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How To Protect Yourself When Selling A Car

by Lily Morgen
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Protect You When Selling A Car

Starting with an online ad or meeting someone in person can be a way to increase your chance of selling your car out. As you may know, used cars are sold “As-Is”, which means that the buyer understands that they are buying the car in its current condition, without any guarantee from the seller about its safety or drivability. 

This also means that, as the seller, you are not responsible for what happens to the car after it is sold.

There are several factors you need to pay attention to in the process of selling your car. The following are some tips to help protect yourself when selling your car:

1. Write “As-Is, No Warranty, Welcome Inspections”  in the Ad

When you write your ad, be sure to include that the car is being sold “As-Is” and that there is no warranty. You can also invite potential buyers to have the car inspected before they purchase it. This will help set expectations for the buyer and let them know that they are responsible for any repairs that may be needed.

2. Don’t Lie to The Buyer about the Car Condition

Be a trustworthy seller. Don’t talk to the buyer that the car didn’t have a car accident, but finally, he found that the car had an accident on the carfax report. Lying about the car’s condition will only cause problems down the road and may even void the sale. Be honest with potential buyers about the condition of your car so there are no surprises after the sale.

3. Communicate with Serious Buyers

You may get many inquiries about your car, but not all of them will be serious. To save yourself time, only communicate with buyers who seem genuinely interested in purchasing your car. You can usually tell by the questions they ask and whether or not they follow up after initial contact.

4. Screen Potential Buyers in Advance

When you get serious inquiries about your car, take the time to screen the potential buyer. You can ask them questions about their plans for the car and whether they intend to have it inspected. You can also run a background check to see if they have any history of fraud or other criminal activity.

5. Do Not Give Out too Much Personal Information

When you are communicating with potential buyers, be careful not to give out too much personal information. You should only give them your first name and last initial, and you should not share your address, phone number, or email address until you are ready to schedule a time for them to see the car.

6. Meet in a Public Place

When you meet someone to show them the car, be sure to do it in a public place. You can meet at a coffee shop, in a parking lot. Just be sure that there are other people around so that you do not feel unsafe.

7. Ensure Your Safety During The Test Drive 

Most probably, the potential buyer would like to test drive your car before making a decision. While this is a normal part of the car-selling process, it’s important to be aware of your safety. 

If you decide to let the buyer test drive your car, ask your friend or family member along with you in the car. Do not let the buyer take the car alone.

Make sure the driver conducting the test drive is covered by insurance. You can get in touch with your insurance provider to inform them of the situation and request coverage.

Request a copy of the buyer’s driver’s license before allowing them to enter the car. Meanwhile, you can create a replica by using your phone to take a photo of the license’s front and back. To confirm their identity, you can also request another form of documentation, such as a national ID.

8. Deal In Cash Or Let The Banker Handle The Transaction

When it comes time to exchange money, it is best to deal in cash. This way, there is no risk of the buyer not following through with the payment. 

If you do not feel comfortable dealing in cash, you can have the buyer get a cashier’s check or money order from their bank. You can also have the transaction handled by your bank so that you can be sure that you will get the money.

9. Sign over the Title and Give the Buyer the Keys

Once you have received the payment, you will need to sign over the title of the car to the buyer. You will also need to give them the keys to the car. If you have a spare key, you can give that to them as well.

10. Get a Bill of Sale

A Bill of Sale is not required in California, but it is highly recommended. The Bill of Sale is used to document the sale of your vehicle and transfer ownership to the new owner. It should include the following information:

  • The date of the sale
  • The names, addresses, and driver’s license numbers of the buyer and seller
  • The make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car
  • The selling price of the car
  • Both parties should sign and date the Bill of Sale. Keep a copy for your records.

11. Submit a Release of Liability to the CA DMV

The Release of Liability (ROL) form is used to notify the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you have sold or transferred ownership of your vehicle. 

Once the ROL is processed, you will no longer be responsible for parking tickets, traffic violations, or any other fines associated with the vehicle. The new owner will be responsible for registering the vehicle in their name.

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