Author Topic: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?  (Read 1986 times)

actionjackson

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Hi guys,

I'm trying to sell my wife's 2015 Corolla here in Texas. KBB says if I sell to dealer I'll get about $2k less than if I sell private. I've sold many cars privately in Australia for cash - I usually sign the title over to the buyer while they transfer the cash to my account online - so I can verify the transaction, and I feel comfortable doing that.

What do you/can you do in the US to ensure you don't get screwed if selling a car privately.

I'd really like to keep some of that $2k differential - just uncomfortable handling >$10k in cash or taking a personal check.

Thanks.

neo von retorch

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2017, 01:41:26 PM »
Always take a bank check in that case. In my most recent transaction, I exchanged a notarized bill of sale for a bank check - because I had to then pay off a loan and wait ~10 days for the bank to mail me the title. Then we went to the notary with the B.O.S. and title to finish the process.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2017, 07:58:54 PM by neo von retorch »

Ebrat

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 07:27:52 PM »
The couple times I've done it, I've met the buyer at their bank. They get a cashier's check for the purchase amount, and we swap the check and title at the bank.

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2017, 09:04:57 PM »
Hi guys,

I'm trying to sell my wife's 2015 Corolla here in Texas. KBB says if I sell to dealer I'll get about $2k less than if I sell private. I've sold many cars privately in Australia for cash - I usually sign the title over to the buyer while they transfer the cash to my account online - so I can verify the transaction, and I feel comfortable doing that.

What do you/can you do in the US to ensure you don't get screwed if selling a car privately.

I'd really like to keep some of that $2k differential - just uncomfortable handling >$10k in cash or taking a personal check.

Thanks.


It doesn't matter if I am buying or selling, for a private party to private party sale, the only I way I do business is to meet at the DMV (where I live, it is called the county clerk's office) and make the transfer there.

Buyer brings cash and his insurance company contact info (usually proof of insurance is necessary to transfer the vehicle). Seller brings the title and the vehicle.

Advantages:

Any title defects (liens or rebuilt) will be revealed at the DMV (you might have to ask).

No checks to bounce. Keep in mind, cashier's checks can be forged, and even genuine cashier's checks can have a stop payment issued for alleged lost or stolen checks.

No vehicle liability worries, car is transferred to the buyer immediately.

Disadvantages:

You might have to take a day off work

It can be a lot of cash to carry from or to the bank.
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lthenderson

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 08:39:54 AM »
The couple times I've done it, I've met the buyer at their bank. They get a cashier's check for the purchase amount, and we swap the check and title at the bank.

I do this but meet the buyer at my bank. Once the cashier's check is deposited in my account and the teller verifies it, I then sign the title and give it to them with the keys.

actionjackson

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 08:47:29 AM »
The couple times I've done it, I've met the buyer at their bank. They get a cashier's check for the purchase amount, and we swap the check and title at the bank.

I do this but meet the buyer at my bank. Once the cashier's check is deposited in my account and the teller verifies it, I then sign the title and give it to them with the keys.

That's a good way to do it.

Thanks everyone, for the tips! Anyone got any tips on which is the best place to advertise your vehicle for sale?

lthenderson

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 08:57:55 AM »
Anyone got any tips on which is the best place to advertise your vehicle for sale?

I know many say Craigslist and although I have sold vehicles listed on that website, it has lots of drawbacks. No matter what wording you use in your ad, you will get lots of non-serious people calling trying to score a deal. You will also get lots of people setting up appointments to see the car and not showing up.  It is a huge time sink. There are also lots of scam artists that make a living from Craigslist. I have much better luck stopping at your local automotive parts/repair shops and seeing what local automotive sales magazines/newspapers they have in their free racks and then advertising in them. It works just as well as Craigslist but without all the time commitment dealing with the riff raff trying to score a deal or never showing up. Those same shops generally have bulletin boards where people can tack up a flyer for free as well.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 09:04:50 AM »
Bank lobbies are known by everyone to be secure and even the dimwits know they are being recorded, so yeah, use one while they still exist.

MrsWolfeRN

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Our local police station has an area in the parking lot that is designated for Craigslist transactions. DMV is also a good idea so you can make sure the buyer actually transfers the title, so you don't have to deal with nuisances if they don't pay their parking tickets or something.

ysette9

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My husband has sold cars through Craigslist where he keeps the title unless the buyer pays in all cash or has a cashier's check. If the person provides a personal check then he writes up a sales agreement (2x) that all parties sign, and he mails in the title to the DMV once the check clears. This way if the check bounces he can report the car as stolen. Yes, that would be a pain in the butt, but it is a viable alternative.

