Texas Living

How to Sell a Car in 2022

By Peter Simek 9.2.22

There has never been a better time to sell a car. A confluence of factors—including production slowdowns during the pandemic and ongoing supply chain issues—has limited the supply of new cars hitting the market. As a result, used cars are seeing an influx in value.

If you are in the market for a new car, that’s bad news. But if you’ve been waiting to get rid of a car you don’t need anymore, upgrade your vehicle, or simply cash in on a hot market, now is the time to sell.

But what are the best ways to ensure that you are getting the best price for your used vehicle? With so many new options for car sellers out there, it can be difficult terrain to navigate. We’ll walk you through everything you need to consider and the steps you should take to make sure you sell for the most value possible.

Different Ways to Sell Your Car

There are three main options for selling your vehicle. You can trade it in, sell it yourself, or use one of the many new instant cash offer options that have hit the market. Each come with their own pros and cons.

Trade In: Fast and easy, you don’t have to go through the hassle of listing and selling your car, and the value goes straight to a new vehicle. The downside is you may not get as much value than if you sell it directly.

Sell It: This is the best way to get the most value for your car. Especially in this market, you can negotiate your way to more money for your car and save on any overhead costs that might come with a trade in. The downside is that it takes time and effort to get the best deal.

Instant Offer: This is the middle ground between selling and trading in. You get the convenience and speed of a trade but with a little more value for your vehicle. You likely won’t get the cash offer, however, that you would receive with a direct sale.

Prepping Your Car for Sale

Before you start snapping photos for the used car ad, there are some things you will need to take care of before your car hits the market.

Gather your paperwork: Dig out your car title, the original sales paperwork, as well as records for any service you have received over the years. Records of regular oil changes and any major repairs that were done will help assure buyers that they are purchasing a vehicle that has been well maintained.

Spiff up your vehicle: Little blemishes such as a cracked or chipped windshield can have an oversized impact on the price buyers are willing to accept. Take some time to fix any issues that may turn off potential buyers and have your car professionally cleaned and detailed. Also, peel off those bumper stickers and any other decorations. You will want a buyer to feel like they are getting as close to a new vehicle as possible.

Determine the right price: You may want to take your car to your mechanic to get their input on what a fair offering price may be. There are also valuation tools available online that can give you a ballpark figure. Also, take a look at popular auto listing sites to see what cars similar to your own are earning in the current marketplace in your area of Texas. Consider some factors that may boost your price, such as an existing extended warranty or any new tires, brakes, or upgrades you have invested in. Factors that may lower the asking price include a history of accidents, outstanding maintenance issues, or your need to price competitively to turn around a quick sale.

Hitting the Market

Once you are ready to list your car, take the time to craft a listing that will distinguish your car from others on the market. Here are some key steps to make your listing stand out:

  • Write a description that will anticipate many of the questions you may receive during the selling process. That includes important details such as gas mileage and any features or perks.
  • Explain why you are selling the car, so buyers don’t feel a need to question your motivations.
  • Be honest about the vehicle’s condition and include the VIN number so buyers can pull a vehicle history report. That kind of transparency will help buyers feel more comfortable with the purchase—and more willing to accept a higher asking price.
  • And, of course, include tons of photos. If there are any maintenance or condition issues, be sure to include detailed photos of those as well for full transparency.

Closing the Deal

Your listing offers the first opportunity to set the terms of the negotiation process, including any firm range you are willing to consider and the forms of payment you are willing to accept. Once you are contacted by interested buyers, be sure to meet in a safe and secure location. Bring a friend and come prepared with a way of verifying any payment, such as using an escrow service. Plan how you are going to arrange a test drive, and make sure the potential buyer has auto insurance before handing over the keys.

Once you have settled on a price with a buyer, you will need to complete the paperwork required by the state to complete a vehicle sale. This includes retitling the vehicle, registering the car in the new buyer’s name, and paying any transfer fees and taxes. In Texas, sellers must provide a buyer with a signed application for a Texas title with the sales price clearly shown. You should also keep detailed records of the transaction, including the buyer’s contact information, the date of sale, and the VIN number.

If you’re looking to upgrade after you sell your car, check out our guide to buying versus leasing a car.

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