Five Things you need to know about selling your car privately

'Be honest' and other tips from the private-sale experts

  • Private sale

Thinking of selling your car privately? More than one million used vehicles change ownership in Ontario every year and in many cases, the buyers and sellers deal with each other directly.

So what’s involved? In addition to ensuring that the car is in good working order and having your mechanic sign off on its saleable condition, there are a few other things to consider when readying for a private sale, including how to market your car to get the best price.

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?Provide as much detail as possible within the ad, such as features included, history of the vehicle and its condition,? recommends Chris Harris of Kijiji Canada. ?Be honest; don’t be afraid to say the car is scratched or the interior is worn ? the buyer will see this when they come to inspect the car.?
Here are some other tips from Harris, as well as other For Sale By Owner? experts:

1. Write thorough titles and include detailed descriptions. Include important facts such as make, model, year, colour and price in your title to encourage people to read your full ad. Be sure to note any extras or upgrades that are included with the car? winter tires, recent repairs, new tires, performance upgrades, or extra parts. For some buyers, knowing the extras ? even the little ones ? will make a big difference.

2. Include quality images. Don?t use stock pictures or photos from another website; interested buyers want to see the actual vehicle. Think about good lighting, close-ups, different angles and clarity. Include photos of the interior as well as the exterior. Use all the picture space that you have access to ? if there are spots for 10 pictures you should take and use 10 pictures. Serious buyers will look at all the pictures you provide.?

3. Provide clear conditions of sale. What form of payment do you prefer (cash or certified cheque)? When is full payment expected? Is the price negotiable? Are test drives or having another mechanical inspection options before final payment??

4. Give the car a thorough cleaning. Mark Shannon, president of Fine Details, recommends giving the interior a comprehensive clean, focusing on all the plastics, vinyls, and windows, and giving the carpets and seats a shampooing. An important but often overlooked detail is an engine shampoo. According to Shannon, it removes all the dirt, grease, grime, and salt, before a high-gloss dressing is applied. Lastly, Shannon suggests having any light scratches or scuffs removed from the exterior paint and then applying a wax or paint sealant which will give your car a shining restored look.

5. Be aware of what documentation you are required to provide at the time of the sale. According to provincial law, sellers must provide buyers with a Used Vehicle Information Package, which includes: a description of the vehicle, including the VIN, plate number, year and make, model, colour, body type, cylinders, power status, and brand; Ontario vehicle registration history; odometer information; outstanding debts (link to liens) on the vehicle; wholesale and retail values for the vehicle’s model and year, if available; retail sales tax requirements; bill of sale; and tips on vehicle safety standards inspections.

By Jess Davidson for

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