Being that we pay cash for cars in San Bernardino County, we are pretty much up to speed on how buying and selling used cars works. But we also know that a lot of people looking to sell a car in Los Angeles, San Diego, etc. come to us because they run into trouble trying to sell directly to another consumer. They did not realize it would be so difficult.
Selling a car on your own is a lot like trying to sell your house without a real estate broker. It can be done, but you have to be very careful that you’re not taken advantage of. By the same token, you don’t want to take advantage of your buyer either. Just one little mistake could cost you big time.
You do have the option of trading in your used car on something new. But will a dealer give you what your car is really worth? No. They have to be able to turn around and sell it for a profit. There’s always Car Fast Cash. We buy cars throughout Southern California.
Ultimately, you have choices. Should you decide to try to sell your car to another consumer on your own, just be ready for the following five things:
1. Your Price Might Not Be Realistic
Whether selling cars, homes or just about anything else, most people have trouble detaching themselves emotionally. As a result, the prices they set are often unrealistically high. Some guy selling a 2010 Dodge pickup might be selling the first truck he ever owned. Because of his attachment to it, there is a good chance he will think it is worth more than it really is.
We always encourage sellers to use an online tool to help determine selling price. Kelley Blue Book is a great resource, as is the Edmunds website. These online tools come up with a price based on make and model, year, mileage, and other factors that have nothing to do with emotional attachment. Just know this: if you set your price too high, you probably won’t get a buyer.
2. Buyers Will Try to Lowball You
The other side of the price equation is that buyers will try to lowball you. Do your best to avoid the temptation of getting angry or frustrated. They are looking out for their best interests just like you are. Wouldn’t you do the same if you were buying a used car?
The real question is, how low are you willing to go? Do not ever reveal that to buyers; just have a number in mind. If you’re not willing to go below $5000, let’s say, then you have an absolute cutoff point for negotiations. You should also plan on starting a little high so that you have room to come down.
3. Buyers Might Want an Inspection
The car buying public has become increasingly more savvy over the years. These days, they are routinely encouraged to take cars to their own mechanics for inspection. That is reasonable, so be prepared for it.
The logistics of arranging for inspection depend a lot on your comfort level. You might not be comfortable allowing someone to drive away with your car in hopes that it will actually be taken to a mechanic. You might prefer to drive it to the repair shop yourself. Either way, just be prepared that your buyers might want your car looked over by their own mechanics.
4. Buyers Might Want to Test Drive
Hand-in-hand with independent inspections are test drives. The thing about test drives is that they can be just as risky as allowing a potential buyer to drive the car to their own mechanic. You have to trust that person isn’t trying to steal from you. So, you have three options.
Your first option is to let the buyer take the car and hope for the best. Your second option is to do what many dealers do: go with the buyer on the test drive. Your third option is to just deny any and all test drive requests. In our opinion, the second option is the best one.
A test drive is going to reveal any major problems the car might have. Don’t try to pull the wool over a potential buyer’s eyes. Be upfront about any and all mechanical issues you’re aware of. When buyers ask questions, answer them honestly. Otherwise, a test drive could turn into a disaster.
5. You’re Going to Have to File an NRL
Upon the sale of your used car, you’re going to have to file a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability (NRL) form with the DMV. This form notifies the state that you transferred title and ownership of your vehicle to someone else. A failure to file within five days could mean you are liable for parking tickets, red light camera tickets, etc. Thankfully, you can file it online.
California has the NLR requirement because, unlike most other states, license plates stay with a car as is transferred from one owner to another. In other states, license plates are assigned to drivers rather than cars. So if you sell a used car in New York for example, you remove the plates and return them to the DMV. We don’t do that here in California.
All this to say that you need to get all the relevant information from your buyer before you sign over the title. You need name, address, and contact information. You might also want to check the buyer’s ID to make sure the information is legit. If your NRL form is incomplete or contains inaccurate information, you could still be liable for how the car is used by the new owner.
By now, all this may have you rather confused. No worries. We buy cars in San Bernardino County and throughout Southern California. Sell your car to us and alleviate the hassle of trying to do it yourself. We make getting cash for your car easy.