So you’ve done the (seemingly) tough part of listing your car to sell on Craigslist. But that’s only half the battle. Here’s your guide on how to find your car a new home, quickly and easily.
Step 1: Get your affairs in Order
Make sure you have all your paperwork lined up:
- Title (If you have a loan on the vehicle, contact your bank to notify them of the sale. You won’t be able to get the title from them if you don’t, and without the title you can’t complete a sale.)
- Dealer and repair paperwork (if you have it)
- Contract of sale (also known as Bill of Sale)
If either the title or the registration are missing, you’ll have to apply for a replacement with the DMV. Luckily, this is a common process that is inexpensive and straightforward.
You’ll want to have two copies of a contract of sale, which can be downloaded from the internet and printed out. Some sellers will have a printout of their car’s Carfax history report and KBB price as well to pre-empt lowballers or aggressive negotiators.
Step 2: Schedule a test drive
Privacy and safety is important for both you and the buyer. You may want pick a public and convenient place to meet buyers, like a shopping center, and arrange a time that is relatively safe (for example, a weekend morning). Some buyers and sellers also choose to ask a friend or family member to come along with them for added safety (and moral support!), so be ready for it to be a party.
PRO TIP: Make sure to remind your buyer the time, date, location, and preferred form of payment to avoid any confusion.
The Lease Buyout: Getting Out of a Car Lease
Step 3: Prep your car to sell
A couple hours before your scheduled test drive, give your car a once-over to get rid of any bits of trash and other unsightly elements, take it for a final wash and vacuum, and then go meet your buyer.
Some sellers insist on being in the car during the test drive, but it’s probably easier and more comfortable for both you and the buyer to just take a picture of their driver’s license and let them take it for a spin themselves.
Ouch. We feel your pain @amitpaka 😱 https://t.co/bPgbU20sRs
— Shift (@driveshift) February 25, 2020
Step 4: Sell Your Car (FINALLY!)
If you’ve done all your work, pretty soon you’ll find yourself in the closing negotiations. It’s normal for buyers to negotiate for a better price. Decide beforehand a price that you won’t go below. If a buyer does try to go lower than that number, don’t be afraid to say no. It’ll only be a matter of time before you find someone else.
Closing the sale
Once you’ve agreed on a price, it’s time for the paperwork:
- Collect your cashier’s check (politely decline personal checks)
- Fill out the contract of sale
- Transfer the title to the buyer
Since every state has slightly different laws, it’s best to do a Google search for car sales in your state to check if there’s additional documentation required. And that’s it! Cash your check at the bank and pat yourself on the back.
One thing to be aware of: Getting your car listed is generally fairly quick, but the process of actually selling your car on Craigslist often takes much longer — several weekends on average. If you’re on the West Coast and want to save some time, Shift can cut it down to about an hour or less.
Whatever way you choose to go, happy selling!