• filter:

Private vehicle sale question

  • Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
  • Search this Topic »
Voting History
rated:
I am planning to sell an old vehicle privately. State is WA if it matters. I will be placing an ad in craigslist and/or local classified ads. Price is likely to be less than 2k.

I am aware of the usual things:
-- complete the transaction in person.
-- make it a cash sale; exchange cash for keys and a signed bill of sale.
-- if accepting cashier's check make sure it is purchased in front of me at the branch.
-- sell it "as is"; no warranty.

Not having sold a vehicle privately, I have a few questions.

How do I handle someone wanting to take vehicle for a drive and/or have it checked out by a mechanic?
-- Do I just hand them the keys?
-- Go with them on a drive?
-- Insist that vehicle be inspected in my driveway?
-- Can I insist on checking prospective buyer's driver's license?
-- What happens if something (e.g., potential driver hits something/someone) happens during the test drive.

Any other important dos and don'ts to watch out for? Thanks for any input.
 

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Get yourself a carfax or autocheck report to show them its a good auto unless its not...

there cheap you can get one for ... (more)

johnnookum (Aug. 30, 2017 @ 4:08p) |

I've sold two cars for this price range in WA within the last 4 years and they both went very smoothly. I don't carry co... (more)

Corndogg (Aug. 31, 2017 @ 5:27a) |

Final Update:

I got a few inquiries for the car sale ad (including one who wanted it sight unseen and asked for address t... (more)

fwuser12 (Sep. 02, 2017 @ 1:05p) |

Staff Summary
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

rated:
I sold used car twice in WA.

- Yes, cash only, especially since it will be under $2k.
- Yes, go with them on drive, chose to meet in a school or shopping plaza parking lot. Direct them on test drive on a loop to limit wasting of time. Always make sure they bring driver's license. I didn't do this but I would also ask for driver's license # in communication.
- Limit your time exposure, put in ad and follow up to state that you are only available for test drive on XX day between X and Y hour.
- Print out two identical copies of bill of sales and both of you will sign and date both.
- make sure to go on WA Dol's site as soon as it's sold to report the sale to limit liability.

rated:
fwuser12 said:   How do I handle someone wanting to take vehicle for a drive and/or have it checked out by a mechanic?
-- Do I just hand them the keys?
-- Go with them on a drive?
-- Insist that vehicle be inspected in my driveway?
-- Can I insist on checking prospective buyer's driver's license?
-- What happens if something (e.g., potential driver hits something/someone) happens during the test drive.
 

Always go along for the test drive. Tell him you will take it to the mechanic of their choice if it's not too far away and you don't have to wait too long. Your insurance should cover liability if you gave him permission to drive, but if your car is damaged and you have no collision, you may be out of luck if he is at fault. You would have to sue him for the damages.

rated:
Nobody should be getting a mechanic to inspect a vehicle being sold for 2k. I've sold a few in that price range and never been asked.

rated:
2k may be just pocket change for FW'ers but for Craigslist buyers, is a lot of money. And not everybody is mechanically knowledgeable to evaluate the condition of a car.

rated:
I would just prioritize showing the car to buyers who don't insist on a mechanic's inspection. For $2K, you will likely find folks who won't want one.

rated:
BostonOne said:   I would just prioritize showing the car to buyers who don't insist on a mechanic's inspection. For $2K, you will likely find folks who won't want one.
  Well that would depend heavily on whether the car is actually worth $2K.

rated:
I've sold plenty of cars in this price range.  I just take a picture of their drivers license and ask them not to be gone too long.  People trying to steal cars ought to have bigger fish to fry.

rated:
Because nobody that would steal a car would ever get a fake ID.

rated:
I was on the other side of this not too long ago. I met the guy in front of his house. He came with me to test drive it, we took it to the dealer where he had all the work done on it. The dealer gave me the most recent invoices of what/when/etc. We then drove to the bank, I bought a cashiers check in front of him, had a notary watch and record us signing over title and bill of sale. I called my insurance company from bank parking lot, added the car to my policy. I drove him back to his place and we went our merry way.

Then again this was for about 18k, for 2k I probably wouldnt have dotted all my I's like I did for this much $$$.

rated:
jd2010 said:   I was on the other side of this not too long ago. I met the guy in front of his house. He came with me to test drive it, we took it to the dealer where he had all the work done on it. The dealer gave me the most recent invoices of what/when/etc. We then drove to the bank, I bought a cashiers check in front of him, had a notary watch and record us signing over title and bill of sale. I called my insurance company from bank parking lot, added the car to my policy. I drove him back to his place and we went our merry way.

Then again this was for about 18k, for 2k I probably wouldnt have dotted all my I's like I did for this much $$$.

  That was a pretty smooth transaction for an 18k vehicle.

rated:
I just sold a $7K vehicle. Buyer came to look at it. I gave them the Carfax plus copies of all the maintenance records. I drove him around in it and then we switched positions and he drove it.
At the end of the drive, he offered to pay the asking price. We signed two copies of a bill of sale and he made a nominal deposit. He came back a few days later with the cash to complete the purchase and I gave him the car.

rated:
I've sold a few cars to private parties.

