Selling your used car privately is not as easy as many people think it is. The process is quite involved and contains many steps. The first is advertising. You can advertise your used car for sale in places such as Craigslist, auto trader, your local paper, etc. The online ads can attack some very bizarre responses from scam artists and pranksters. The price for these advertisements varies.
Before placing the ad, you have to decide what phone number to include with it. If you put you cell phone number in the ad, you have to be careful that you do not go over your allotted monthly minutes. If you do, the extra charges can be quite high. You also have to realize that you will receive phone calls at odd hours of the day or night. In addition, you have to be flexible enough to be willing to show the vehicle at times that are convenient for the prospective buyer.
Another thing to consider when is whether or not you are going to allow a prospective buyer to test drive the car. If so, you will have to maintain the insurance, registration, etc. on the vehicle. You also have to decide if you accompany the person on the test drive or let them go alone. Letting someone test drive your used car alone is a little scary since you do not know whether this person is a car thief. You also do not know if the person has made the appointment to simple case your house to burglarize it later. This is a concern, especially if you are selling a high end vehicle.
Next, you have to negotiate a price with the prospective buyer. That can be just as stressful as trying to negotiate the price for a new car. Once you have finally settled on a purchase price, you have to decide what type form of payment you will accept. A bank check, money order or cash are good. Do not accept a personal check. You have no idea whether the check is good or that the buyer will not stop payment on it.
The next issue is the title. Once the title over to the new owner, most people think they are home free. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Often the new owner will not title or register the vehicle because they do not want to pay the sales tax or the title and registration fees. In this case, if the vehicle is involved in an accident, if tickets are issued or if the car is impounded, the authorities will assume you are still the owner and will come after you. Not only will you have to prove you are not the legal owner of the vehicle, it will have a negative impact on your credit score too!
A really good way to avoid all of the pitfalls of selling a used car privately is to simply donate car to charity. When you donate your car, the charity will sell the car and handle the title transfer. They will use the proceeds for their purposes and in exchange, you will get a tax deduction for the sale price of the car.
Karen Campese is the Co-founder and CEO of Cars4Charities, a not for profit car donation center. They have over 1,000 respected charities that you can donate car to. When you donate your car, you get a tax deduction and help a good cause.