Sell a Used Car

Selling a used car needn't be an issue. Follow this guide for the easiest steps possible.


  1. Prepare your vehicle: Make sure the car is fully Valeted. Without doubt it will add value to your sale. If it has not been serviced recently, you can get it done for about £100. Also re-MOT the car if it is due to expire in the next 3 months or less. Finally, a cheap pair of new hub caps are great value for money in making a car look good for sale. Go to a details shop and you may spent $90 to 100 to wax/shine up your car externally, and to wash/dry/polish it in the inside. Your tires will get a good wash too—and this will impress your potential customers. This investment will definitely be worth it—and you can incorporate this expense in your asking price (without telling the customer of course). Also, if there are minor blemishes (trunk broke/ handle broke)—fix those—it will be worth it. It will only take a minor fault to turn the buyer off.
  2. Put your price slightly higher than what you expect—negotiate to get the deal that’s right for you. If you are not in a hurry to sell the car, and think that you deserve a certain price—wait. Wait, wait, wait. Wait, because you will definitely find a buyer who will pay your price. Use an independent source to determine the wholesale and retail values of your target vehicle. The most frequently used sources for this are, DriverSide, Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book.
  3. Purchase a "hold until sold" advertisement. There is no need to repay for advertising nowadays. Make your advert specific. Make sure you include the following: Price, specification-Make Model, and level of trim, Colour (best to include lots of nice photos), Service history, Tax and MOT, Mileage.
    • A free website like can serve as an extremely useful medium to spread the word about your car sale. Make sure you look at other people’s Ads too, and post your car’s pictures and description accordingly. Try Craigslist—you will definitely get lots of inquiries.
  4. Understand if your asking price is on the lower range you may park it at the nearest Walmart, or some shopping area where lot of people turn up. Remember to ask people at those stores if this is okay—in some cases stores may tow your car.
    • Park your car so it is visible from the main road, and to more and more people visiting the store. If people are calling you asking about the car each day—it also means that your car is safe there! You don’t have to necessarily check it out everyday.
    • Put ‘for sale’ signs (also available at Walmart) on 3-4 sides of the car—so people approaching from all angles can view it.
    • You may or may not put the price on the ‘For Sale’ signs. A lot of buyers are skeptical about used cars—so you may just put your phone no., invite them to talk to you, do your sales pitch, and then announce the price.
  5. Do your sales-pitch when they phone. Explain the real reason for selling your car. Explain how many miles you have driven the car on your own, and explain your overall experience with the car. As an example this is what I used when I sold my ‘good’ condition Toyota Corolla 1996.
    • Potential Customer: “What is the price of the car?”
    • Me: “Let me first tell you more about the car…the only reason I am selling the car is because I got a full time job with XYZ (name your company if people know about it. People will trust you more because of your affiliation) and hence I bought a new car…I am a student from Virginia…went to school at Virginia Tech and I bought this car when I was in school. I have driven 21K miles on the car in the past 1.5 years and I have had no problems, whatsoever. I have made long trips of 600+ miles one way to Virginia—without being stranded on the road. The car runs great…has no mechanical problems…requires only regular service, as very good tires…and is just like any other solid Toyota car…why don’t you test drive the car and check it out for yourself. I don’t care if you want to take the car out to a mechanic, and verify for yourself. My asking price for the car is $$$$.
  6. Do not let them test drive the car alone; they may not come back. If they want a professional inspection, don't panic, it means they are serious. When negotiating, never refuse to budge on the price, and don't let them walk away for the difference of £50-£100, it is not worth losing the sale over such a small amount.
  7. Seal the deal. When someone has agreed to buy your car, make sure you print a Bill of Sale and get it signed by your buyer. Google ‘Bill of sale’ and you will find several websites which can print a Bill of Sale after you provide some information. Some sites may allow you to preview the created ‘Bill of Sale’, but may not let your ‘copy/paste’ or ‘print’ it. Just Printscreen and copy it to your word processor and print it.
    • Also, you will be asked to fill out the details on the back of the title—do that clearly.
    • Make sure the check is cleared, or that you have got the correct amount in hard cash, before you sign the title on the back.
    • Now, you can give the keys to the car.
    • Make sure you take off the license plates before and removable decals (related to your school, etc.) before you give away the car.


  • People will not generally like to trust a used car seller. You need to say things to enable trust, like, “I work for XYZ (if it’s a respected company).” Or you need to say, “I am an engineer, or a teacher, or a student, or production worker, etc.” This may or may not be a big deal…however, if your customer base are parents looking to buy first car for their children, or people looking for a car for long commute—it might help.
  • Know your car, so you can answer buyers questions confidently.
  • Have the vehicle cleaned professionally.
  • Make sure you have all the paperwork to hand.
  • Read the car's manual before a potential buyer comes to see the car. That way you'll have answers to any questions they might ask.


  • Do not let the car go without cleared funds.
  • Do not let buyers test drive the car alone.
  • Watch out for fake bankers drafts.
  • Be wary of email inquiries from people wishing to send you money without seeing the vehicle.

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