fuel economy, etc.? Educating yourself about used car platforms and your vehicle takes some legwork, but that knowledge often means more money in your pocket. Where you post your car for sale and for how much will have the most impact, but when you sell a used car can make a difference also.

3. Prep Your Used Car for Sale

Selling your car privately means you need to get your hands dirty and your car clean if you want to get the best price. While it will cost you to have your car professionally detailed, the return on your investment will be worth it. Prepping your car for sale should include deep cleaning the inside and outside, including waxing and cleaning the tires and wheels. Give your car a beautiful shine, and it will catch buyers’ eyes in person and online.

4. Take Winning Photos

When we’re looking for our next car, that first impression is critical for most of us. When you post clear and flattering photos of your car online, they catch prospective buyers’ eyes before they even read the description! Once your car is prepped and ready to sell, take pictures from different angles on a sunny day. Include images of the interior and value-add details like a sunroof, chrome grill, or infotainment system. Also,
post pictures of damage and defects and reference them in your description.

5. Sell Safely

Of all the things to know when selling a car privately, learning how to protect yourself and your vehicle while you’re selling it may be the most important. Many potential buyers will want to test drive your car before they check it out more thoroughly. Prepare for inevitable test drives by ensuring your insurance policy covers them, then follow a few safety tips before letting prospective buyers behind the wheel. Take a picture of your interested buyer and their license, always meet at a public place, and bring someone along for additional safety.

Now that you know what to do when selling your car privately, you’ll probably sell yours quickly, so be ready! Check out our extensive inventory of quality used cars online, or stop by our used car dealership here in Tucson.

Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.