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Selling a Vehicle Privately?

Old 01-26-2010, 10:12 AM
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Default Selling a Vehicle Privately?

Being relatively new to the US I have never sold a motor vehicle privately here and want to hear your tips on how to do this safely and legally.

I am not talking about where to advertise, or how to negotiate the price, but more along the lines of how to deal with test drives and then how to do the transfer of ownership and registration legally and safely to ensure I am covered.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by rat_catcher View Post
Being relatively new to the US I have never sold a motor vehicle privately here and want to hear your tips on how to do this safely and legally.

I am not talking about where to advertise, or how to negotiate the price, but more along the lines of how to deal with test drives and then how to do the transfer of ownership and registration legally and safely to ensure I am covered.

Make sure the car you are selling is insured.

Make sure the person looking to buy has a valid drivers lic. (Write down the full lic. #'s and make sure the photo matches the person)

Go with them on any and all test drives and also leave only the minimum amount of gas in the car. (If things go bad they will have to stop and get gas allowing police a chance to catch up.

Depending on how much you want for the sale ask for cash only as checks, even bank checks can be fakes.

On the back of the title is all the instructions for signing over the car, odometer reading, sellers signs here, buyer signs here, sale price, etc.

Or you can go to the DMV together and they will assist you.

Remove your old plates, turn them in and get a reciept.

You don't have to be a jerk but don't be overly friendly, this is a business transaction, your not making friends. No favors unless it's maybe a ride to the DMV and it works for you.

If you don't mind me asking, where are you from? Keep in mind that there are many illegals in your area and many have fake documents, I have a friend in Santa Rosa that sells cars and he tells me stories all the time.

Best of luck.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:41 AM
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good advice from 08087.

as an alternative to cash...if i'm buying a $12,000 car, i can tell you i ain't showing up at a stranger's house with that much cash...you can arrange to meet the buyer at his/her bank...a local branch...and have the bank cut the check while you are there.

also note that many states have a minimum time requriement for you to turn in your old tags...i think it's 48 or 72 hours in maryland, for example. you can be fined for any delay.

you may also be required to carry the insurance until AFTER you turn in your tags...this, again, varies by state.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
If you don't mind me asking, where are you from? Keep in mind that there are many illegals in your area and many have fake documents, I have a friend in Santa Rosa that sells cars and he tells me stories all the time.
I am from Australia. Wife is natural born and kids are dual citizens. Lived here from 2000 to 2004 and again from 2008 to now. We were back in Australia for a bit due to my work.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:48 AM
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Thanks 08087 some good stuff here. I wouldn't have thought about keeping the gas low for test drives.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
Keep in mind that there are many illegals in your area and many have fake documents......
So how do I deal with this?
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:51 AM
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Originally Posted by happyjack92 View Post
as an alternative to cash...if i'm buying a $12,000 car, i can tell you i ain't showing up at a stranger's house with that much cash...you can arrange to meet the buyer at his/her bank...a local branch...and have the bank cut the check while you are there.
Good idea. I am thinking of needing to stay away from cash as well, but do understand bank checks can be forged.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by rat_catcher View Post
So how do I deal with this?

I don't know about a California lic. but in NJ we look for water marks and imiges that will appear as you tilt your lic. one way or another. Basicly if you have a Califonia lic. make sure it matches yours.

If you are using your Ozzy lic. as a trusted co-worker if you could see what there's looks like.

The advise you got from HappyJack is also very good, (Going to the bank to "WATCH THEM DRAW THE CHECK"). If the car has that much value you'd want to be careful that his buddy won't be waiting around the corner to hold you up!!! (Stranger things happen)
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
If you are using your Ozzy lic. as a trusted co-worker if you could see what there's looks like.
No I have a Ca license and have done since we got here in 2000. Funny story but even though I had been driving for many years in Australia I still had to do a written and practical test in California.

So I pass the written no problem and go out for the practical test and in Ca there is an "above the line" section and a "below the line" section. Any mistakes below the line is cause for immediate failure and suspension of the test.

So I did the whole test and pull back into the DMV and the tester says to me that he sees I can obviously drive, but I made a mistake below the line and he really should have failed me on the spot. Given I was a bit older than the usual driving student and I could obviously drive he passed me anyway.

