Tips For Preparing Your Car For Sale

May 21, 2021

Larry Schleicher, General Manager, Auto House Phoenix

Getting a Car Ready To Sell

Getting a car ready to sell can be easy with a little prep. Here we’ll outline the things needed to sell a car, how to detail a car before selling, necessary documents for selling a car, and more. Whether you’re planning on selling your car privately, to a dealership or trading it in, a little preparation will help you get the best value for your vehicle. Here are some key tips from Larry Schleicher, General Manager of Auto House Phoenix, on preparing the documents for selling a car and getting a car ready to sell

Documents for Selling a Car 

Having the following relevant documents on hand can save any last minute scrambling when you have a buyer for your car. If you’re planning to sell to a dealer, you can skip steps 1, 4, 5, and 7.

  1. Vehicle History Report – get a copy yourself or include your vehicle identification number (VIN) in any ads so potential buyers can easily look up vehicle history
  2. Maintenance Records – the proof is in the paperwork, so gather these to show buyers you’ve maintained your car well—a key selling point.
  3. Warranty Documentation – a transferable warranty can help you get a better price.
  4. Documentation of Sale “As-Is” – this helps protect you during a private sale, in case something goes wrong with the car post-sale.
  5. Odometer Disclosure (required by law). The Arizona Department of Transportation has many templates available, along with detailed information on state and local laws.
  6. Vehicle Title – if you own your car outright, you should have the title in your possession, or you can easily request a copy from your bank or lender. If you’re still making payments on the car you’re trying to sell, or it’s leased, your title is in the hands of a lienholder, a.k.a. the bank. Contact the bank to find out the loan payoff amount.
  7. Bill of Sale – not a requirement, but it’s a good idea to have a Bill of Sale document the terms and conditions of the sale in writing.

Get free downloadable templates to make everything easy from or at ADOT.

Private Party Sale or Prepping for Sale to a Dealership

If you want to sell your car privately, it’s important to get your vehicle looking its best and make sure it’s running well. Vehicles that have been maintained with scheduled maintenance retain more of their value. If you’re planning to sell to a dealership or trade it in, you can skip the oil change along with steps 2 and 4 and just get down to business. As a Kelley Blue Book Buying Center, we’re able to give you an instant cash offer for your car by clicking here.

  1. Always detail the car before selling. Depending on the age and condition of your vehicle, this can be as simple as a good deep hand washing and waxing, cleaning up the interior and vacuuming well, plus an oil change and tire check.
  2. Take good pictures for all angles of the car and the interior to show off the features and condition.
  3. Get your documents together. 
  4. Place your ads.
  5. Sell your car. Don’t forget to include extra keys, fobs, or other accessories.
  6. Sign over the vehicle title on payment, and you’re done!

Want to detail your car like the pros? Check this detailed flowchart of the steps to take. 

When you want to sell your car, selling to a dealership can often make good sense, and it can also save you a lot of time. Most dealers should perform a complete safety inspection, change the oil, repair cosmetic issues to enhance the vehicle, and ensure that all components are in working order—all before selling any car. Dealers can perform the required maintenance and repairs, so you don’t have to worry about them. Just do a good clean and general detailing, including replacing burned out lights and topping off the fluids. These general steps will help your car make a good impression. This can help ensure you get top dollar, so you can safely leave the rest to the dealer. Of course, any major issues will lower the value of your car, but at Auto House, we buy cars in any condition.

At Auto House, we have buyers on-site at all times, and they can give you an offer and cut you a check on the spot, or you can get an instant quote online. The offer is good for seven days, so there’s no pressure. We can have you in and out in less than an hour, check in hand, or in a new ride. It’s your choice. We hope to see you soon at Auto House

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