Selling your vehicle privately can be a difficult task. It can be very difficult to deal with online scammers, buyers who aren’t sure they want to buy, and other issues. However, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re ready. This way, the process is streamlined and becomes as simple as possible. Reduce the time it takes to finalize your peer-to-peer car sale with these five tips for selling.

Know what your car is worth

The 2007 Toyota Highlander SUV | Toyota

Determining the value of your vehicle can be a task in itself. Whether someone buys it or not is usually mostly based on price. Many factors can affect the value of a vehicle. These include obvious things like age, mileage, and condition, and less obvious things like current market conditions, fuel prices/economy, and more.

For example, says 10-year-old used cars have an average price of $16,331 in July 2022, up from $8,995 in July 2020. That means your aging 2012 car could fetch a much higher price. higher than it is probably worth. at present. Online resources like Kelley Blue Book or used car chains like CarMax are excellent for determining the current value of your car.

Submit your car online

A 'SALE' used car dealership window sign and reflection of models on the lot in Detroit, Michigan
A used car dealership window sign | Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Selling your car online is easy with the number of tools available today. There are places to sell cars that aren’t exclusively for vehicles, like Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace. Then there are sites specifically aimed at selling your used car privately, such as or Autotrader, which provide tools to make your job easier. Be sure to highlight your vehicle’s strengths, whether it’s cleanliness, low mileage, or desirable features.

As a former dealership employee who photographed every piece of used car inventory, I can tell you that photos are key. The difference in online traffic between a vehicle without images and a vehicle with high quality images is astronomical.

Plus, take photos from all the right places and angles. Shoot all exterior angles to make sure potential buyers have no damage to hide (or be open about little things like scratches, which can show buyers you’re not hiding worse). While every button in the interior doesn’t need to be highlighted, the front dash as a whole should draw attention. Many buyers will want to know your vehicle’s equipment, which is often easily seen in interior photos.

Be prepared with the paperwork

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition. Selling your car to a private individual can be more complicated than a dealership.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Heritage Edition | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Selling your car privately becomes even more complicated once you’ve made a deal. Also, things a dealer usually does for you now have to be done manually, for example, the car title, a bill of sale, or other essential documents. Be sure to keep a purchase receipt and give a copy to the buyer so both parties feel secure. According to, some states even require a bill of sale to transfer title to a new owner.

Finally, documents regarding the vehicle’s service history, warranty details and manuals may also be helpful. These things can help show a buyer that you’ve taken good care of the car and often encourage a purchase. Websites like CarFax and Autocheck are great resources.

Above all, sell your car safely

A customer learns how to buy a new car during the shortage of semiconductor microchips.
Dealer customer | J. Conrad Williams Jr./Newsday RM via Getty Images

There is enormous risk on the part of both parties involved in a private sale. Whether it is due to uncertainty about the quality of the vehicle, a dangerous person meeting you or any monetary scam. Trading and selling to a reseller is much safer, secure and even more accessible as they will do most of the work for you. (You’ll also likely get less money since dealers need to make a profit) However, as long as you take precautions, selling privately can be a breeze.

First, set up a public meeting place for a test drive and bring a friend if possible. If the potential buyer wants to drive the car on their own, do exactly what a dealer would do. Take a picture of their driver’s license and maybe even their insurance card before you go. Moreover, a person who refuses this offer is no longer worth selling.

Finally, securely accept payment once a price is agreed. Communicate how you would like to receive compensation, whether it is cash, cashier’s check, personal check or another method. Cash and cashier’s checks are the safest, and title should not be transferred until the money is in your hands or in your bank account. Do not transfer title until a check has been cashed. Also, do not accept payment through an app that can be canceled or changed.

Final actions after a private car sale

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Finally, there are some things you will need to do to fix the issues. After selling your used car to a buyer, remove your license plates from the vehicle. Usually they are only held on by a few screws, so anyone can easily remove them. Most states require tags to stay with the seller, whether transferring them to a new vehicle or turning them into a DMV.

Also, remove the sold vehicle from your insurance policy as soon as possible. Don’t let another driver use your insurance before driving the car away. Remove it from the font and leave it to the buyer to get theirs. Finally, an out-of-town buyer must either drive themselves to get the vehicle or pay for freight. Depending on the distance and the weight of the vehicle, a car transporter can deliver your vehicle anywhere in the country, but it will be quite expensive.

Tips for selling your car privately

In conclusion, selling your used car privately can be much more profitable than selling it to a dealership. However, you will undoubtedly encounter some challenges. Follow these tips to be as prepared as possible throughout the sales process. Know your vehicle’s value, post it online, prepare your documents, sell securely, and take the final steps to streamline your private car sale.

RELATED: 5 vital things you can’t forget when leaving a dealership with a used car