Private Party Car Sale Legal Responsibilities

Private Party Car Sale

A private party car sale should be a simple matter, right? After all, if the odometer reading is correct, there shouldn’t be any legal problems. Still, there are a few matters you will want to ensure are taken care of before you sell a car to another individual.

Avoid problems when selling your car to a private party.

Your Cars Worth

Before you market your car, you need to know what it is worth. You can determine your cars current value by visiting Kelley Blue Book.

Once youre on the KBB site, choose Whats my current car worth and then select I plan to sell it myself. From there, you will plug in some information about the car including its model year, make, model and mileage. Next, select the cars style before checking off the boxes for its options. Click See Blue Book Value and you will review prices based on the cars condition: excellent, very good, good and fair. Choose the value that corresponds with your car and use that amount as a basis for selling your vehicle.

Review Your Vehicle

The KBB price may not give you a precise value for your car. For instance, a limited edition coupe might be valued higher while a gas hogging full-size SUV could be harder to sell. Check online ads for sales of similar models to gauge whether your price is right or if it should be adjusted.

You should also review your car carefully for potential problems that a buyer might notice such as old tires, faded paint, torn seats, a worn out muffler, an aged battery, fogged over headlamps and more. Consider fixing these items before you sell your car or be prepared to subtract the cost of these repairs when you nail down your price.

Prep Your Vehicle

You’ll be selling your vehicle as is. That does not mean it has to look anything less than a really great car.

Vacuum the interior, wipe down all surfaces and test all components to ensure that everything is in working order. That means checking the air-conditioner, the audio system, power accessories and the navigation system if you have one.

Outside, the car should be washed, waxed and detailed. Remove road surface tar, polish the wheels, wipe down the tires and check the entire cars surface for scratches, dents and blemishes that you can touch up. Clean out the trunk, check all lights to ensure that they are functioning and take your car for a spin with the audio system off, listening for problems.

Market Your Vehicle

There are several ways for you to get the word out about your car. Placing for sale signs on it when it is parked is a good start provide a contact number and whatever other information you wish to provide.

You can also place an ad online to attract interest. Both eBay and Craigslist are popular sites for car sellers be as detailed as possible and post multiple pictures of the cars exterior, interior, under the hood, trunk and other key features. List your asking price, mileage, make/model/year and other details. Be thorough and honest you want to attract people that are interested in your car.

Receive Potential Buyers

Once your car is marketed, you will begin to attract people that are interested in finding out more. You need to be forthcoming with buyers, sharing what you know about the vehicle including its repair history, accidents or anything else that needs to be made known.

For serious buyers, they will want to test drive the car. But first, you may want to drive the car with the potential buyer in it, demonstrating how the car operates and pointing out various features. Then, pull over and allow this individual to drive with you in the passenger seat or in the back seat if a spouse is present. You can outline the route that you want this person to take and you should verify that this person has a valid drivers license before allowing him to get behind the wheel.

Weigh Offers

If someone is interested in buying your car, he will make an offer once he is satisfied that you have answered his questions. That offer will likely come in less than your asking price, so determine in advance what your floor price is and stick with it.

If you missed a problem and a mechanic verifies that work needs to be done, consider splitting this cost with the buyer. Serious buyers will settle on a price as soon as possible knowing that if you turn them down, you may have another buyer waiting in the wings.

Close the Deal

As you prepare to seal the deal, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind to protect yourself legally. Senen Garcia, a Florida attorney, advises that the deal be done in writing, that the seller encourage the buyer to inspect the vehicle (and noting this in the contract), and being careful not to misrepresent any facts regarding the vehicle.

Accept cash, but never accept a personal check. A certified check should be cashed at your bank before you release your car. You can also accept a money order, but me mindful that there are fake versions out there.

Lastly, once the title has been transferred, remove your personal documentation and vehicle tags. Return the tags to DMV and contact your insurance company to cancel coverage.

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Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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