Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Protecting Yourself When Selling Your Own Car

You are ready to sell your car and selling it yourself will often bring you the most money. But it also can mean bringing a lot of strangers to you. So what are some things you can do to protect yourself when selling your car to an individual?
To start, you have to know your car's selling value. Use online car guides including the Kelly Blue Book to establish a base price for your vehicle. Before determining your car's price through these types of software you will need to know the make and model of your car, mileage and a general idea of its current condition.
Next, when selling your car yourself, you will want to protect yourself against thieves. It can be a pretty scary proposition to allow a total stranger to take your valuable car out for a test drive. So here are some tips when allowing another to test drive your car:
1. Trust your instincts. If any aspect of the potential buyer makes you uncomfortable, don't turn over the keys. As a private seller, you are not compelled to let somebody drive your car.
2. Does your insurance policy allow others to drive your car, call and find out. This could also give you a reason to prohibit solo test drives.
3. Make sure the driver has a valid driver's license, as well as any passengers if the car is going to be taken without you in it. It's too easy for one person to show up, claim to be the buyer, and then hand off the keys to an unlicensed driver.
4. The best thing to do is photocopy any information. If you don't have a copier at home, drive to a convenience store and make a photocopy. Only when this information is safely stored at home should you allow somebody to drive your car.
5. Did you car come with a valet key? If so, this is the one to hand over.
6. If you feel comfortable enough, accompany the potential buyer on the test drive. This will also help you inform the potential buyer about your car. You can point out the car's strengths and maybe distract the buyer from potential weaknesses. If you are afraid to go alone, ask a friend to join you. Sometimes it's always better to err on the side of caution.
7. Meet people in a public place. If your employer doesn't mind, a public place allows you a layer of anonymity from casual buyers.
8. Remove anything of value from your car. Things have a way of disappearing when you're not paying attention.
9. Always have your cell phone with you, even if meeting somebody in your driveway. It is a great insurance policy if anything goes wrong.
10. Tell the potential buyer upfront how much time they can have for the test drive. Upwards of 30 minutes is reasonable, if you accompany them. I would say only 15 minutes if they insist on driving alone. There is too much that can wrong in more than 15 minutes, such as stripping the car of valuable parts.
Once a decision has been made by the buyer to purchase your car, now you must choose how you will be paid. Cash should be your primary choice. It is also the most disconcerting because it offers no protection if stolen.
Another option is to have the buyer meet you at the bank where he or she has an account. Here they can have their check turned into a cashier's check made out to you. Offer to pay the buyer's fees for the check. After all, it is being done for your convenience. You can also meet at your bank. Anybody who can get a personal check or cashier's check can get cash. Deposit the cash and hand over the paperwork right there. Your bank might even offer you a spot to complete the transaction privately.
When selling online, many like to use escrow services. Escrow reduces the potential risk of fraud by acting as a trusted third party that collects, holds and disburses funds according to Buyer and Seller instructions. Find an escrow services that is licensed and regulated. The company should be able to accept various forms of payment. With escrow, you don't ship the used car until the escrow company tells you the funds have cleared. The funds are released to you when the buyer accepts delivery.
Now that the car has sold, you have the cash in your account or hand, it is time to inform your local motor vehicle department of the transaction. In the UK, when you sell your vehicle privately or through a motor trader you'll need to tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). If you fail to tell DVLA you could be held responsible for any future motoring offences committed in the vehicle. You should always keep a separate note of the buyer's name and address just in case they fail to make the transfer on their end.
This law is the same in the United States. The one with the name on the title is held liable for any fines or fees until the transfer of ownership is made. Because you can't count on your new buyer remembering to make the change on their part, it is best to accompany them to the local Department of Motor Vehicle Office and oversee the process.
Once the party that purchased the vehicle makes the transfer of title, you are free and clear and have safely and securely sold your vehicle on your very own.

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