How to Sell a Car to a Private Person

Selling a car privately, rather than to a dealer, can help you obtain more money for the vehicle. Buy you must invest time into preparing the car for sale, advertising it and dealing with potential buyers. Important considerations include the amount of your asking price and the minimum offer you will accept. With these two figures in mind, you can prepare to negotiate the sale of your car to a private person.


Step 1

Clean the vehicle inside and out and perform any minor repairs, or those that you deem necessary to make the car salable. Gather maintenance records to show prospective buyers.

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Step 2

Consult a used car value resource such as or Kelley Blue Book (see Resources) to learn what your car is worth. Look at the private party value to determine a sales price in relation to the condition of your car, such as "Excellent," "Good" or "Fair."


Step 3

Advertise the vehicle in your local newspaper classifieds, online classifieds or auto sales publications. Include a brief description of the vehicle, the asking price and your contact information.

Step 4

Respond to inquiries regarding the vehicle. Meet with them to show the car. Allow a test drive, but ask to see a driver's license and accompany them on the drive.



Step 5

Put the terms of the sale in writing in a "Bill of Sale." This will clear up any confusion and finalize the selling price. Sign it and have the buyer sign it in the presence of a witness or notary who also signs it.

Step 6

Request a certified check from the buyer or ask to meet at his bank to complete the transaction. Make sure you have legitimate funds in your hand before allowing the buyer to take ownership of the car.

Step 7

Sign the title to transfer ownership to the buyer. Call your insurance company and cancel coverage as soon as the buyer takes ownership.


Consider having your vehicle checked out by a mechanic and allow prospective buyers to look at the report.


When meeting prospective buyers, take someone along with you for safety.

Be careful when selling your car. There are scam artists who will take advantage of you. Meet in person and ensure you have the funds before handing over the keys to the car.

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