If you're selling a used car for the first time, the process can seem a bit daunting. There are a few steps between deciding to sell and actually handing over the keys to a buyer, but it's easier than you might think to get your car ready for the buying public.

Selling Price

While you might be sentimental about your car, potential buyers won't be willing to pay a price that is higher than other cars in the same age and model range. Check your local advertisements to see the average price of used cars in your area. This is especially helpful for finding out the selling price based on the condition and mileage of the vehicle.

Understand Your Ideal Buyer

If you're selling a sports car, you know exactly what potential buyers want to hear about the vehicle. They want to know the speed, and how the car handles during a drive. A reliable sedan will attract buyers who are safety conscious. An older car might be attractive to high school students. Parents will want the car to be reliable and fuel efficient. Once you understand the motivations of your potential buyers, you'll be able to attract them with an advertisement written to attract that buyer.

Detail the Vehicle

Before listing your vehicle on a sites like Carzoos or Cars For Sale the vehicle will need to be thoroughly cleaned. The seats and floor will need to be vacuumed. Windows should be washed so there aren't any streaks. The dashboard should be cleaned and conditioned to shine. When washing the outside, don't forget to make those tires shine.


Maintenance records and inspection reports are important to potential buyers. They want to know that you've serviced and cared for the vehicle properly. If you don't have those records, you can take it to a service station and ask for an inspection with a printed report. Have all the manuals and purchase receipts for the vehicle. If you have extras in the vehicle like an aftermarket alarm system, make sure to emphasize that feature and have the records.

Listing Your Used Car

After cleaning your car, take pictures from every conceivable angle to give potential buyers a great look at the car. Take multiple shots of the interior including the back seat and inside the trunk. Get close ups of the outside from the front, the rear and the sides of the car. Create a compelling advertisement geared towards the potential buyer you identified in the previous step. Provide buyers a way to contact you but avoid giving out your home address. You can arrange a time and place to meet the buyer once you're satisfied that there is serious interest in the car.

Test Drive

When you arrange a meeting, the buyer will want to take the vehicle on a test drive. They want to see if the vehicle drives well and shows any potential problems. Ask to see their driver's license. If possible, it's a safe idea to have another person accompany you to the meeting. When they go for the test drive, you and the other person should be in the vehicle. The buyer shouldn't drive off in your car without you there.

The Sale

When you've decided on your list price, it's smart to bump it up a few hundred dollars because buyers will want to negotiate a better price. Be sure that you have in mind the lowest price you'll take for the vehicle long before a potential buyer starts the negotiation proceedings. Don't go lower than you're comfortable to sell your car unless you haven't had much interest. If that's the case, you might have a little wiggle room in the price. Otherwise, stick to your lowest price even through tough negotiations. Be prepared to tell the buyer there's no sale.

Once you've agreed on the price, write out a receipt for the buyer to sign. There are many ways in which a buyer might pay you for the vehicle. Don't hand over the keys until you've received the final amount. If you're paid by check, make sure it clears before you give the buyer the keys to the car.

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