Selling A Car in Texas

Texans love to buy new cars (and trucks… especially trucks), so if you’ve got one to sell, you’re in luck! Selling a car in Texas by yourself is easy and you can do it with just a little bit of guidance.  Defensive Driving TX has your back!

Don’t know how to sell a car in Texas? Look no further that your friends with the #1 Defensive Driving course in Texas for assistance.  It’s what our friends do!

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It turns out that in a addition to defensive driving techniques, we know a thing or two about cars and how you buy and sell them.  It sort of comes with the territory. When all of your friends are Texans and neighbors, they figure out that you own a defensive driving Texas online course and that comes with expectations.  It turns out that when you know a lot about defensive driving, people also they expect you to know everything about cars too.

We’ve learned over the years.  Here are the things to know and all of the steps to selling a car in Texas.  Go get the most bang for your buck!

How to Sell a Car in Texas

Selling a Car in Texas - Forms

Although you could complete this step later, we recommend that one of the first things you do is make sure you have all the forms needed to sell your car right there in front of you. There are three forms you must have to sell a car in Texas:

  • Bill of Sale (or vehicle purchase agreement, preferably notarized)
    • This acts as a receipt for the vehicle and should, at the least, include the buyer’s and seller’s names and addresses, the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the car being sold, the selling price, and the date of the sale.
  • Vehicle Title (endorsed to transfer to the buyer)
  • Texas Motor Vehicle Transfer Notification

All of these forms, presented to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in order to report the sale to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), will ensure that you are no longer liable for any damages or, God forbid, crimes that are committed using the sold vehicle. Make sure you get the paperwork in pronto so that the car (and all the ensuing responsibilities for the car) are in the new owner’s name!

Tip: Don’t forget to hand over any warranties and maintenance records, and be extra sure to remove the car from your insurance policy after it’s sold!

Determining the Fair Market Value of Your Car

Before you sell your car, you’ll need to determine the fair market value of your car and whether or not the profit of your sale will be worth it. To determine the value of your car, check its current market value with one of the following online resources:

  • Autotrader.com
  • NADA Guides
  • Kelley Blue Book

If your car isn’t worth enough money to make the sale profitable, consider making it a trade-in, donating it, or recycling it!

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Car Insurance

According to Texas state law, a car MUST have car insurance it can be sold. You’ll save yourself a headache by checking that your vehicle is properly insured before you attempt to list it. This isn’t often a problem since, you know, you have to have insurance to drive in Texas; however, if you don’t drive often or if your insurance may have lapsed, do yourself a favor: figure out a way to insure your car BEFORE you sell!

List Your Vehicle Online

In order to sell your car, you’ll need to list it for sale in places where the most people will see it most easily. Usually, this means listing your car for sale online through ads with e-markets like Craigslist or eBay Motors. Such sites will often walk you through the process of creating an online flyer. You can, of course, put ads in local newspapers, on flyers you self-distribute, or in car or truck aficionado’s magazines such as Car and Driver. You can even advertise your car is for sale on the car itself by using car chalk to list your contact info and the asking price on the back windshield. However, the easiest form of advertising—and the one that will easily get your car the most exposure—is listing it for sale online. No matter what platform you use to advertise your car for sale, don’t forget nor underestimate the power of word of mouth. Tell everyone you know—friends, family, strangers in the street—that you’re selling your car. Often, this type of networking leads to some serious inquiries!

Note: To ensure your ad is effective, make sure you include the following information:

  • Asking price and whether or not this price is negotiable
  • Mileage
  • Maintenance records (a quick note on recent or needed repairs should do)
  • VIN
  • Number of previous owners
  • Condition
  • Vehicle history
  • Customizations

Clean Your Car and Take Quality Photos!

Before you make your ad, you’ll need to consider how to take flattering pictures of your car. The pictures you take are extremely important to how quickly and easily your car gets sold! Use a good camera with high resolution. Take your pictures during the day, but avoid heavy lens flares or glares from the car metal that may impede people’s ability to see details. The background of your ad is just as important as your car itself. Make sure that you choose a background that is clean, colorful, and appealing, such as at a park or in front of a well-kept house and lawn. Try to avoid having a cluttered or run-down background, as this will make your car, no matter the condition, appear uncared for. Finally, we almost hate to state the obvious, but we’d be remiss not to: you MUST clean your car (inside and out!) before you take pictures, and certainly before you show it to potential buyers.

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Tip: Do NOT try to hide scrapes, dings, or other imperfections. Instead, take pictures and list the defect. Believe it or not, this will increase your ability to sell the car because potential buyers will appreciate your honesty and will assume you are fulling disclosing what may be wrong with the car (as you should, considering it’s the ethical thing to do). They are far more likely to trust you and to buy the car if you’re honest up front, especially since they will certainly see the defect when they come to test drive it. Do the right thing!

How to Find Car Buyers

There are a lot of people that may be intrigued by your car, but do screen interested parties to determine the casual onlooker (or scammer!) from the serious buyer. To determine if a buyer is serious or not, we recommend asking the interested person for their full name and location. Anyone too far outside your area may be a scammer, though this is not always the case. Also, anyone unwilling to give you their name is suspect. Be sure to discuss forms of payment up front. We recommend you only accept cash and that you NEVER allow a payment plan! Anyone requesting a payment plan is often either naïve, cannot afford the car, or trying to scam you out of future payments. Anyone not willing to talk about price is probably not truly interested in buying the car.

Show Your Car and Negotiate Price

When you show your car, be sure to do so in a safe, public place. Don’t be afraid to talk up your car’s best features and use them as selling points! Be honest about your car’s defects, but don’t be shy about telling potential buyers all the things you love about the car. Always offer to let the potential buyer test drive the car (though we recommend holding onto something they brought with them as collateral, so they don’t take off with your car, or, better yet, test drive with them!). Then, when you find The One, the person who decides to buy your car, don’t be afraid to negotiate price (if you’re willing). Set your price higher than you hoped to receive if you plan to negotiate, and don’t hesitate to counter offer, especially low numbers. Remember, you’re not obligated to sell your car, so don’t let someone scare you into getting an unfairly low price!

Finish the Sale at the Bank

When you and the buyer have agreed on a price, we recommend that you meet at a bank to finish the transaction and hand over the keys, the car, and the title. We’d like to repeat: we recommend that you only take cash, although you can accept a check or money order if you must. We insist that, whatever form of payment you settle on, you meet AT THE BANK to accept the payment IN FULL from the buyer and have it immediately deposited into your account by your banker. This is the best way to prevent fraud!

And there you have it! Your car is sold, you’ve got money in your pocket, more room in your driveway, and a reason to celebrate (and maybe to get a new car)!

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