How to Sell a Car as Quickly as Possible: A Step by Step Guide

The average car owner will keep their car for seven years. Once it's time to sell a car, most people turn to online listings for a private sale. But that could take a matter of weeks.

Maybe you're about to move or need cash fast. Whatever is happening in your life, you know you want to sell your car as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you'll miss a time-sensitive window.

Take a deep breath. There are plenty of ways to make a sale in a matter of days, or even the same day. Learn how to sell a car fast with this step by step guide.

1. Research a Fair Price

You don't want to get taken for a ride when you sell your car. That's why it's important to know what your car is worth before you decide on a means of sale. Start your search with Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds.

You'll have to provide information about the make, model, and year of your vehicle, as well as its condition and mileage. Be fair in your own valuation. If you're getting rid of your car because of mechanical problems, then don't say it's in "good" condition.

With these two different values, you'll arrive at a ballpark estimate. Its fair market price likely rests somewhere in the middle.

Now that you've figured out an asking price, you need to do some soul-searching.

Are you okay with selling the car under its fair market value? How long do you want it to take? Let's look at some avenues to sell your car and see how these considerations affect the ultimate sale price.

2. Where and How to Sell a Car Fast

When most people want to sell a vehicle, they think about a car for sale by owner. Nowadays, this is usually done through online listings, such as Craigslist.

Want to know how to sell a car on Craigslist? A private online sale will likely net you close to its market value. However, a private sale can be anything but fast.

You'll have to fret over your online listing, take flattering photos, and deal with the awkward nature of screening callers and test drives.

Plus, you're stuck navigating the bureaucratic nightmare of selling a car. There are a variety of national and state laws you'll have to keep in mind. In general, this method will take a lot of work and time, and there's no guarantee you'll sell a car within a week or even a month.

So, what else is available? You could always sell to a dealership. A dealer isn't going to haggle with you, nor will they give you anything close to a fair price.

However, they'll buy it right then and there. Even better, a dealership has the network and experience necessary to deal with the paperwork. This option is only available if your car is in decent condition and you've got a popular model.

Is your car in bad shape? You can still find someone to get rid of it -- and fast. There are plenty of services across the country that will buy junk cars on the same day.

It's as easy as sending some basic information online and waiting for an in-person inspection. This is your best option if you're thinking, "I want to sell my car for cash today!"

3. Prepare Legal Documents

There's a lot of bureaucracy involved in selling a car. You'll have to play by all the rules to make a legal sale. Many of these rules vary from state to state.

But no matter where you live, you'll need your car title. This is sometimes referred to as a pink slip, though this document isn't always pink. It contains information about both you and your vehicle.

Unfortunately, you'll probably need more than the car title. Are you trying to sell a car with a lien? You'll have to discuss the details with the company that owns your vehicle.

Depending on where you live, you'll also have state-specific paperwork to bring along to the sale. You should be able to find this information on your state's DMV website.

Of course, if you choose to go through a dealership or a car buying service, they'll help you with the process.

4. Sign the Paperwork

Don't sign the car title until you're making the sale. Otherwise, someone could steal ownership of your vehicle. Read all the fine print for any documentation you sign, and ask questions if necessary.

If you're selling the car yourself, make sure you've done your research. There's a good chance the car buyer doesn't know anything more than you do, so if you forget something, it's on you.

Once you've sold the vehicle, you're not quite done. Contact your lienholder and inform them of the sale. They'll walk you through the remaining steps to pay off or transfer your loan.

Lastly, contact the DMV and inform them that you've sold the car. You should be able to perform this process online. Some states require you to return the license plates, while others request that you destroy them.

It's Time to Sell Your Car

Selling a car doesn't have to take forever. You know how to sell a car fast, whether you bring it to a dealership or use a car buying service. Stay away from the traditional option of online listings unless you have a car in great condition that you're willing to sell at a low price.

The car industry has changed. You should too. Make use of these new options to sell your car for cash today.

If you found this article helpful, search for more great advice across our blog.

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