Figuring out how to sell your car online comes with a lot of questions. Will you find a trustworthy buyer? Will you get a good return for your car? Did you spell “Hyundai” right? It’s enough to make anyone give up and start driving around with a price scribbled on the back of their car. That worked once, right? 

Put those markers down and stop wishing — KSL Cars is here to save the day. With 3.3 million users in 2020, KSL Cars is the largest and most trusted way for local sellers to get cash for their vehicles. And with this handy seller checklist, you can save some stress and leave it all to the list. Follow these instructions to make sure you’ve done everything properly before watching your car drive off into the sunset. It all starts with everyone’s favorite step … 

Paperwork 

Whoa, whoa, whoa — don’t get too excited there! You don’t want to get all amped up and make a mistake on that bill of sale. Oh no, did the kids hear you say “bill of sale”? Now they’re all riled up too. Yes, there is some prep work to be done before selling your car online. But crossing those t’s and dotting those i’s will ensure that you sell your used car as smoothly as possible and ultimately get the return you want. 

Get an Inspection 

First things first — take your car to a trusted mechanic to give it a good look over. This gives you an idea of any problems you need to fix before selling, and provides more necessary context when pricing your vehicle. 

Do Some Market Research

Take a look online at cars with the same make, model and year and see what prices they’re going for. Take into account the mileage and condition of your car when comparing. Kelley Blue Book and National Automobile Dealers Association values are important as well, as banks will usually use them to evaluate a buyer’s loan. You can also use the search filters on KSL Cars to find cars with nearly identical characteristics and see what those competing vehicles are priced at. 

Set an Asking Price

With a good idea of your car’s condition and a detailed look at similar models in the local market, you can now set your asking price. Keep your motivation for selling in mind when valuing your car. Are you set on cashing in? Stand pat on your price. Trying to get the keys in someone else’s hands as fast as possible? Consider coming down a bit. In all cases, be realistic with your expectations. It’ll be easiest for you and the buyer if you’re not playing games. 

Review State Requirements

Depending on the state in which you're selling your car there will be different requirements and responsibilities. Make sure you’re prepared by checking your state’s site.

Gather All Necessary Documents

This includes the vehicle title, a bill of sale and an odometer disclosure in nearly all cases. It may also include maintenance records, the current registration, a vehicle history report or other documents that might be requested by the buyer. 

  • Bill of sale: Utah, Idaho
  • Odometer disclosure: Utah, Idaho (part of the Release of Liability). 
  • Application for duplicate title: Utah, Idaho.

Cleaning Up

Wow, is this a car seller checklist or a guide to the best day ever? If you hate cleaning (how could anyone?), try making it more fun by pretending you’re Xhibit on an episode of “Pimp My Ride.” This strategy works doubly well if your prospective buyer requested a hot tub in the trunk. 

Remove All Personal Items

The first step in the makeover process is to remove everything from your car. That means trash, sunglasses, maps, jackets, cords, chargers, CD binders (you still have a CD binder?) and anything else that may be laying around. Think you’ve got it all? Be sure to check everywhere, including: 

  • Center console
  • Glove compartment
  • Visor storage
  • Seatback pockets
  • Underneath seats
  • Trunk/cargo area

Do a Deep Clean

Give your car a shower at the local car wash, clean any surfaces inside that might be dirty and vacuum as much as possible. Don’t have a vacuum? Head down to the gas station with enough quarters to make your pants sag and your pockets jingle — you don’t want to lose a potential sale because of some passenger side Pringles. 

Remove Your License Plates

Removing your license plates before transferring ownership is a no-brainer, but be sure to do so before you take pictures for your listing. When it comes to protecting your personal info on the internet, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Hang onto your license plates after you remove them as well, either to transfer to another vehicle or to properly surrender to the DMV. 

Take (Good) Pictures

“That’s it baby, you’re beautiful! You’re a star!” you might say as you snap pic after pic of your 2003 Toyota Corolla. But when you’re done with your fictional fashion week photoshoot, follow our instructions to make sure your listing generates as much interest as possible and portrays your car in the best possible light (which is indirect and natural, by the way). 

  • Use only original photos (no stock photos)
  • Shoot photos right before sunrise or after sunset for the most flattering light
  • Include a ¾-angle exterior shot 
  • Include an interior view of the cabin
  • Include closeups of various parts, even those that aren’t in perfect condition
  • Optimize all images for mobile
  • Be transparent about any scrapes or dents

Saying Goodbye

All good things must come to an end. You can only shake out the floor mats so many times before you have to admit it’s time to finally list your car. “Don’t cry because it’s over,” etc. When you’re done reminiscing on all the miles you’ve had with Car-y Bradshaw, head on over to KSL Cars and get your ride in front of the area’s largest collection of local buyers.

List Your Car on KSL Cars

As you’re creating your listing, try to make your description as personal and unique as possible. A good write-up not only helps your car stand out amidst a sea of stock descriptors, but also demonstrates an inherent trust in you as a seller. Tell your car’s story, what you love about it and why you’re selling it. Check out our guides for adding a listing on mobile and desktop

Stay Scam Aware

Practice safety throughout the selling process. When meeting potential buyers, make sure to do so in a public location. Try and find a busy parking lot in a location that’s convenient for the two of you. Bring along a friend or family member, or share your location with one if they can’t make it. When weeding out the legit buyers from those who might not have your best interests at heart, it’s best to go with your gut — if something sounds like a scam, it likely is. Review our list of common scam practices so you can be sure you’re only meeting up with trustworthy buyers. 

Verify Payment 

Even when you think you’ve found the most trustworthy buyer imaginable, it’s a good idea to verify payment. It’s not common, but little old ladies can scam too. If the buyer is using a cashier’s check or money order, confirm the authenticity with the issuing financial institution, and never accept any type of payment for more than the asking price. If the buyer wants to use cash, pick up a counterfeit detector pen to ensure that the money is legit. These pens can be found at most office supply stores. 

Execute Required Documents 

Remember all those handy dandy documents from earlier? It’s their time to shine. Gather the title, bill of sale and odometer disclosure to sign, submit and transfer as required. Be sure to hand over any additional documents, like maintenance history, vehicle history reports and warranty information (if applicable and transferrable) to the new owner, and report the sale to the Division of Motor Vehicles. 

After the Sale

You’ll probably want to watch the new driver slowly pull away while you play “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day and feel a single tear gently roll down your cheek. As you should. But when that’s over, you’ve got just a few more things to do. 

Make Appropriate Cancellations/Transfers

Make sure you aren’t paying for any continuing services on your old car. That means insurance, electronic toll passes, radio subscriptions, in-vehicle safety/security systems or any other service attached to the vehicle.

Delete Your Listing or Mark It As “Sold” 

It may sound like this is a favor for KSL Cars. Trust us — this is a favor for yourself, unless you want ten calls a day asking if your car is still available. Who knows, maybe you’re a people person! 

Talk Loudly in Public About Your Positive KSL Cars Experience

“I’ve NEVER had an experience that amazing. If I were to sell another car again I would DEFINITELY use KSL Cars. Couldn’t recommend it enough. Yes, I had the large Diet Coke, thanks.”