How to Sell Your Car: A Comprehensive Guide

Knowing how to sell your car is difficult enough. Going through the process, the paperwork, finding a buyer and the numerous other steps can be an ever more difficult and daunting process. That’s why CashForCars.com has created this guide to help you sell your car. You can use this when selling your used car to guide you through the process as well as give you more information about specific topics that can be complicated, confusing, or scary. Don’t worry, this guide is here to assist you through the entire process! 

What Kind of Vehicle Are You Selling? 

The first thing you should keep in mind is the kind of vehicle you are selling. This can make a huge difference in how you should approach finding a buyer as well as the cultures you should keep in mind to help expedite the process. 

Sell Your Car 

When selling a vehicle, this is typically the baseline for all other vehicles. Selling a car is typically a long process that other vehicle types also follow. Majority of this guide will focus on how to sell a car and what things you will need to know to make the process as smooth as possible. 

Sell Your Truck 

While the process doesn’t typically change much between selling a truck and a car, it is important to note whether the truck is a commercial fleet vehicle. For example, a semi-truck that is being sold from one business to another requires additional paperwork. There is also a specific culture between truck owners that if you are aware of, you will be better suited in finding a buyer for your truck. You can read more about  how to sell your truck here. 

Sell Your Motorcycle 

As stated above, selling a motorcycle follows the same process of selling your car. The main difference is whether the motorcycle needs to be registered. If you are selling an off-road or non-street legal motorcycle, there is no need to register the motorcycle. Despite this, the motorcycle still needs to be titled and the buyer and seller will need to go through the same titling process. You can read more about  how to sell your motorcycle here. 

What Documents Do You Need to Sell Your Car?

The single most important part of selling a vehicle is the paperwork. Getting this part right will make the transaction so much smoother and prevent any problems in the future. Messing up the paperwork can be a difficult, dangerous, and potentially expensive mistake. That’s why we have outlined each piece of paperwork needed to sell a car, what it is, and why it’s important. 

Certificate of Title 

Probably the most important one of all, the title will give potential buyers the assurance that you own the car and make the entire process much easier. A title will vary from state-to-state but it is important that you locate it and keep it somewhere safe and secure. Examine your title to look for words like “salvage” and “rebuild.” If you see either of these words anywhere on your title, go here and read more about selling salvage title vehicles. 

Vehicle History Report 

This is more of a guideline than a requirement, but it will add legitimacy to the sale and provide peace-of-mind to anyone interested in purchasing your vehicle. When providing the vehicle history report to a potential buyer, it shows that you are honest about the state of the vehicle and will make them feel more comfortable. A vehicle history report is a document that lists and labels every major repair, maintenance task, accident, and previous owner that has ever been recorded for that vehicle. It serves as a written history on the vehicle to give prospective buyers an idea of what the car has been through and if it’s worth the investment. 

Maintenance Records 

Maintenance records are like a vehicle history report but specifically focuses on proving that consistent maintenance has been performed on the vehicle. This includes oil changes, tire replacement, rotating the tires, and every other mundane task that is done by a mechanic. Of course, maintenance records don’t exist for any sort of maintenance that was done on the vehicle by its owner. This will need to be proven with receipts and recorded dates on when certain maintenance tasks were performed. 

Warranty Documentation (If Applicable) 

When selling a newer car, this can be an important document to ensure your buyer gets after selling the vehicle. A manufacturer warranty is a guarantee that the vehicle will function without defects for a certain period. This is usually around 3 years. If any defects or problems do arise, a licensed dealership for the make of the vehicle will cover the repairs and fix any issues without any out-of-pocket costs from the customer. 

As-Is Documentation 

Most older cars will no longer be under a warranty. A good rule-of-thumb is that if the vehicle has 40,000 miles or more on it, it probably isn’t covered any longer. As-is documentation is an agreement between the buyer and seller that the vehicle is being sold as-is. This documentation must be filed if the vehicle doesn’t have any applicable warranties. 

Odometer Disclosure 

This is another very important document that is required by most states. An odometer disclosure is an official piece of paperwork that ensures that the mileage on the odometer is truthful and hasn’t been changed in any way. This is important for both the buyer and the state because it ensure that the transaction is legit. 

Bill of Sale 

This is the last, and second most important piece of paperwork you will need. Essentially acting as a receipt of the transaction, both buyer and seller will want a copy of this. While not required by the state, a bill of sale can provide protection for both the buyer and seller as it proves that money was exchanged for a vehicle in case any titling issues or other paperwork problems come up in the future. 

What If You Don’t Have Your Title? 

