TN Vehicle Owners: Tips for Selling Your Car Online

When selling your car, you are most likely looking to get the best sales price, whether you are trading it into a dealership or selling it yourself to a private-party buyer. Typically, selling it yourself will get you the most money, but it takes a little more work. Regardless of your selling method, negotiation will be involved, and you’ll be able to turn down a bad offer. You can get the most out of your car by taking it step-by-step.

How to Sell

There are several ways to sell a car with varying pros and cons.

Dealer Trade-In

The easiest way to sell your car is simply to do a trade-in transaction with a dealership where you may be purchasing a new car from. Although this will not get you the most money, it could save you on sales tax. With a high-value trade-in, the savings can be significant. Be cautious in this exchange as some salespeople may try to confuse you by combining the price of your new car, your trade-in value, and the cost of your financing into one mix-up of numbers to overcharge you. It is best to treat each component as a separate negotiation.

Instant Cash Offer

This is a newer method of selling your car, which is much less of a hassle and can land you a reasonable price. Receiving an instant cash offer can be done online, over the phone, or at the dealership. By providing the VIN and other vehicle descriptions, an instant offer can be available. You will want to be as detailed and accurate as possible for a better chance of securing the initial offer you accept.

Selling It Yourself

Selling your car on your own may be able to get you the highest price, but you have to keep in mind it will take much more work. You will have to properly prepare the car for sale and gather years worth of records on your car. It will also take meetings with buyers and completing all of the sales documents.

Preparation for the Sale

Private party selling will require a well-documented service and repair history to get the best offers. Gather as many of the service documents as possible to show potential buyers. Proof of repairs by a reputable shop can reduce buyer uncertainty, and showing the initial purchase documents may also boost the price. The fewer people who have owned it typically equals more value.

These records are not as crucial for a trade-in or an instant cash offer, but people still might ask for them, so it is helpful to have them handy. If you owe money on the car, contact your lender to get the title to the vehicle.

Vehicle Prep

You will most likely have to conduct a vehicle inspection or smog compliance certificate before a sale. With any type of sale, first impression matters. Give your vehicle a thorough wash, wax, and vacuum out the interior. You want to create a car that others can imagine as their own, so be sure to remove any personal items. Depending on your car’s age and value, you may want to fix some minor cosmetic damage such as dings or scratches. It is common to put a few hundred dollars in to get the vehicle up to par for selling.

Set the Right Price

Your asking price should be high enough to allow room for negotiation, but low enough to entice potential buyers. The price must be comparable to what other similar cars are going for in the market to get attention and sell faster. You can use online vehicle valuation tools for insight into local car value. For a private-party sale, there should be a middle ground price. If you are setting a price significantly above or below the average in the marketplace, be prepared to explain why.


There are a number of online sites that you can use for free to advertise the sale, such as Craigslist. There is little to no delay in publication, and you can include a detailed description of the vehicle. Share as many high-quality photos of your car as you can (being cautious of not exposing personal information such as your home address or license plate). Let buyers know what forms of payment you would accept and your availability for showings.

The Paperwork

Check with the DMV to determine what title and registration documentation are needed. You may need to complete mileage disclosure, liability release, title transfer forms, and sign off on the vehicle’s title. Be sure to inform your auto insurer of any vehicle status updated so you don’t have a coverage gap.

About Barnes Insurance Agency

At Barnes Insurance Agency, we specialize in vacation home rental insurance to ensure the protection of your property and assets. We strive to offer customizable solutions to meet your specific needs. For more information, contact us today at (866) 733-5424.



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