BUT....the one mistake I made in the test that should have been an immediate failure was that I was speeding the whole way! haha

I had no idea that the limit in a residential area was only 25mph. It just seems so slow to me! I was doing 35mph the whole way.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
I don't know about a California lic. but in NJ we look for water marks and imiges that will appear as you tilt your lic. one way or another. Basicly if you have a Califonia lic. make sure it matches yours.
When I go through airport security they shine a UV light on the license, so there must be some sort of watermark on it.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by rat_catcher View Post

I had no idea that the limit in a residential area was only 25mph. It just seems so slow to me! I was doing 35mph the whole way.

When I was going for mine I was 17 and it was snowing, we had 3" on the gorund and the instructor kept saying "Speed it up kid". I was doing the speed limit of 25MPH and told him so. He turned and said, "Do you know how bored I am doing this same course every day?"

I pushed it to 35 and got him back, he stamped my card then I told him. "If you'd have simply said you passed lets go back you'd have gotten the same result".

Good story from you. Best of luck selling the car.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:12 AM
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If concluding a sale on a weekend when banks aren't open, arrange to meet at an office (such as a real estate office) where you can do the deal and get the Bill of Sale witnessed and Notarized. Cash talks on weekends.

If during the week, a bank-to-bank wire transfer will be the safest for all parties. The receiving bank (yours, in this case) can hold the transfer until the end of the day; giving you and buyer the chance to meet there and conduct business; after which the wire gets deposited into your account.

Once I sold a Porsche to a young stockbroker and he went with a test drive with me. Upon returning he asked about getting his mechanic to do the final inspection. Seemed reasonable and I expected a quick sale, so I let him take the car to his mechanic. Do Not ever do this. He instead went out partying and we didn't find the car until the wee hours of the morning. Police with NOT pursue a stolen vehicle report if you gave the driver the keys, by the way.

Yes, his boss did get a visit and, yes, he got fired.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by happyjack92 View Post

as an alternative to cash...if i'm buying a $12,000 car, i can tell you i ain't showing up at a stranger's house with that much cash...you can arrange to meet the buyer at his/her bank...a local branch...and have the bank cut the check while you are there.
When I sold my wife's car that is exactly what we did. Made for a very smooth and confident transaction. Lots of good advice so far!
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:24 PM
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Liability should be a concern here too. The title should be fully transferred before you drop insurance, your state has this info. If your payment is good, don't let them drive off with the title in hand.
Its on you should an accident happen during a test drive and there are plenty of scammers with insurance I have sold a few cars privately over the years and would say a test drive will not make or break the sale. In other words this should be the last concern of a real buyer. Good Luck.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:37 PM
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I've added a disclaimer on my bill of sale that as of the date/time of the signatures, the buyer acknowledges that HE owns the vehicle and will be responsible for any and all liability for the vehicle.

I sold my daughters car years ago, had the cops come to my house. The buyer never registered it in his name, so the gubment assumed we still owned it. Had the bill of sale which protected us. No problem, but we're still small town.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by billinstuart View Post
I've added a disclaimer on my bill of sale that as of the date/time of the signatures, the buyer acknowledges that HE owns the vehicle and will be responsible for any and all liability for the vehicle.
Talking about a bill of sale, are there any samples anywhere that I can use?
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Old 01-27-2010, 06:10 AM
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I made mine up. I don't know California laws and practices so I can't help you. BE CAREFUL!
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Old 02-03-2010, 10:29 PM
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Gone, done, sold!

I posted on Craigslist on Saturday. I priced it exactly at the KBB valuation. Had a call Sunday. He came to test drive Monday. Made me an offer Tuesday which was only $970 less than my asking. I accepted the offer and we did all the paperwork. His funds came through today and he has driven off in the vehicle this evening.

Very easy, but maybe I just got lucky!

BTW other than the buyer, I had 6 other people call that were interested.

Thanks everybody for the help and suggestions. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:36 AM
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I've sold several cars over the years and never had a problem, so I'd say luck didn't factor in so much as you taking the time and doing it right.

Good luck with the replacement and your welcome!
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Old 02-04-2010, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 08087 View Post
Good luck with the replacement...............
No replacement. Just downsizing to one vehicle due to shrinkage of income!
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