As you’re probably aware by now, CarGurus allows users to post cars for sale at no charge on the website.
Doing so lets shoppers from around the United States find your car and compare it to similar vehicles for sale. Listing your car on CarGurus will also let you know the Instant Market Value of your car and show you how competitively you’ve priced it.
Anytime you sell your car privately, though, you need to allow test drives for interested parties. That can be a daunting prospect, but follow this protocol, and it’s likely you and the potential buyer will have a positive experience.
People who want to check out your car will most likely be strangers. The odds of that person wanting to cause trouble aren’t good, but to keep yourself safe, meet in a neutral area rather than at your home or the buyer’s home. A well-lit grocery-store parking lot, for example, is a good choice. Also, remove any valuables from your car before the meeting, and bring a friend to help you feel more secure.
It’s also a good idea to confirm with your insurance company that another driver will be covered in case of an accident.
Once the buyer arrives, take a few minutes to acquaint him or her with the basics of the car and alert the buyer to any known problems. If there are any quirks, such as the location of the ignition and window controls in a Porsche, make sure he/she knows about them before heading out on the freeway.
Also, establish some basic rules before the buyer gets behind the wheel. For example, I recently had to deny a test drive to a guy who was smoking, since I didn’t want to deal with the smell in my car if he decided to not buy it. Remember, it’s still your car, and you get to make the rules about who drives it.
The buyer may request a solo drive, but regardless, you’ll want some sort of assurance that your car will return in the same condition in which it left. You should take a picture of the potential buyer’s drivers license or at least write down the buyer’s license number, address, and phone number.
Ideally, you’ll sit in the passenger seat as your potential buyer drives. That’ll give you the chance to answer any questions, point out subtle details that you love about the car, and make your pitch to a captive audience.
If you own the car outright and the buyer makes a reasonable offer, accept only cash or a cashier’s check. If you owe money on the car, meet at your bank or credit union and allow them to help you finalize the deal.
Selling a car on your own can mean a lot of time fielding phone calls, texts, and emails, followed by meetings with people who may or may not show up as promised. For the folks who would rather not deal with the potential stress of selling a car, trading it in at a dealership will eliminate those problems but comes at the cost of potentially not getting as much for the car as you might want.
What’s your current car? When you get rid of it, will you trade it in or sell it yourself?
Shopping for a new vehicle?
Bring along CarGurus’ mobile app to help check prices, find good deals, and research cars on your smartphone.