Who wants to sell his car, has two options: private or sell to a dealer. The private sale usually brings more money, but is based on trust. Only if both sides are convinced, one comes together with the business. In the article you will read about how to properly prepare your car for sale and what legal issues sellers need to consider.

The new car is at the door, now the old car is gone. There are two ways to do this: selling to a car or used car dealer and selling to private. At the dealer you get rid of the car faster, but must count on discounts against the desired price. Finally, the dealer must also calculate so that he can make a profit on resale: For the actual purchase price come for example still life, TÜV and the statutory defect liability. In particular, dealers who offer their services by card behind the windscreen wiper or at the driver’s door, usually try to push the price because of alleged defects massively.

How to prepare your car for sale

If you sell your car privately, you can usually get a higher sale price. But you have to do something for it. In this case, if you make an effort in the preparation, gets more for his used.

Determine a realistic price

First, you should try to find a realistic price for your used car. If it is too high, you will not find a prospect, and if you lose a dumping price you will lose cash. For example, Deutsche AutomobilTreuhand (DAT) provides a rough guide to what your car is worth. The DAT is now also accessible online, but only takes into account simple series models up to the age of 12 years. Also optional extras or regional price differences are irrelevant. In order to get a better price idea for the own model, one should compare the corresponding offers on on-line automobile stock exchanges like autoscout24.de, mobile.de or pkw.de.

For an exact value, the DAT provides experts who then assess the car individually. Independent experts can also be found at TÜV, Dekra and the ADAC. As a rule, the examiners not only determine the value, but also check the condition of the vehicle. For potential buyers, a corresponding certificate shows that the vehicle complies with the very demanding standards in terms of quality and safety. In any case, you will receive a valuation report, which you should also mention in your sales announcement.

The vehicle should be in good condition before being sold

If the inspection results in minor defects, you should have them corrected. You can also remove minor scratches by using a so-called Smart Repair Kit . If the next main inspection is pending, it is usually worth the time and the HU before the sale. On the other hand, larger repairs and repairs do not pay off: here you put money into it, without the value rising sharply. Even if there are no defects and no inspection is pending, you should definitely:

  • Check oil and water level
  • Check lighting (front and rear side, interior and trunk, dashboard)
  • Set tire pressure to manufacturer’s specifications

Clean the car from outside and inside

What many car salesmen forget: Especially with sales to private technology does not play the most important role. More important is the appearance of the used car. Because if the car looks good, the owner will have taken care of his car in technical matters – so at least the mindset of many buyers. Because: Would you trust someone who offers a completely dirty car? Therefore, you should be aware: A freshly washed and polished car makes sometimes a greater impression than a particularly extravagant special equipment. But also the interior you should bring in:

  • Remove all personal belongings from the car.
  • Empty glove compartment, side pockets and trunk.
  • Do not forget the dirt in the ashtray and other garbage containers.
  • Suck off mats and seats thoroughly.
  • Use a damp cloth to wipe all surfaces, especially the dashboard and steering wheel.
  • Clean the rearview mirror.

How to remove unpleasant odors

Dirty in the car is not only unpleasant, but also pulls down the price. As a rule, the nasty smells come from dropped crumbs, spilled coffee, juice or – particularly penetrating – milk residues, which were ignored over a longer period of time. Therefore, one gets rid of such exhalations only with a thorough cleaning large:

  • Knock the floor mats and vacuum
  • Scrub upholstery with a light soapy solution
  • Wipe the dashboard and steering wheel with a damp cloth

Occasionally, a clogged pollen filter also provides disturbing scents. This should then be changed. If the air conditioner causes the stench, it is usually due to the evaporator. In this case, the moisture could not escape completely, in the remaining water increased bacteria or other microorganisms. Experts recommend that you move the vehicle over a longer distance and turn off the air conditioning 5 to 10 minutes before you leave. Then runs only the fan, evaporates the residual moisture.

For stubborn odors, especially nicotine , even thorough cleaning does not help anymore. Then you should let the professional run. It treats the interior with ozone, which thereby regains the typical new car smell. The method has the advantage that no potentially allergenic chemicals are used. However, with ozone treatment only organic matter can be removed. Once the Piña Colada flavor, which has been exuded by the Wunderbaum for years, has been fixed, the specialists are powerless too.

