10 tips to protect yourself when selling a car privately?


Posted by: Joshua-Philip Okeafor

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You may decide to sell your car by yourself. But ask, how do you protect yourself when selling a car privately? This guide takes you through ABC. Read on!


When it comes to selling a car, many people are just concerned about one issue: the asking price! Vehicles are sometimes sold or traded so that we can purchase new vehicles or raise a little more money on a vehicle that is no longer in service.

The asking price is significant, but it is not the most critical aspect. It's best to consider all of the options to keep yourself safe during the auction before ever considering the selling price of a vehicle. So, that being said, how do you protect yourself when selling a car privately?


Protect yourself- we don't mean only the physical way though

While it's good to believe that selling a vehicle is all straightforward and easy, the fact is that there are crucial precautions that need to be implemented to guarantee the safety of both the buyers and sellers. And we don't mean just the tips and tricks to buy a car during the Coronavirus epidemic. Risk should be recognized in any case in which sensitive information is exchanged. These are the ways to minimize risk:

1. Have a family member or friend aware of the situation

The first step in defending yourself when selling your vehicle is to keep a friend or family member (or several friends and family members) updated at all times. Perhaps you have a partner or best friend with whom you can interact during the whole process, just let them know what's going on.


Two heads are better than one - safer too!

2. Don't offer prospective customers your personal details.

Another solution to safeguard yourself when selling a vehicle is to make sure you don't offer prospective customers any confidential info. When screening prospective customers, it's crucial not to give away any details other than the bare minimum if you've put an ad for sale on billboards or blogs, or even if you've only advertised the sale by word of mouth with friends and relatives.

Instead of handing out your personal phone number, set up an online cell number to use, such as with Google Voice. Setting up a separate email only for the sale is also a smart idea.

Many people who aren't serious would most likely call also, so this makes this a very good way to go.


That's a no-no, don't share anything personal with those you don't know

3. Prospective customers should be pre-examined thoroughly

Take the time to properly check out your prospective customers to stop wasting your time (at the healthiest) and placing your life at risk (worst). This involves customers providing a general description of their person on the phone so that when you decide to see them, you know what they look like. Also other info such as full name, and how they intend to make payments for the car.

4. Be an honest and reliable dealer yourself

 Always be truthful and straightforward with the buyer at all times. Don't sugarcoat the extent of damage to the car. This is not only unethical in most countries, but it's also a quick way to enrage the customer. If you see signs that scare you into selling your used car, be upfront about them.

At this point, telling the whole truth will help you escape any liability.


Don't fit into the dishonest car salesman stereotype

5. Always schedule meetings in a public location

Don't ever meet prospective customers at your place or at their residence, even though it seems necessary. If it's the first meeting to show the customer the car and let them test drive it or the last meeting to seal the deal, do have the meetings in a public venue.

Don't reveal your address to the customer or offer to greet them at their house. Often, never offer to pick up or drop off the customer at a separate venue.


Busy places usually offer some safety, but be careful even here

6. To meet prospective clients, take a family member or friend along

It's a good idea to have a friend or family member with you while approaching prospective clients in a public venue (or maybe multiple friends or family members). Knowing that you will not be facing a customer alone greatly enhances the transaction's protection.

Make sure you inform the customer that you will be taking someone with you to the meeting before you speak with them. This will also deter buyers with nefarious intentions (unfortunately, it happens).

You can either drive your family member or friend to the rendezvous point with you or separately; only make sure you are with them before connecting with the potential buyer.


Bringing a chum along for the ride is really smart

7. During the test drive, ensure safety

You're still in a nice, comfortable spot for the test drive if you're in a public area with a family member or friend. There are, however, additional things that can be done to ensure your safety.

First, double-check that the test drive on your vehicle is covered by your insurers. The easiest way to do this is to contact the insurance company directly, clarify the case, and inquire about coverage.

Supposing you're covered, get a photo of the prospective buyer's driver's license before allowing them into the car. Taking a snapshot of the front and back of the driver's license on your phone will suffice. You may want to double this by requesting a secondary ID card.

8. When closing the deal, use financial safeguards

It can be frustrating for a customer to fork over their money and hope to obtain a working vehicle. But it's also stressful for you, the seller, to negotiate the financial waters of a car transaction, and find out you've been scammed.

First, determine which payment options you can consider. Accepting personal tests is a bad idea because you never know if they'll clear. A bank or cashier's check is a safe method to embrace when you know the customer has the money.

If you and the customer decide to use a car escrow service or account, ensure it's legit. Scammers are creating phoney automobile escrow accounts in order to steal money. Escape this by conducting a thorough analysis of the firm, probably contacting the right government regulatory body, and possibly contacting the company directly.

It's best to consider how to keep both you and your customer secure while the deal is being finalized.

9. Personal records should be removed from the car and on all paperwork

Make sure no sensitive private information remains when handing over the car or other paperwork to the customer. One decent first resort, for instance, is to sweep out the whole car, including the glove box, to ensure that no personal documents remain in the vehicle.

If you give the customer the car's service history (which is normal with private sales), make sure all of your personal details are removed. In the documents, there should be no names, credit card details, mobile numbers, or other private details. The safest course of action is to ensure you have made copies of the documents, and then use a marker to cross them out where it’s about you.


Make sure you are completely separated from the car officially

>>> Check out the mistakes I made:  Crap! How I spent 4 months selling a car and the avoidable mistakes I made

10. To escape liability in the future, maintain a paper trail.

Ultimately, maintain a paper trail of the whole transaction from the beginning to the end, with critical aspects placed at the end, after the sale is final, to prevent any liability. Often double-check that all transition documentation is finished and that your name is excluded from everything no matter how indirectly connected to the vehicle, including the insurance policies.

Check out the video below for car selling secrets!

Secret to Success Selling Cars

Final thoughts

If you didn't know the answer to: how do you protect yourself when selling a car privately? We are sure that's no longer the case. While it can be intimidating to consider selling your car personally, the fact is that it is also a profitable method of disposing of a vehicle.

However, it is important to remain safe and secure. You'll guarantee a quick, effective sale method for yourself if you adhere to the steps in this Naijauto guide.

>>> Enjoyed this? You can get other auto buying and selling tips here

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Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Joshua-Philip Okeafor

Car buying & selling

Joshua, or KK as friends call him, is a Filmmaker, Writer and Director. A Christian, Joshua is a product of Nigeria’s foremost film school, the National Film Institute, Jos, where he majored in Writing/Directing. Joshua began his writing career at age 18 when an older brother gave him a four page outline of a children novel. Joshua intends to keep writing and directing. His screen name is sometimes Joshua Kalu Ephraim (Writing), and sometimes Joshua KK (directing).

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