I take a photo of their driver's license when they arrive. Then I let them test drive, but go along with them. I let them look under the hood or bring a mechanic friend. Don't know if I'd waste time waiting around at a mechanic unless it was for $10,000+ or the guy was paying top dollar.

Then I fill out & have them sign the bill of sale, and make a copy for them. I've also let people pay me a non-refundable deposit & I hold the car for them until they come with the rest of the cash to pick it up.

rated:
atikovi said:   Because nobody that would steal a car would ever get a fake ID.
A fake drivers license?  Seriously?  Somebody is going to get a fake drivers license to come to my house to test drive/steal a piece of shit $2,000 car while they leave their own car sitting in my driveway?  That just doesn't make any sense.  

rated:
BostonOne said:   At the end of the drive, he offered to pay the asking price. 
  That happens about as often as a total eclipse. You probably had a big ole celebration afterwards.

rated:
dcwilbur said:   
atikovi said:   Because nobody that would steal a car would ever get a fake ID.
A fake drivers license?  Seriously?  Somebody is going to get a fake drivers license to come to my house to test drive/steal a piece of shit $2,000 car while they leave their own car sitting in my driveway?  That just doesn't make any sense.  

  That's why I take a photo of their license plate and VIN as well.

rated:
atikovi said:   
BostonOne said:   At the end of the drive, he offered to pay the asking price. 
  That happens about as often as a total eclipse. You probably had a big ole celebration afterwards.

  
I did the same thing. Didn't negotiate over the phone because I knew it was about 2-3k under book value, actually had to pay taxes on the car based on book value which was about 2k higher. It had all the options I wanted which the book didn't take into account. Certain options just don't add to the retail value but it sells quicker. Anyway, it was in another state and I got a bank check from my bank, drove over there to check it out, I handed the check over and we did all the paperwork so I could take the paperwork back and get it registered and insured. I called Geico on my way back and had insurance added on the car. There were two keys so I took one key and the owner kept the other. I came back 3 days later with the registration and all the paperwork and got the other key and drove off. 

rated:
I've sold a car in the $6,000 range and let the guy drive it without going on the test drive with him. I just asked for his license and wrote down all his information. I probably wouldn't do that for every single guy that wanted to test drive my car, but I used common sense and could tell this guy would be fine. 15 min later, $5,500 cash exchanged, title signed over, took my plates off, and the sale was done.

If he had told me he was taking it to a mechanic, I would have been hesitant to let him. Not because of the amount of time it would have taken, but because there was all kinds of crap wrong with the car and he wouldn't have bought it for anywhere near my asking price, so might as well just say no thanks lol. I would think this would be even more true for a $2,000 car. If anyone wants to take your car to the mechanic, just politely decline.

rated:
DROP insurance immediatly when you sell it....you will not be liable for any accidents after the sale.

rated:
atikovi said:   
BostonOne said:   At the end of the drive, he offered to pay the asking price. 
  That happens about as often as a total eclipse. You probably had a big ole celebration afterwards.

I've had it happen for my last two sales.
For both cars, I've had a clean Carfax and all the maintenance records with up-to-date service. I detailed the cars and they looked fantastic inside & out. Since I use all-weather floor mats, I just swapped them out for the original (barely used) floor mats. One car had two owners on the title and one car had one. The first was priced between private party & dealer price, the second at dealer price. The second car was out of production and desirable for the right person, so I knew I could price it a little higher.
 

rated:
It isn't a big deal to take a car to a mechanic before buying it. I don't expect someone to take me at my word that it has never been totaled.

rated:
ZenNUTS said:   I sold used car twice in WA.

- Yes, cash only, especially since it will be under $2k.
- Yes, go with them on drive, chose to meet in a school or shopping plaza parking lot. Direct them on test drive on a loop to limit wasting of time. Always make sure they bring driver's license. I didn't do this but I would also ask for driver's license # in communication.
- Limit your time exposure, put in ad and follow up to state that you are only available for test drive on XX day between X and Y hour.
- Print out two identical copies of bill of sales and both of you will sign and date both.
- make sure to go on WA Dol's site as soon as it's sold to report the sale to limit liability.
 

I have a potential buyer and will likely complete the sale in 2-3 days. Some follow up questions about procedures specific to state of WA.

I do see the bill of sale form. I plan to complete that and have it signed by both buyer and seller (two copies, I retain one).
This is the only place the buyer signs, correct. One pesky issue: a parent will probably complete the physical transaction (cash in exchange for paper work, keys, vehicle). If signature of actual buyer is needed in the "bill of sale form", Do I need to insist on having the buyer in person (along with the parent) for this transaction?

Upon looking at the title, there is a place to sign off (along with date and sale price) and hand it over to the buyer. The text on the title reads:
"Legal owner: To release interest, sign below and give this title to the registered owner/transferee or to a vehicle licensing office with the proper fee within 10 days of satisfaction of the security interest, or you may be liable to the owner/transferee for penalties."
In addition to the bill of sale, I believe I need to hand over the title (with my signature). Is that correct?

