We gave you the “Do’s” a couple of weeks ago in a piece about how to sell your car privately without problems. Now, in response to a story on MSN Autos, “10 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Car,” we offer our (simpler and better) list of stupid things not to do.
There are five:
1. Don’t sell the car if you’re too far “upside down”—that is, if you owe a lot more than the car is worth. Yes, some accommodating lenders will roll your present car loan over and happily tack your balance owed onto a new loan. But that isn’t smart if it’s a big balance. Unless you like debt.
Because they’re based on high-volume, often sight-unseen auction sales, such numbers aren’t always accurate. If the car is in any way special—a low-production model, for example—its estimated value could be low by as much as several thousand dollars. By the same token, if your car is a worn-out rat, even the lowest published number isn’t going to be correct. Your car is worth what someone pays on the day of sale—no more, no less.
Pricing the car is key, and our DealFinder Instant Market Value is the best tool on the Web to help you do that.
3. Don’t ever finance a car for a buyer, even a friend. Take cash (or a cashier’s check) only, and don’t be bullied or persuaded by any other assurances. Know your state’s processes for title transfer, and prepare a simple bill of sale once the deal is done.
4. Don’t let the buyer take an unaccompanied test drive. Make sure your insurance covers him/her, or check that he has coverage. Write down his contacts and driver’s license number in any case.
5. Don’t try selling your car privately unless you are willing to put up with some risk, hassle, and possibly assume some liability. The Car Talk guys list five questions to answer about whether a private sale is right for you, and they are good ones. Yes, you’ll make more than if you sold to a dealer, but it will require an investment of time, effort and some money.
We’ve left off the obvious things like, “Don’t show a dirty car,” because we know our readers are car gurus, not car dunces.
Any other important “Don’ts” folks should think about when selling a car?