Here's How to Sell Your Car in Four Steps
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There comes a time for every car owner when you decide to sell your current vehicle and get yourself something else. Maybe you've been driving a car and want to try a truck. Or perhaps you need an SUV to travel over snowy mountain roads. Whatever the reason, selling a used car isn't as simple as shining it up, posting an ad, and waiting for a buyer to show up.
Considerations like getting all necessary documents in order, fixing any mechanical issues, posting an effective advertisement, and being particular about who you deal with can all make for a smoother transaction.
Shift makes the process of selling your vehicle all the easier. Regardless of whether you decide to buy your next set of wheels from Shift, they'll offer you a reasonable price for your car from the get-go. They'll also give you seven days to decide if you want to sell or not.
Here are four simple steps to selling a car that will provide a good experience for both the seller and buyer.
Step 1: Get your documents in order
When you sell your car, there are several details you'll want to take care of ahead of time, ensuring both you and the buyer are good to go.
The first is obtaining the car's title. Also referred to as the pink slip, this document proves that you are the rightful owner and allows you to sell the vehicle. After retrieving it, keep it close at hand, but don't sign it.
Next, check with your department of motor vehicles – also known as the DMV – to find out what documents are necessary to transfer ownership. It's good to know if the license plates can stay with the car once the new owner drives it home. And to avoid going to the DMV, some forms can be downloaded and printed, like a bill of sale.
If you have a car loan to pay off, check with your lender on how best to complete the sale.
So prospective buyers can be comfortable with their purchase, getting a vehicle history report from a trusted source like Carfax or AutoCheck will show them it's a safe choice. Details like the total number of owners the car has had, any accidents, and the odometer reading give an extra bit of reassurance.
Step 2: Make it shine
To put yourself in the best position to sell your car for a reasonable price, you'll want to be up to date on all maintenance and repairs. Having that documentation will give prospective buyers added confidence that you've taken good care of your vehicle.
Give your car a good wash and wax, or even take it to a professional detailer. You want to make a positive first impression when a buyer drives up and takes a look.
The interior is just as important as the exterior, so you'll want to vacuum all carpeting and wipe down surfaces, so when a buyer gets in, they want to go for a drive.
It's hard to know who you can trust when selling your used vehicle and sifting through prospective buyers. Who's serious about making an offer? When you sell your used car to Shift, you know you're getting a fair offer. And there’s no need to spend hours waxing and washing your used vehicle, because a little dirt won’t affect Shift’s offer. Shift will take care of detailing the car once it’s listed for sale. Shift beats offers made by dealerships with prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data.
Step 3: Pricing and advertising
Though you'll want to maximize what you get for your car, you'll have to price it right to attract buyers. You can do this by researching current market pricing from reputable sources, as well as looking at ads across the country for cars like yours.
Both Kelley Blue Book and the National Auto Dealers Association NADA have excellent websites where you can enter your vehicle information and learn its worth. You can type in various factors like its trim level, options, and mileage, to help narrow down exactly what you can get.
Another good source of pricing info – whether buying or selling – is Shift. Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data.
If your car is worth $10,000 or less, one good option is not to price it above the closest $1,000 increment. For instance, some buyers will set the highest price on an internet search at $5,000, so you'll miss out on them if your car is at $5,300.
Usually, next comes the time to create an ad that catches buyers' attention. It's a good idea to take pictures of your car from every angle and focus on every detail so prospective buyers can feel confident they're getting a car in great shape. Some areas typically shown are the tires and their tread depth, the engine, and the odometer.
But when selling your car to Shift, there's no need to worry about any of that. All you'll have to do is enter the make, model, year, and mileage on Shift's easy-to-use website, and you'll instantly receive a purchase offer that's valid for 30 days.
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Work Truck (from $35,450)
Step 4: The final details
Selling your car to a private buyer can be a tricky process full of hassles. However, selling your vehicle to Shift is so easy that it almost feels too good to be true. Read on as we compare both.
If you decide to sell to a private buyer, first, you'll have to screen candidates by phone and email. Once you've found a prospective buyer you're comfortable with, you'll want to show them the car and let them take it for a test drive. For safety reasons, you should accompany them. You also don't want anyone taking your vehicle for a joy ride or simply driving off, never to return.
If they move forward with the purchase, you should insist on payment with either cash or a cashier's check. If you have a car loan, you may need to go to the bank to complete the sale.
Usually, once payment is processed, you'll sign the title over to the new owner and provide them with a bill of sale. You may have to file a "release of liability," depending on your state residence.
Selling your car to Shift, by comparison, is a process that's so simple and streamlined, you're likely to never think about selling a car on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace ever again.
If you live within one of Shift's many service areas, a concierge will come to your home to inspect the vehicle to ensure everything is in order with both the car. If everything checks out and the title is also good to go, they'll complete the sale on the spot.
Payment happens by way of bank transfer, which takes three to five business days.
With your car now sold, it's time to check out the market for what excites you. Shift's website has a wide selection of makes and models, all with a 150-point inspection by certified mechanics.
2016 Acura MDX (from $27,950)
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 15, 2022
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.