Finally, I believe I should inform the dept. of licensing about the sale by filing the Vehicle Report of Sale form. This can also be done online.

rated:
fwuser12 said:   
Upon looking at the title, there is a place to sign off (along with date and sale price) and hand it over to the buyer. 

  There should also be a place on the title for the buyers name address and signature. 

rated:
You deal with whoever is signing the contract (bill of sale). If the kid is less than 18yo than s/he can't be that person.

yes, you hand over the signed title.

yes, you inform the DOL about the sale using the form. It's rather optional is my understanding but it's another thing that protect you from liability.

rated:
atikovi said:   
fwuser12 said:   
Upon looking at the title, there is a place to sign off (along with date and sale price) and hand it over to the buyer. 

  There should also be a place on the title for the buyers name address and signature. 

  Yes, I do see it for odometer disclosure. Both buyer and seller name/address/signature is needed.

rated:
ZenNUTS said:   You deal with whoever is signing the contract (bill of sale). If the kid is less than 18yo than s/he can't be that person.
 

I am sure the kid is above 18 and AFAIK it is going to be registered in kid's name. The parent mentioned coming over to complete the paperwork.

Bottom line, whatever name they want to register under should go on the bill of sale and that same person should sign the bill of sale, correct?

rated:
fwuser12 said:   
 The parent mentioned coming over to complete the paperwork. Bottom line, whatever name they want to register under should go on the bill of sale and that same person should sign the bill of sale, correct?

  Yes so if the kid won't be there I'd leave the signature line blank so he can sign later.

rated:
fwuser12 said:   
ZenNUTS said:   You deal with whoever is signing the contract (bill of sale). If the kid is less than 18yo than s/he can't be that person.
I am sure the kid is above 18 and AFAIK it is going to be registered in kid's name. The parent mentioned coming over to complete the paperwork.

Bottom line, whatever name they want to register under should go on the bill of sale and that same person should sign the bill of sale, correct?

  
Whoever hands you the cash should put their name on your paperwork. It doesn't matter to you who registers/titles the car. All that matters is that they hand you the cash. Your copy of the bill of sale doesn't matter for them when they register the car so just get the dad (or whoever hands you the money if they are 18) to sign it. Then you sign their copy and just hand it to them. Their copy doesn't matter to you so they can put whichever name on it they want.

rated:
Tell them you'll only agree to mobile inspection. They come to your house. Buyer pays.

And make sure to file the report of sale so you won't be held liable for anything the new owner does. I once sold a car and a year later received a bill from the city for $3000 cause the buyer never transferred ownership, got a bunch of tickets and abandoned it. I would have been on the hook had I not filed a release of liability. 

rated:
When I was selling a $1500 car 10+ years ago, I gave the keys to everyone who wanted to test drive without asking anything. One guy brought it to a mechanic and came to me with a list of problems (his mechanic said the 10+ year old car has the original oil filter, not changed at all! Though I had regular oil changes.) Instead of negotiating a better price, he said, "sorry I won't buy this" (I wonder what he was expecting from a $1500 car). I told every potential buyer that this is an old cheap Mazda, it can cause problems the moment you drive it, though it did not cause me any issues for 3 years I owned it, except a rubber belt change and horn issues. In the end, someone bought it and payed me with a personal check. She said she works for the government, and her check is good. I took it. And it was good check.

I probably would not do those risky things now. Maybe people were more honest at that time? Maybe I was more naive? I don't know.

rated:
Get yourself a carfax or autocheck report to show them its a good auto unless its not...

there cheap you can get one for couple bucks here : freecheapvin.com

rated:
I've sold two cars for this price range in WA within the last 4 years and they both went very smoothly. I don't carry comprehensive for a $2k vehicle so before meeting anyone, I'll get a temporary rider with no deductible just in case anything happens on a test drive. For $2k it's not worth my time driving it to their mechanic but if I was selling a higher priced car it'd be no problem.

I have a carfax printed out for them (since I'd usually have just recently bought a car) and a packet of receipts for repairs and oil changes. They check the VIN, title and registration and my driver's license to make sure the car's legit. I check their driver's license and go with them on test drive. This presents a good opportunity to discuss the car and verify any issues they might see or hear while driving. After an agreed on price, we sign the deed of sale and they count the cash and hand it to me, I recount it and hand them the keys.

Immediately after the sale, I go to the DMV and register the sale of the vehicle and remove the car from my insurance.

rated:
Final Update:

I got a few inquiries for the car sale ad (including one who wanted it sight unseen and asked for address to send me a cashiers check). Two came over to physically look at the car. I just handed over the keys for a test drive. One asked for a mechanic checkup; I agreed to it but they didn't end up doing it. Closed the deal with a cash payment. Followed the paper work based on forms in my state's website.

Big thank you to everyone who chimed in with advice and their personal experience.

  • Quick Reply:  Have something quick to contribute? Just reply below and you're done! hide Quick Reply
     
    Click here for full-featured reply.


Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017