Selling a car without a title is illegal. Let’s get that fact out of the way. No legitimate buyer would even think about buying a car if the seller doesn’t own the title. There are many reasons why someone wouldn’t have a title. They could have lost it, it has been damaged beyond repair, the vehicle is stolen, or there is still a lien on the vehicle and that bank could have the title. 

The most reasonable step would be to contact your state’s DMV and find out what the process is in getting a replacement title. This will be mailed to you and will cost a small fee. Visit our comprehensive list of each state’s DMV and where to go to find more information here. 

If you don’t want to wait the 4 to 5 weeks it might take to get a replacement title, you can try selling your car for scrap to a junkyard. They will require your registration to prove ownership of the vehicle. You can read more about  how to sell your car for scrap here. 

You can read more about the process of getting a replacement title and what to do if you need to sell your car without a title here. 

When Should You Sell Your Car? 

One thing that many might forget about is when is the best time to sell your car. Keep in mind, different types of vehicles, models, and makes all have their best times to be sold. It is important to keep in mind the features your car has, where you live, the weather, among other things to determine the best time to sell your car. 

Usually, the best time is between March and August. This is right around when people get their tax refund and are looking for a new car to get them back and forth from work, or to cruise in over the summer. Do your research and make sure that the car you currently own isn’t going to have any serious issues soon. If your car is known to malfunction or break at a specific mileage, maybe it is best to sell it and get a vehicle that is more dependable. You can read more about the best time to sell your car here.

Where to Sell Your Used Car 

In this day-and-age, there are hundreds of options when you need to sell a car. To read more about all the possible  places to sell your car, go here! There’s the old-fashioned way and the modern way. Today, most people wanting to sell a car do a combination of both. One platform that is most used for selling used cars from person-to-person is Craigslist. 

Craigslist 

Selling a car on Craigslist seems straightforward. You post an ad a classified ad for everyone in your local area to see. This will include your phone number, email, and other contact information. You get calls from multiple interested buyers, set up a time to meet with whoever gives you the best offer, do a short test drive, sign over the title and it’s good to go. Unfortunately, it’s never simple. To read more about potential dangers when  selling cars on Craigslist, go here. 

Junkyard 

People with “junk” cars tend to go to junkyards before anywhere else. A junk vehicle is a vehicle that is damaged, barely running, not running, or a salvage title. A junkyard will either process a vehicle by scrapping the car and selling it for it price in scrap metal to a recycler or reselling it to another interested buyer. To read everything you need to know about junkyards and what they do, go here! 

Dealerships 

Some prefer to trade-in their vehicle or try to sell their vehicles to a dealership for cash, or trade-in their car for cash. While this is an option for some, it’s important to keep in mind that salesmen at dealerships are trained to give you the lowest offer possible. This can make selling a car to a dealership a frustrating and time-consuming process. If you want to learn more about getting  cash for your car from dealerships, go here! 

What Do You Do After Selling Your Car? 

One thing that many might forget is what to do after selling a car. Yes, that’s right. There is even more to do even after the vehicle is gone. 

  1. File a release-of-liability form with your state DMV. 
  2. Make sure the bill of sale is signed by both you and the buyer, it is completed, and a copy is ready to be sent to the DMV. 
  3. Take your license plates off the vehicle. 
  4. Remove all your personal items from the vehicle. 
  5. Hand over both sets of keys, the main set, and the spare. 
  6. Cancel the insurance on the car. 

After all these steps are finished, you can finally say you have sold your car! Selling your car can be a long process that can take months. If any mistakes are made, they may come back to haunt you in the future. 

Do You Want to Sell Your Car Quick? 

Knowing how to sell your car is important, and doing it right is even more important. No matter what though, you can guarantee that selling your car will be a long, exhaustive, and possibly frustrating process. There are many steps, lots of paperwork, and a lot of work that must be done before you can say you’re done. But fortunately, there is a way to sell your car that requires very little effort from you! 

If you want not only the fastest, but the best way to sell your car, sell it to CashForCars.com! You can read more about we are able to provide the  fastest and quickest service in the auto industry here! You can sell your car instantly without even leaving your home! Read more about how easy it is to  sell your car instantly here! 

Stop waiting around for offers, and spending hours on classified ads on Craigslist. Go here to get an instant cash offer for your car or call us at 800-227-2893. One of our offer specialists will give you your guaranteed cash offer, set up your pick-up within the next 24 hours, and you’ll have your check in-hand all in 24 hours or less! 

Now that you know how to sell your car, it’s time to know the best way to sell your car and that’s CashForCars.com!

If you want to learn more about getting cash for your car and making extra cash, check out our guide here!

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