How do I remove pet hair?

Before the sale you should necessarily remove hair from the dog and cat. This not only makes the interior or trunk look more appealing. It also prevents unpleasant odors. It is usually not enough to simply suck the hair out. They can usually be removed completely only with a special animal hair attachment for the vacuum cleaner . An alternative is to use rubber or upholstery brushes from specialist retailers. With short, circular movements, the hair collects into a ball that can be collected. If you can not remove the pet hair yourself, there is also professional help for this.

How can I best advertise my used car?

Most used car sales today are handled via the Internet. The easiest way to present your car on one of the popular online automotive exchanges . The market leaders include autoscout24.de, mobile.de and pkw.de. Also the used car market places of autobild.de or auto-motor-und-sport.de are frequently visited. The vehicle data can be entered via an online form:

  • Master data such as first registration, mileage or fuel type
  • Information such as capacity, engine power and transmission
  • Details of the vehicle equipment

Online automotive exchanges are often free of charge compared to ads in the daily newspaper and reach millions of potential customers. Therefore, they are usually the first choice for normal used cars. In contrast, collector’s items or well-kept rarities can usually be sold more easily via an ad in a special interest magazine or via a specialized online platform. The ad is usually charged.

The important thing is to describe your car as accurately as possible . List all the extras that your vehicle can score with: aluminum wheels, roof boxes, multimedia system and so on. Of course, the most important extras are high on the list. But do not forget to list the standard equipment. Some buyers are irritated when information about ABS, ESP, power windows and the like are missing. You do not need to mention usual signs of wear and tear, but you must name defects . If the car has a full service history , this information should be included in the advertisement. Buyers usually reward this item as a vote of confidence.

Present your car from the most beautiful side, but stay honest

Even when selling cars, the old truism of advertising applies: drums are part of the craft. Therefore, you should definitely enrich your ad with beautiful pictures of your car. The taboo is to run around with the smartphone around the vehicle and simply upload the snapshots. Keep your existing family member appropriately in scene, but do not conceal small scratches and rockfalls. Potential buyers who have come from far away usually react very ill-tempered when such important details have been intentionally withheld.

In addition to full and detail shots , you can also show the background of some photos. If the car stands in front of a garage, this shows the viewer that the vehicle was standing in the dry. To present your used one from his chocolate side, the following tips are helpful:

  • The best perspective: fender is in front left, wheels are slightly turned to the right.
  • Freshly washed and polished, the paint shines particularly impressively.
  • Photos of the interior you should shoot only after you have cleaned up there thoroughly.
  • A clean engine compartment shows that you took good care of the machine.
  • Dog and cat hair have lost nothing in the trunk.
  • Be open and honest and show any scratches.
  • Upload too many rather than too few photos.

How to sell your car to the right person

Someone has responded to your ad? Congratulations! But the car is not sold yet, so you should still be careful. If a prospective customer answers by e-mail and asks for a call back under a 0190 number, you should ignore this. Because behind it hides only a scam mesh, with which you should be cashed. Interest in the car never existed. Even with potential buyers who accept the price immediately, but do not want to visit the car, caution is advised. Other scams are according to the website sicherer-autokauf.de:

  • Repair Scams
  • Vehicle delivery to third parties
  • check fraud
  • Demand of digital documents
  • Notary on advance payment
  • Purchase by e-mail confirmation
  • insurance fraud

Define a price floor before the viewing date

Most buyers want to visit the car they are interested in. This is perfectly normal, but many take the opportunity to negotiate the purchase price . No argument is too bad for that. Especially the gray zone between (normal) wear and (noticeable) deficiencies offers enough incentive (and sometimes possibilities) to push the price. So set a minimum price for yourself before the visit, which you definitely want to get. An effective strategy is the Wish-Want-Walk negotiation

  • Wish: Your desired price, like well above the market value. If the buyer accepts this price, you can be happy.
  • Want: A realistic estimate of the reasonable price that could be negotiated.
  • Walk: Your minimum price, everything below is unacceptable to you. You will stick to it throughout the entire appointment. Do not be pressured by aggressive remarks such as “Now I’m driving the long distance to you”.

