You can never be too prepared when selling car yourself

(September 27, 2012) ORLANDO, Fla. — There are many different ways to buy and sell a vehicle. With approximately 33 million used vehicles sold annually, people planning to upgrade their vehicle have many options for getting rid of the old one — trade in, sell it to a dealer, give it to a family member, donate it to a charity or sell it directly.

And while selling a vehicle independently may seem like more work, 30 percent of used vehicles in 2011 were sold by car owners directly says AAA.

"Selling a vehicle yourself is not difficult, but it does take time and effort," says John Nielsen, AAA director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. "Pricing the vehicle properly and preparing it for sale are keys to quickly selling the vehicle for a reasonable amount."

When selling your vehicle yourself, AAA recommends the following:

   • Prepare Your Vehicle for Sale. Prepare your vehicle for a buyer by having it professionally detailed. Remove any personal items from your vehicle, including any stickers you have placed on the exterior. Have your vehicle inspected by a repair shop prior to the sale and ask for a detailed report, which can be shared with perspective buyers. AAA Approved Auto Repair shops can complete this task and can be located by searching online at

    • Determine a Price.  Determining the appropriate selling price is a critical step to selling your vehicle independently. Be realistic in the condition of your vehicle, very few vehicles are in "excellent" condition. Do your homework and keep a list of comparable prices from various vehicle pricing sources for any potential buyers to take with them.

    • Spread the Word. Marketing your vehicle for sale is another important step to successfully selling your vehicle independently. Use today's social media technology and online websites to let others know you are selling your vehicle. Facebook, Twitter,, and eBay Motors are all great examples of electronic resources. Colorful photos and diverse images can help support the description and features of the vehicle. Be sure to include contact information and any other important details pertaining to the sale.

    • Showing Perspective Buyers the Vehicle: Once you prepare, price and market your vehicle for sale, you should receive inquiries from potential buyers. Use common sense and caution when showing your vehicle. Meet potential buyers in a public location and do not let them test drive the vehicle by themselves. Be ready for questions, have detailed information readily available, include a CARFAX vehicle history report and keep repair and maintenance documents compiled and organized.

    • Securing a Payment. Once you have found a buyer for your vehicle, AAA recommends creating a bill of sale that both parties can sign and have it notarized. Notaries can be located at a bank or any AAA office. Always secure payment before you transfer ownership. Options for payment include certified checks, cash or money order. AAA suggests completing a transaction at a bank to verify the payment is legitimate.  If a buyer is uncomfortable with any part of the agreement, be cautious and use good judgment to avoid the possibility of being scammed. 

AAA's tips for selling your vehicle independently are provided by AAA Auto Buying experts who test drive and evaluate hundreds of vehicles each year.

AAA provides free vehicle reviews, localized pricing information and more for consumers online at Additional information on AAA Auto Buying is available at  You can also download the AAA Auto Buying Tools App here and through the Apple app store and access information on the go.