How to Sell a Car "As Is"

Money falling over cars lined up

When you sell a car “as is,” it can be a great deal for you and the buyer, or it can be a looming problem for one or both of you. The keys to sell a car “as is” are to sell it knowledgeably, honestly and carefully. The following information explains how to prepare, market and sell a car just as you have it.

Clear Communication Is Key

The goal when you sell a car “as is” is to get the most money you can for the vehicle with the least amount of trouble in the sale. This begins with clear communication to prospective buyers.

First, know your car. You can sell a car as is much easier if you have your history of service records and a current knowledge of the car’s condition and possible defects.

Second, in any advertising, conversation, bill of sale or any other communication about the car, let potential buyers know up front that they are buying the car as is. If a prospective buyers wants to have the car checked by a mechanic, don’t balk. Your goal is the best price and the least trouble.

Price the Car Correctly

You must know the car’s make, model, year, mileage, condition and options. With this information you can compare your car to similar cars at dealers and for sale by owners and price yours competitively. Almost any car will sell eventually. If you’re not in a hurry, price it above market. If you want to move it, price it below market.

Be realistic. Compare your car to others most like it and expect to get a little bit less than average private-party asking price as opposed to dealer prices.

Advertise the Car Effectively

Your advertising can range from word of mouth to a paid advertisement, and many places in between. The more you expose it to potential buyers, the better chance you have to sell a car. Advertising to sell a car begins with telling friends and family and asking them to tell friends and family. Absolutely put a sign in the car window with an asking price and contact phone number. If allowed, use workplace and community bulletin boards. And, of course, take advantage of free online ads.

Remember, in every ad of any kind, you must make it clear you are selling the car as is.

Make the Car Look Its Best

There’s a reason auto dealers detail vehicles before trying to sell a car. A clean-looking car is more appealing. Take the time clean the car inside and out.

Outside, wash and wax the car. You’ll be amazed how much less noticeable small scratches or dints and dings are when a car’s exterior is spotless and shining.

Inside, carefully vacuum and spot clean carpets. Very carefully clean the dashboard, instruments and console. Clean out the glove compartment. To sell a car, make it look like it’s almost never been used.

Finally, set your radio to an easy listening station.

Carefully Close the Deal

Make certain your car’s title is clear, there are no outstanding citations that would stop a sale and that you have the title and required transfer paperwork from your state’s department of motor vehicles.

Accept only cash or a cashier’s check, and then provide a bill of sale. Be sure to include the words “Sold As Is” on the bill of sale.