I sold my car in 5 hours. I think you can too. Here’s what I did:
Looked up my blue book value on kbb.com. You need to find a fair selling price. Of course, you’d like to sell your car for as much as possible, but be realistic. The blue book values will help keep you in line. Keep this in mind: the higher you list at, the more negotiation may be involved, and more people will be deterred from contacting you. The more time you spend negotiating with people, the greater the opportunity cost of selling your car yourself would be.
Posted a listing on Craigslist. Include all information including: reason for selling, clean title, miles, any damage or previous accidents, and contact info. I recommend taking pictures of your car from various angles, as well as an interior shot. Best of all, it’s free.
Wash or detail your car. I received two emails within 10 minutes of posting my ad. My car was a mess, so I knew I had to clean it out quickly if I was going to show it. I headed to the local car wash where I paid extra to get the supreme detail (interior and exterior wash, wax, etc…). The money was very well spent. Bring your iPhone or Blackberry when you hit the car wash, because you may be receiving inquiries by now.
Fielding the inquiries. Response quickly — if someone emails you, chances are they are sitting at their computer so a quick email back will result in another response. I answered any questions and made it clear that my asking price was not highly negotiable. My first caller wanted 25% off my asking price. I politely declined and it didn’t waste any of my time. One of my next callers was interested in seeing it, and not scared off by my saying that the price was not negotiable.
Showing the car. Safety first! If you’re meeting a stranger, show them the car in a public place. My preferred used car sales strategy is to apply no pressure. Show them the interior. Pop the hood. Start the engine. Show them your service records. If they are interested, they may make an offer.
Making the deal. You should pre-print two copies of a Bill of Sale, and have your title on hand as well. Each state may have different regulations, so follow the regulations of your state. One thing I learned, is do not accept a cashier’s or bank check (apparently, they are quite easy to forge these days). So if you do strike a deal, have them bring cash, or go to the bank with them, and get a cashier’s check directly from the teller. Once your done, don’t forget to inform the appropriate authorities that you’ve sold the car (such as the DMV and your insurance company).
If this article helps you out at all in selling your car, please let me know. I listed my car at 11:30 am, and sold it by 4:30pm the same day. Good luck with your car sale!