Selling Your Car? Don’t Get Taken For a Ride if You’re Selling Privately.

DNA Auto
08-20-2014, 11:44 AM
It is time for a new car? Have one you want to sell first? You might think it’s easy enough to sell it yourself and get more for it in the process, right?
Well … not so fast. Many people discover that selling your car privately is more than just listing the vehicle in the paper and waiting for the calls to come in. In fact, selling a car can be frustrating if you’re not properly prepared. Before you sell your car on your own, make note of these key steps to follow to get the best price and make a smoother sale.

Clean it Well, Prep it Right.

Make sure your car is showroom clean. At the very least, take it to the car wash and get the best interior/exterior cleaning package (interior fully vacuumed, wiped down, windows cleaned, exterior spray-waxed). Shampoo the upholstery and floor/floor mats if you can. For high line models, we recommend that you spring for the full car detailing. The idea is to show your vehicle at its best and that it was well cared for. The better detailed the car, the better it will photograph and show in person.

Bonus Tip: Wash and Wax the Dents and Scrapes

Cleaning and waxing the dents and scrapes positions you as a trustworthy seller. Be transparent about your car’s defects, no matter how minor or obvious. Potential buyers can see how deep they are regardless off any cover-up techniques. So be honest and don’t let any hidden surprises be the reason for a lost sale.

Take Great Pictures

This is your strongest sales tool for automobile sales listings. Take clear photos of every angle and part of the car (including dents and scrapes), in daylight or in a well-lit area. Photograph the entire body—passenger and driver sides, front and rear. You should also take pictures of the interior (dashboard, front and back seats), engine bay, trunk, plus the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and the odometer. Again—no hidden surprises greases the wheels for a smoother transaction.

Bonus Tip: Best time to take the photos is during sunset
The light just at sunset will show off your car beautifully without a harsh glare.

Price the Car and List It—But Where?

Consider what audience you are looking for and where you want to advertise the car for sale: in your newspaper’s classified ads (in print and/or online), in automotive sales publications or on websites like or (Plus the Auto Trader magazine)

Bonus tip: Sell your car on eBay

Yes, you can also post your car for sale on eBay. The site draws tons of traffic nationwide, with people who are willing to pick up their car or pay to have it shipped—that can save time and money. You just need to price the vehicle well. At DNA Auto Sales, we often post cars on eBay that have not moved from our wholesale lot quickly enough, with great success.

Write a Complete Ad

Be comprehensive and tell buyers what they need to know to make their decision. Give the car’s year, make and model, the mileage and some pertinent history. Tell them how the car was when you owned it, what you fixed or what work it might need in the near future. State why you are selling it and if you are open to doing a trade. Include a phone number and an email address; if you want to protect yourself from spammers or annoying shoppers, use a temporary Google Voice number and email address and take them down after the car is sold.

Completing the Sale

If you have an offer from a serious buyer it’s time to negotiate the final price and conclude the transaction. There are a lot of details involved here as well as safety tips than many people don’t anticipate.

• Getting your money, safely – We recommend you meet your car buyer in a public place during business hours. Banks are perfect for this because the money is there (convenient) and people are around (safe). Most banks will provide a conference room or private area to review your final steps and complete the paperwork, plus you can run the money through the teller to make sure it’s the real deal. Take only cash or a cashier’s check which can be verified at the bank.

Bonus tip – Do not accept money orders, as they can be faked.

• Prepare a bill of sale – This document should have the year, make, model, mileage and VIN of the car. Be sure to clearly state: “Car is being sold as is, where is; no warranty expressed, imposed or implied.” This is important verbiage to protect you. Make two copies, for you and for the buyer.

Bring the title and know where/ how to sign it – You must have this paper with you when you meet the buyer. Of utmost importance is that the title is signed in the right place by both parties—and the right parties. For instance, if the car is in someone else’s name, you cannot sign for them; the registered owner must sign. And if the buyer plans to register the car in someone else’s name, that person must sign the title. Research “automotive titles” on your jurisdiction’s website to see where and how to sign the title and what is required before transfer, such as transfer fees.

Bonus Tip: Make front and back copies of the title for your records and only hand it over after payment is received.

• Order a vehicle history -- You can order a vehicle history report from a website such as to show the car's title is clean and the odometer reading is accurate.

Deliver the Car
You’re almost done! But don’t let these final steps derail your sale.

Clean out your car of any personal effects (don’t forget your EZ Pass tag) and—this is crucial—remove the license plates from the car before you give it to the buyer. You can drive the car to the buyer’s home and remove the plates there, then have them drive you back in their old car (since they will not yet have their new license plates or car insurance on the vehicle).

Contact your insurance company to have the automobile deleted from your policy once you have delivered the car.

At this point, it is the new owner’s responsibility to take the title and bill of sale to the DMV to fill out registration paperwork and get new plates. The buyer will have to show proof of insurance (not yours!) and pay sales tax based on the car’s value stated on the title. Be honest about this price to avoid any problems.

As you can see, selling your car privately is a lot of work. Bringing your used car to DNA Auto Wholesale is easy. Rather than go through the time-consuming process of trying to sell your car yourself, simply bring your used car, van or truck to DNA Auto Wholesale and we will take care of the rest for you. No ads to write, no annoying calls to field, no time wasted. All you have to do is decide which new car you’ll buy or lease when our transaction is done.

At DNA Auto Wholesale, we’ll give you a fair price and a hassle-free experience, guaranteed. Contact us @ to find out more about how we work or to discuss your car’s value.

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