How to Sell a Car to Another Individual

by Michelle Carvo

It's a well-known fact that most dealerships won't give you exactly what your car is worth if you try to sell or trade it in to them. It's for this reason that many car owners decide to sell their car to another individual, as it allows them to get a considerable amount more money than they would selling it to a dealership. If you're considering selling your car, you're probably wondering exactly how to sell it to someone else, and that's what you're going to find out how to do here.

Take your car to a local mechanic and have it thoroughly examined. Chances are, the mechanic will find problems you might not have recognized, or will give his stamp of approval on the car. Regardless, having the car looked at is important because it can help you to determine how much you'll ask for the car.

Order a vehicle history report. This report tells you and potential buyers the exact history of the car, and can be a way of proving to the potential buyer that the car is worth buying. Most buyers nowadays look for such a report when they purchase a car, so be sure to have it handy should they ask for it.

Go to Kelley Blue Book's website and look up your vehicle. You will be able to find the approximate worth of the vehicle by simply inputting the basic information about your car into KBB. Determining how much the vehicle is worth in KBB will help you to figure out a good price to charge for the car.

Wash and thoroughly clean the car. Presentation counts for a lot when it comes to selling something, so make your car look appealing to potential buyers by washing and waxing the exterior, and vacuuming the interior.

Decide how much you want to charge for the car. A good rule of thumb is to make the price less than or equal to the appraised value in Kelley Blue Book.

Buy a for sale sign and put the price of the car on it. Also write down your home/cell phone number, email address and what year/model the car is. You may also want to include the number of miles the car has on it, as this will tell potential buyers a lot about the car.

Place the for sale sign in the car's front door window and park the car on a highly visible part of your property. For maximum exposure, place another sign in the back window.

Advertise the car in your local newspaper and on online classifieds websites. Be sure to talk about the car's strong points (such as low mileage, excellent condition) and, if you're able to, put a picture of the car in your ad. As always, include your contact information so that potential buyers are able to reach you and arrange a showing.

Show the car to potential buyers and offer a test drive--but go along with them just to make sure they don't try anything funny. Before showing the car, you should make sure it looks good (if it's been a while since you've washed it, go back to Step 4 and do it again).

Decide on the form of payment you'll accept when the individual shows interest in buying the car. Many sellers play it safe with a cashier's check or cash, while some are OK with accepting a personal check.

Transfer the title and registration over to the buyer. For information on how to do this, check with your local DMV and follow the instructions. Once you've finalized the payment and have transferred the car's title and registration, you've successfully sold the car to another individual.


  • check Don't be afraid to lower your vehicle's price, but don't go too low. Sometimes you simply have too high of a price for the vehicle initially, and in order to sell it, it's necessary to price it a little lower.


  • close Before transferring the title and registration, make sure the payment is valid. While most buyers are honest, there are occasionally some who aren't so honest, and if you're accepting a personal check for payment, it's advisable to wait until it's cleared before you officially sign the car over to the other individual.

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About the Author

Catherine Hewson has been writing professionally since 2006, contributing to a variety of websites. She is also a technical writer with extensive experience in Android/iPhone development and PC repair. Hewson holds a Bachelor of Science in computer information systems from the University of Michigan-Flint and works as an IT project manager.

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