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Even as a salesman, you should bring an accompanying person to the viewing appointment

The core process consists of a few steps that can be easily understood by both sides: First, buyers or sellers send out an offer, then the buyer deposits the purchase price with the partner bank. Only on site, he finally releases the payment , whereupon he can take the car. Even those who sell their car, benefits from the simplified money transfer: He immediately receives his money. And thanks to cashless payment, he does not have to check whether banknotes are counterfeits, nor does he have to store large sums at home.

Which documents should I bring with me to the viewing appointment?

  • registration certificate
  • Maintenance / checkbook
  • Documents about installations and conversions
  • Evidence of repairs
  • operation manual

Show identification documents before the test drive

That the potential buyer would like to make a test drive, you should be happy: Finally, shows your counterpart continues to interest in your car. However, at this stage, there are some rules of the game that both sides should follow. Before starting your journey, have both your ID card and driver’s license displayed and check both ID documents carefully. Because without identity papers there is no insurance protection! The actual test drive should the prospective buyer – if possible – not perform alone, you should always take place in the passenger seat.

If the prospective buyer causes an accident during the test drive, he is also liable for the damage incurred. Since only a few want to take out insurance for the short drive, they can be exempted from liability in the test drive agreement. If the vehicle is still approved for you, your insurance coverage will continue while you are driving. If you are insured as a single driver, you should contact your insurance company in advance to see if the protection can be extended for a short time. Important for a fully comprehensive insurance: In the test drive agreement, make sure that the buyer assumes both the deductible and the additional costs should the owner be upgraded after an accident.

Insist on a written purchase agreement and exclude material defect liability

The modalities of the purchase contract act as a seller with the buyer. Important: All agreements should always be fixed in writing , so there is no dispute afterwards. Only in this form can you exclude the statutory defect liability . Otherwise, you must have defects repaired within the next 12 months at your expense. Therefore, the clause “private sale without warranty” is in any case included in your purchase contract. Legislative-style phrases are – from a legal point of view – rather questionable.

If you have made certain additional guarantees or promises, you are liable for them despite general warranty exclusion. Even if the seller deliberately makes false statements or conceals accidental damage, the warranty remains unchanged. Such disputes quickly end in court, so it is advisable to take out a legal expenses insurance.

When paying, cash is the top priority

If you offer your car on the Internet, you are usually facing strangers. But even when selling to colleagues, acquaintances and distant relatives applies: Only bares is true! You only hand over the keys and vehicle documents once you have received the full purchase price in cash. All other forms of payment should be excluded: no promissory notes, no later transfers, no credit cards and certainly no partial or installment payments. The possibility of making down payments should also not be allowed. It would be conceivable only a down payment in advance, if the buyer transfers the remaining amount in cash at the pickup.

After the sale, inform the registration office and insurance

Ideally, the car is no longer registered at the time of sale. Then you pay no car insurance and no tax. In addition, you can no longer be prosecuted if the new owner is flashed on the way home or causes an accident. To move the vehicle, the new owner needs a temporary license plate. For this he must prove by means of eVB number at the registration office that he has taken out insurance.

On the other hand, if you sell a registered car, the buyer must sign the commitment to re-register the vehicle within 7 days. If he lives in the same registration district, he can continue to use the old license plates. In addition, you should record the date and time of sale in the sales contract. If something happens in the meantime, you can later prove that the vehicle no longer belonged to you from that point on.

In any case, you should nevertheless immediately inform your local registration office and your insurance company about the fact that you have successfully sold your car. For this, the so-called sale notice is sufficient. It contains information such as the name and ID number of the buyer as well as the confirmation that the buyer has received the papers and the registration number of the vehicle.

Conclusion: Stay patient at car sales and get more money

If you want to sell your old car, you do not have to become a used car dealer. The sale privately to private is possible, but requires a little more preparation and patience. Because if you leave enough time to find a serious prospect, you do not have to sell the vehicle below value. You should also prepare the car carefully. Most car buyers are not car experts, but want the certainty that the previous owner took good care of his car. This means that cars that are clean inside and out bring more money. Even with price negotiations you should not be put under pressure. If the buyer remains below your minimum price, you can break off the negotiations with a clear conscience.