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Precautions to Take When Selling Your Car to a Private Party

One major reason more people don't try to sell their cars to a private party is due to the fear of inviting strangers over to check out their vehicle.

You hear stories in the news of people getting robbed and having their cars stolen after putting up a classified ad. While these things do happen, they are very unlikely and there are steps you can take to minimize the likelihood of this happening to you.

Use Your Gut Instinct

Your first line of defense is to use your gut instinct when communicating with the prospective buyer, either through email or phone. If something doesn't feel right, trust your instincts - there is no need to continue dealing with that person since there are plenty of other buyers in the market.

Meet in Public Places

If you live in a large apartment complex and the parking lot is outdoors and usually busy, it's usually fine to meet your prospects there. If you live in a single family home, it's best to meet up somewhere nearby such as a busy grocery store parking lot or mall.

Never go to an area you're not comfortable with and don't meet them at a place that they specify. Try to go only during the day, never at dusk or night.

Test Driving

This is a tricky issue. On one hand, you don't want to hand over your keys to a complete stranger and let them drive away in your car alone. On the other hand, you don't necessarily want to get into a car alone with a stranger.

On top of this, you don't know if they're a safe driver. People have been seriously injured or even killed during test drives, especially if your car is a high performance vehicle.

If you're comfortable letting them drive alone (they prefer that anyway), make sure you keep their current car keys and some sort of identification such as a credit card. Also make sure to check their driver's license and write down their license number.

If you would rather ride along on the test drive, you should try to bring someone along, preferably someone much larger than you. Either way, use some common sense and go with your gut.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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