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Winter 2012 - Vol. 6, No. 1

Travis Credit Union - Home

Time to upgrade?
The keys to selling your vehicle

Selling your Vehicle

Is it time to upgrade your vehicle? If 2012 is the year for that new hybrid, electric or other new vehicle, have you considered what you're going to do with your old car? While trading it in with your new purchase is an option, you can probably get more money for it by selling it privately.

There are several things to consider when selling your old vehicle yourself. They include knowing your car's market value, advertising, presentation, negotiations and closing the sale. Here are some of the keys to selling your vehicle so that you can move on to your next dream machine.

Determine its value
If you're going to sell your car, you need to know how much it is worth. Some types of cars are worth more than others, even if they have the same mileage and age. For example, family sedans and trucks are in constant demand because they provide basic, affordable transportation, compared to sports cars and convertibles, which have better sales during the summer.

To find out how much your car is worth, visit our "Vehicle Research Tools" link in the "Financial Tools" section of There, click on the Kelly Blue Book icon and select "Suggested Retail Value." Enter your vehicle's information and you'll receive a good estimate of your car's worth. Another way to check its value is to visit online classified ads sections such as the used vehicle locator at

Get it ready for sale
Once you've set a fair price for your car, get it ready for sale. In many cases, buyers will make up their minds whether to buy your car in the first few minutes, so first impressions count! Wash and wax your car's exterior and clean and vacuum the interior. Remove everything from the trunk and make sure the spare tire is in good shape.

Ensure your car is mechanically sound as buyers may ask to have their mechanic take a look at it. Better yet, have your mechanic inspect the car and show this report to prospective buyers. Conduct minor maintenance such as an oil change and gather up your car's maintenance records so you can document the condition it is in. If desired, you can also prove your car's title is clean by ordering a CarFax report.

Advertise your car
Long gone are the days when sticking a "For Sale" sign on your car was enough. Consider both printed and online classified ads when selling your car. You can buy a classified ad in your weekly shopper or your local newspaper. When selling online, consider Web sites such as,, or

When creating your ad, include the year, make, model, mileage, condition and features along with the price. If you're willing to negotiate on the price, you can use terms such as "Or Best Offer" or "Asking Price." If you're eager to sell, say something such as "Must Sell!" If you won't budge on your selling price, say it is "Firm."

Show your vehicle
It's often better to first screen buyers over the phone before meeting them to show the vehicle. Use your intuition; if something about a caller doesn't seem right, don't do business with them. When showing your car, be sure you bring along a friend and show the car at a park or shopping center if you're uncomfortable with someone coming to your home (of course, your address will be on the vehicle registration).

Remember, buyers will also be evaluating you to see if you're trustworthy about your description of your car. Answer their questions openly and provide documentation whenever possible. If they want to test-drive the car, ride along so you can answer questions about the car's history. If they want their mechanic to inspect the car, agree to meet them at the mechanic's shop so you can answer any questions that may arise.

Negotiate a fair price
You're trying to get a fair price. Buyers are trying to get a good deal. Once negotiations begin, you should be ready with counter-offers and strive for a reasonable win-win situation. Basically, it's a good idea to keep to your asking price when you first put up your car for sale. If you don't get any buyers, you'll know to be more flexible in the price. If someone wants to negotiate the price by phone or e-mail, just tell them to come see the car first before you discuss the price (unless the buyer is willing to pay your asking price).

Once a deal has been struck, ask for payment in cash or by a cashier's check issued by a local and reputable financial institution. Be sure to finalize the sale by completing all transfer of ownership requirements with your state motor vehicles department.

Good luck on selling your vehicle!


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