A couple weeks ago my girlfriend and I both sold our cars, and got cash, in under an hour.
How did we manage to get the drivers at the same location, the test drive done, the paperwork signed, and $13,800 cash in hand within 30 minutes of one another?
I’m going to share with you exactly how we did it, but first let me tell you a why we did it in the first place…
If you’re reading this and you live in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia, then you’re probably wondering, what are you going to do for transportation?! Simple, buy another used car of course, but this time, using the same list of criteria that I outlined in 7 things to know before you buy your next used car.
OK. So why did we choose to sell our cars at the same time and the same place?
To be honest, we didn’t.
As funny as it sounds we didn’t plan to be car-less at the same time, and the same place, let alone the same hour. But the stars aligned and we got the right buyers in front of our cars at the right time so it ended up working out.
So what are we going to do?
Well, my girlfriend and I had been working on planning our sale for about 3 months now, and we’ve been talking about selling the cars, downsizing to something reliable, with 4 wheels, an airbag, air conditioning (an absolute must if you live in texas) and can get her from point A to point B.
For me, a car was an expense that wasn’t worth the convenience of paying for.
Insurance was costing $125 a month, the car was paid, but my debt payments were costing me 3.5% in interest and the money pocketed would help go towards paying off my $33,555 in student loan and credit card debt.
So deciding to sell my car was easy.
Plus, I live across the street from work and I have a bicycle I ride to the coffee shop and grocery store. On longer trips there’s always ride shares like uber and lyft.
Also, I don’t take my car with me when I leave the state or country on flights, so it just made more sense to sell it.
My girlfriend had a $14,000 utility vehicle that she was driving because it was cute. It was depreciating and costing her $2,000 a year in maintenance fees, let alone gas and car insurance payments, so we decided that downsizing to a midsized sedan would be the best option for her.
With all that being said, here are some key points we kept in mind which made the process smooth for both of us.
#1: Don’t be in a rush to sell, if you are you could leave money on the table
If you are in a rush to sell your car and you need cash tomorrow to pay your rent, medical bills, or a bad debt, then just close this website and take your car to the nearest car max. They won’t jerk you around and they will offer you the fair value on your car for trade.
If you are not in a rush to sell, and are looking to try and max out your value of your car, then you can follow the process outlined below.
#2: Know what your car is worth before you start listing it
Once you’ve decided if you’re in a rush or not, you can start to strategize your game plan for selling your car.
Here is our process we used to sell both of our cars, and it was pretty simple:
Clean the cars > Photo them > Craft a compelling story > Post them to various market places > Wait.
At first, my girlfriend wanted to sell her car for more than the car was worth on Kelly Blue Book, and when she got bogus responses from people I mentioned to her that maybe she should try selling it a little less.
It didn’t help that she copied another ad for a like vehicle on ebay and failed to match up her model specs with the vehicle instead of using the wrong specs.
Her car was selling, for the condition it was in, at around $11,500 on the high end (perfect condition) and $9,500 on the lower end. $8,500 for dealer trade in value.
So I recommended to start listing it for around $10,500 and see how many offers she would get when listing it.
To get a good estimate on your car go to KellyBluebook.com for the U.S.
#3 How to Craft A Compelling Ad for Your Vehicle
It all starts with your message. If you have a quality used vehicle that you no longer need and are looking to get rid of, you’ve researched it’s value using a tool like Kelly blue book, then now you are ready to craft a message that resonates with your buyer.
You want to try and answer your buyers questions in your message before they have the need to ask it. Some common questions when buying a car are: Has it been in any wrecks, does it have original paint, what’s the gas mileage, how many people can it seat, what is the price, does it have room for my activities, does it have any mechanical issues, how many owners, how many miles, how old is the car, is there anything wrong with it that I should know about?
Here’s how you can answer 99% of those questions in their mind in your ad:
> Mention the number of owners of the vehicle and include the vehicle history report. Use car fax or Vincheck Pro (a less expensive alternative which gives you 6 reports from the same national databases for the same price as one carfax report) to get the report and then save a pdf of it, or screen shot it.
> Don’t try to hide your VIN, it’s not secret like a social (SSN), it’s public knowledge and no once can steal your car with it. It’s also visible in many spots on your vehicle.
> Was the vehicle in an accident, if so mention that upfront ( and keep in mind that may lower the value a bit but it’s better than losing the sale)
> Does the vehicle have original paint (mention this in your ad)
> Provide the vehicle specs you get off KBB or the Vincheck Pro form.
> Take 4-5 quality pictures from front, back, sides and the interior shots of the carpets and the trunk space.
> And finally, tell your story why you are selling it.
Tell the potential buyer why you’re willing to part with this good used vehicle, you are moving, you are down sizing, you don’t like the color any more (stupid reason but it’s a reason none the less) tell them a reason why you are deciding to sell so that their rational brain has been fed and their “feeling” brain can decide if they want it or not.
Once you’ve touched upon these points, write it up in a word document so that you can easily post to multiple market places.
A serious buyer will contact you via the method you choose, a google voice number, social account messenger, or via email.
#4: Posting Your Ad to Market Places
Once you’ve crafted a message following that format you will be ready to post your ad in a variety of market places including social marketplace like Facebook, local classified ads like Craigslist or your countries classifieds, on ebay as an auto auction with a buy it now of your price and a best offer option, or on ebay classifieds.
You won’t need a lot of views but a few hundred targeted buyers will mean that if you even have 1-2 serious buyers then you will have a good chance of getting your offer price.
