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10 Must-Do Steps When Selling Your Car

Whether you're looking to upgrade or just get rid of a vehicle you no longer drive, there are certain steps you should take when selling your car. Here are 10 must-dos to ensure you have a successful sale and get the best price possible.

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Get an Inspection Before Selling Your Carkurhan/Shutterstock

Get an Inspection Before Selling Your Car

One of the first steps to selling your car should be to find out its true condition with a professional inspection. And with an inspection, you'll find out if there are any major issues that could impact a sale. Also along with any small issues you can fix yourself. Are you looking to buy, not sell? These Tips for Buying a Used Car can help.
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Do a Thorough Cleaningkurhan/Shutterstock

Do a Thorough Cleaning

No one wants to buy a dirty car. As a result, before another one of those steps to selling your car should be to thoroughly clean it. Also a car will sell faster and for more money. Remove all garbage from the car and be sure to clean the seats, ashtrays, carpets, dash and glass. In addition, If you smoke, get the interior steam cleaned. For the outside, be sure to wash and wax. These 36 DIY Car Detailing Tips can help you get your car in tip-top shape.
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Take PhotosXiXinXing/Shutterstock

Take Photos

Now that the car is spotless, one of the next steps to selling car is to take some quality photos, both inside and out. And find a sunny location and the more photos you take the better. Using lots of photos sends a message to potential buyers that you're not trying to hide a messy interior or lots of scratches and dents. Also, try these Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your DIY Projects can help you get the best photos possible before selling your car.
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Know Your Pricemaxuser/Shutterstock

Know Your Price

To know how much to list your car for and to know just when someone is low balling you, make a price comparison chart. First, check the Kelly Blue Book value of your car. Next, find out what cars like yours have been selling for in your area. Finally, know what your lowest price point will be in case someone tries to negotiate. Before selling your car, learn how potential buyers may negotiate car prices.
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Write Your Ad

Before selling your car, be honest when writing an ad for your vehicle. And make sure the ad is detailed, specific and free of spelling and grammatical errors. If you don't feel comfortable writing your own advertisement, have a friend who works in marketing or advertising help you.
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Know Where to Advertisethodonal88/Shutterstock

Know Where to Advertise

Look to sites such as Craigslist, and, along with Facebook to post your ad selling your car. There are also many online car forums where users can list their vehicles for sale. Is the car a classic? Vintage car enthusiasts have specific sites devoted to certain makes and models.
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Be HonestView Apart/Shutterstock

Be Honest

When contacted by a potential buyer, never try to hide any problems with your vehicle. Be honest about the condition of the car's A/C and any other weakness. And it can be helpful to print a list with the vehicle's engine size/type, transmission type, number of miles, any major damage and new parts recently installed. Also, leave this list in the car where potential buyers can see it. Learn 10 Car Problems You Can Fix Yourself before selling your car.
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The Test DriveAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

The Test Drive

Potential buyers will likely want to give your vehicle a test drive. Before handing over the keys, check to make sure they have a driver's license. Ride along with them so you can answer their questions about the car. And if they want to take the vehicle to their own mechanic for an inspection, trust your gut. This is a reasonable request, however, if you have reason to think the potential buyer is untrustworthy, feel free to decline or go along with them.
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The Sale DetailsRomanR/Shutterstock

The Sale Details

While a bill of sale is not required by all states to legally transfer ownership of your car, it makes the sale explicit. Also, by identifying the car you're selling, conditions of the sale and the agreed upon price. Learn what your state requires when selling a car. At the very least, before selling your car. note the following information when the sale is made: the buyer's name and address, VIN, year, make and model, odometer reading, sale price, and the date of sale. Also, write down your signature along with the buyer's signature.
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What if you Still Owe Money on the Car?sylv1rob1/Shutterstock

What if you Still Owe Money on the Car?

Before selling your car, if the bank still holds the title, you can conclude the sale at the bank. Also, it is smart to call ahead and have the bank get the title ready. Next, once the money changes hands and the bank has paid the balance of the loan, you can sign the title over to the buyer. Finally, contact your insurance agent to cancel your policy on the vehicle you just sold.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.