I've trying to buy a used car on Craigslist now and it is a major pain in the butt because mechanics and banks seem to keep terrible hours. That means I basically only have Saturday mornings to check out cars if I wanted to complete a purchase. I would much rather do that sort of thing on a Sunday after having a day to decompress on my weekend. We need to drag these businesses into the current century in my opinion.
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Bruinguy

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2017, 06:38:50 PM »
You can also try AutoTrader.com for listing your vehicle.  It isn't free, but I found it to be useful.  Last time I tried Craigslist, I got 95% spam/scam response to 5% real interest.

Also helpful for pricing purposes is getting a quote from CarMax, if you have one nearby.  I find it useful information to confirm what the trade-in value really is from someone who is willing to put their money where their estimate is.  You can just walk in and get a quote, no need to fake interest in buying one from their lot. 

Snowboard junkie

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2017, 01:56:05 PM »
This might be a stupid question but can't you just do an email money transfer?  I'' not American but I would have expected it would be fairly easy. 

neo von retorch

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2017, 02:03:19 PM »
This might be a stupid question but can't you just do an email money transfer?  I'' not American but I would have expected it would be fairly easy.

Generally we don't like to do anything without notarized, concurrent exchange of value. An email money transfer (i.e. PayPal/Venmo) would basically be "just giving" someone money and hoping they give you a car in return. (If not, you might be able to fight it through the transfer broker, but that's not something you want to risk dealing with.)

Gibbelstein

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #13 on: March 24, 2017, 02:40:41 PM »
I recently sold my 2003 car with 150k miles to Carmax.  I found it to be a decent 1/2 way point between the speed of trade in and the better price of a private party sale.  Allegedly I could have sold for about $3k privately, dealer offered $1k trade, and Carmax gave me $2k for it on the spot.  The dealer didn't even try to compete. In fact, I drove to Carmax, sold the thing, and he picked me up to buy the new car.  They only sell newer cars on their site, but apparently most of their money is made by auctioning off older, and more well-used cars in their own auctions.

If you have the time/inclination, I suggest getting a quote from Carmax (which is good for 7 days), trying to sell it for more than that 7 days.  If nobody beats your carmax offer in 7 days, sell it to them and move on. 

actionjackson

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2017, 01:15:53 PM »
Thanks, yeah got quotes from Carmax etc. and tried to sell it privately. In the end went with a used dealer that was recommended to us through a friend, and got the best deal with them.

the_fella

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2017, 12:45:02 PM »
That's really not practical in the US. The majority of people don't have the ability to transfer funds instantly that way. Every time my mother has sold a car, she has refuse to accept any form of payment except cash. Money orders can be faked and checks will bounce. She also insists on going with them to the title office so that she can verify the title has been transferred to their name. She won't go through with the sale if they refuse. She has people in the past where she just signed the title, then they did some shit (tried to sell it, maybe?) and she got in trouble for it because it was technically still in her name because they didn't transfer the title.

Reynold

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2017, 02:48:34 PM »
That's really not practical in the US. The majority of people don't have the ability to transfer funds instantly that way. Every time my mother has sold a car, she has refuse to accept any form of payment except cash. Money orders can be faked and checks will bounce. She also insists on going with them to the title office so that she can verify the title has been transferred to their name. She won't go through with the sale if they refuse. She has people in the past where she just signed the title, then they did some shit (tried to sell it, maybe?) and she got in trouble for it because it was technically still in her name because they didn't transfer the title.

The DMV is also helpful if additional paperwork is needed; for example, in New York State, you cannot remove a car from your insurance unless they get a copy of a specific sales form from the DMV.  An example of what can happen if you don't make SURE title is transferred is from the failed 2010 New York Times Square bombing, the car used in that had been bought on Craigslist for cash a week or two earlier.  The buyer never transferred title, so the last registered owner was the college student who sold the car to the bomber.  She was completely innocent, and was able to provide the cell phone number for the buyer, but that was all the info she had about him.  Still, you would rather not have the FBI coming down on you because of what someone did with your car or, more realistically, an insurance company or ambulance chasing lawyer when it is in an accident. 

sequoia

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Re: Selling a car in the US - most secure way to carry out the transaction?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2017, 08:09:40 PM »
The couple times I've done it, I've met the buyer at their bank. They get a cashier's check for the purchase amount, and we swap the check and title at the bank.

I do this but meet the buyer at my bank. Once the cashier's check is deposited in my account and the teller verifies it, I then sign the title and give it to them with the keys.

We did exactly this when selling our car. We met at our bank, deposit the cashier's check, teller verified it. Then both us and the buyer went to DMV and sign the title. We also did the same when we bought our car. We met at the seller bank, deposit the funds, then went to DMV to sign the titles.