My car sold from a simple facebook ad that I posted and because of the social proof I had from the buyer knowing a mutual friend of mine on facebook. I also hit all the points mentioned above.
My girlfriend ended up selling her car to a buyer from Craigslist who messaged her about coming to see the car. We had about 3 other buyers from ebay messaging her about her vehicle but many of them were out of state and we’d have to charge 10% more because of the ebay fees.
The advantage to using ebay is that you have a bigger pool of prospects; however, you do have to pay shipping, either you or the buyer, to sell the car. Otherwise they will have to drive it.
#5 Transparency and Honesty Are Key, Don’t Try and Hide Anything From your Buyer
Firstly, please don’t try and run a used car business from your Facebook… Like I outlined in, 7 Things To Know Before You Buy Your Next Used Car, people have the power of the interenet now adays and can research you simply by looking at your profile. When 6 other cars come up in your profile that you are selling then it kind of sends off some read flags, and can deter some would be good buyers from buying from you.
If you are going to sell on facebook, linkedin, or instagram please be as honest and upfront as you can be able any issues with the car, the VIN, and offer a free vehicle history report (like the one you can get with VinChecker Pro for just $15 bucks.
This will allow you to empower the customer and help them find the best solution for their needs, which ends up getting you a better reputation in the long run.
Secondly, don’t lie. Online or in person. No one benefits and you only hurt your chances.
Folks can get a pretty good idea of if you are trust worthy or not, if you are not then there is no amount of cajoling that you will be able to do in order to convince them otherwise.
Eye contact, a hand shake, and smiling are all things that convey trust to a potential buyer.
If you are constantly breaking eye contact when you speak or you are not going to shake their hand, unwilling to talk a little bit about your personal life, then you will have difficulty building trust with others.
#6: Lining Up the Motivated Buyer
If you are selling a car worth buying, the right buyer will come along. If you are price gouging on your car or trying to sell junk, then you are wasting your time and theirs. You can’t polish a turd.
One of the key concepts in selling the car is motivation. Whether you are looking for a car to buy or you are looking to get rid of a car, the question either party needs to ask is “What motivates them to sell/buy?”
If you are selling a car, telling your potential buyers your reason why you are selling it is so important. You may fear that they will try and abuse your trust and low ball you but guess what? If you have other offers, one low ball ain’t gonna hurt, you can just say “thank you but no”.
We got many low ball offers on my girlfriends car, and some people who tried to play “secret spy”, and get information from me using sales “techniques” to control the conversation.
Let me just say this is only a ‘Tactic’ and is not a strategy for success.
Your strategy is your long term game plan, a tactic is an ‘in the moment’ action you take to produce a result.
All too often in the car sales game sales people are focused on tactics and not strategy.
Our criteria for a motivated buyer was someone looking to get a car in the next week or so, is seeking to gain this as their primary vehicle for transport, has the cash to pay for it at our asking price, and is willing to come and test drive the car. If the person didn’t meet that criteria then we simply thank them for their time and move on to the next contact.
If you are in a rush to sell then you don’t have the luxury of waiting for the right buyer. If you priced your car wrong you will get too few inquiries to be able to find a motivated buyer. If you don’t set a minimum allowed price in your mind then when a motivated buyer comes along and makes you an offer you could be too ridgid and lose the sale.
Which leads me to my next point.
#7: Flexibility is Key
Being Flexible with you buyer, when you have someone that came all the way to look at your car, and they have the money withdrawn from the bank and all the necessary forms to sign the title to their name, they have “mentally” bought the car. They are ready to do the deal and only need to make sure to CTA “cover their ass”.
What you need to do now is allow them to test drive your car. If meeting with a friend and one of their friends have your friend go with them while you stay with their friend or vise versa. What you are tyring to show is that you trust them and they can trust you.
You are not going to leave your friend and they are not going to leave theirs behind by trying to steal the car. If you’ve decided on a public place in a good neighborhood then you shouldn’t have any trouble and by bringing a friend or family member along you have backup just in case something happened.
If you’ve followed the previous steps you shouldn’t have anything to worry about but it never hurts to be on the safe side.
#8: Most deals are done in a day…
know what you need to close the sale and to get the title fully transfered out of your name
If you are in the us, which is where we are at the time of this writing, then you only need a few simple things to transfer the title of the car out of your name and into their name:
- Your state transfer form – https://www.dmv.org/title-transfers.php
- The Mileage of your vehicle
- Call your insurance and notify
- Online form submit to DMV
Once you get all the above read to go you can then legally sell the car. You will want to keep the license plates, you are not obligated to give them to the seller, and they will be find to drive to the dmv to request new plates.
Again, this is only for the us, you will want to check with your countries driving authority if you live elsewhere.
My girlfriends buyers were ready with all the forms they needed. My buyer didn’t have everything printed already, so I just printed the forms, signed them, and then took off the plates so they could drive off into the sunset.
Wrapping it all up
These results are not typical but I’m confident that if you are not in a rush, do a little bit of research like you’re doing now, and present your car in an effective manner, that you will be able to sell your car and go live the travel lifestyle of your dream.
If you are interested in learning how my girlfriend turned her $9,300 cash sale into a solid 4 door sedan which cost her less than $4,000 and which she will probably sell for more than that, then check out 7 Things to Know Before You Buy Your Next Used Car.
I will update you guys when we sell it if we end up getting as much or more than what we paid for this quality used vehicle.