Selling a Car

What to consider when selling a car in the US

Selling a Car

Before you embark on a process that can be stressful consider whether you want to sell your car privately or trade it in.

When selling a car in the US, be aware of the following points:

  • Whenever possible, sell a car in the state where it’s registered. To sell a car legally in a state other than that where it’s registered, you must re-register it in that state and fit new licence plates. It’s possible to sell an out-of-state car, although you may need to drop the price considerably to compensate for the legal hassle involved on the buyer’s part. A car with an automatic gearbox is much easier to sell than one with a manual box (stick shift).
  • A potential buyer cannot test drive your car unless he is covered by your or his insurance. You’re responsible if someone drives your car without valid insurance, even with your permission.
  • Inform your insurance company. Cancel your policy or transfer it to a new car. When you sell a car, you may be required to notify your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) by completing part of the registration or title paper. The new owner of the car must also register his ownership.
  • If you’re selling your car privately, you should insist on payment in cash or by certified cheque or money order. There are crooks who, given half a chance, happily give you a dud cheque and drive off with your car. If someone insists on paying with a personal cheque, you shouldn’t allow him to take your car until the cheque has cleared.
  • Include in the receipt that you’re selling the car in its present condition (as is) without a guarantee, the price paid and the car’s odometer (mileage) reading, which must be stated by law.
  • You can advertise a car for sale in local newspapers, on free local notice boards, in the weekend editions of major newspapers, and in motoring newspapers and magazines. The best place to advertise a car depends on its make and value. Inexpensive cars are best sold in local newspapers, while expensive and collectors’ cars are often advertised in the motoring press and in newspapers such as the New York Sunday Times. Buyers usually travel a long way to view a car that appears good value. (If nobody calls, you will know why!)
  • Last, but certainly not least, obtain the best possible price for your car, which may mean taking time to sell it. If you must sell a car in a hurry, you may need to sell it to a used car dealer, who will usually offer you a derisory sum.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in America. Click here to get a copy now.

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