Selling your car safely can be a challenge if you do not know the buyer.
Problems can arise when the time comes for payment and you might be conned. You don’t need to be an experienced seller to sell your car, as many secure online selling platforms are available. But first you need to prepare your car for sale.
Dents and dirt can cost you a few dollars. Before you start creating your ad, make sure that the car you are selling is in good condition.
The buyer may need a test drive to verify this. In this article you will find some important tips for your consideration.
Things to consider before selling your car
Interior and exterior cleaning
The first thing that attracts a potential buyer to your car is a well-polished exterior. Start by removing any visible dents. You may have to go to a paint shop. Wash the car on the day of sale and apply some polish to keep the exterior clean. Don’t forget to wash the engine and tires.
The appearance of your interior depends on how many years you have been driving your car. Grease and dirt will have formed on the dashboard, which will make the car look very old. You can start by cleaning your interior with a good vacuum cleaner. Use a damp cloth and some soapy water to remove the dirt from the dashboard. Polish the dashboard and door interior to make it look clean.
Your ad is your selling point for your car. Some important factors should be clearly visible on your ad. The first is the age, model, and mileage of your car. Next, show the best photo you have of the car with the owner’s contact. If you show the price, quote extra so that people can negotiate.
Background research on buyer
Before your actual meeting with the buyer, it is advisable to check the background of the buyer. Ask them for some identification and communicate in texts. You can cancel the transaction at any time, so do not feel pressured. Choose a public area as a meeting point.
Taking the buyer for a test drive
Once you have placed your ad in the daily newspapers or on the online platform, you will receive calls. The buyer will want to physically look at the car, inspect it and take a test drive. Since you are dealing with strangers, it is advisable that you go to any car meeting with a relative or friend.
Avoid letting the buyer drive the car alone; instead, sit in the passenger seat when the buyer takes the car for a ride. Drive along familiar routes.
If the buyer likes the vehicle, the next step is to discuss the payment. Avoid accepting personal cheques; the chances of them bouncing are high. If the buyer wants to pay in cash, make sure you are not paid with counterfeit notes. Also, make sure that you are paid the full amount. You can choose to make the transaction through the bank; this is safer and more legitimate. You can also choose to transfer money electronically.
Fill out paperwork
Once you have received payment for the vehicle, your next step is to legally deliver the car to the buyer. The paperwork required depends on the jurisdiction. Usually, you will be asked to enter the seller’s and buyer’s details, the amount paid for the vehicle, the registration number, engine number, make, colour, etc. and hand over to the buyer all the documents you have on the vehicle, including any duplicate keys and the service history.
Sign the documents at a government office and make sure that you have received the full amount for the car.
How to detect car fraudsters
Offering to purchase a car without seeing it
A serious car buyer will ask for a meeting where he can view the car and take a test drive. In cases of fraud, the seller is promised payment as soon as the car is delivered. The catch is that the person will write an uncovered cheque or fraudulent payment receipts.
In cases where the seller is in a hurry to sell the car, the buyer can suggest monthly payments. As soon as you deliver the car and receive the initial deposit, the buyer disappears with the full amount. If you sell a car online, always insist on full payment.
Asking for personal information
Fraudsters will insist that you provide personal information such as bank account details, credit card numbers, social security, and email addresses. Once the fraudster has the information, it will disappear.
An escrow account is an escrow account where a third party holds the money in question until the transaction is completed. Not all escrow services are legitimate, and you need to do a thorough background check before deciding on an escrow account. Alternatively, you can use the services of a reputable lawyer for the transaction.
In such cases, a fraudster will inform you that he has paid too much for the car and ask you if you are willing to reimburse him the excess amount. Most of this is done by fraudulent bank transfers, cheques or bank transfers. The problem is that what they claim to be an overpayment is fake. You can wait until a cheque is cashed before releasing your car to a potential buyer.
You can either sell your car through agents or do it yourself. The advent of various online platforms has made selling a car easy. But it has also opened the door to fraud. If you want to sell your car online, make sure that you insist that the buyer must physically inspect the car instead of sending an agent. Do not let them take the car for test drives on their own. Make sure that a friend or relative is with you. If you receive cash, make sure that you receive the full amount and that you carry out the transaction in a safe place, for example, a bank or law firm. Do not give your personal bank details to strangers. Avoid accepting personal cheques, as there is a high probability that they will bounce. There are several mobile payment platforms that you can use but do not complete the transfer until you are sure that the purchase amount has arrived into your account.