If you’re about to buy a car, you’ve probably got a used one you’re ready to hand over to a new owner.
One option is to trade your current car in, but you can likely get more cash for it if you sell to a private party.
While selling it can bring in the better return, going this route means you have a few things to consider. One of those is safety. If you’re showing your car to strangers, you become vulnerable to unscrupulous individuals seeking to commit a crime.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce potential dangers. Here are four tips that will help you sell your car safely.
1. Screen Potential Buyers Before Agreeing to Meet with Them
Screen potential buyers with a phone call, and before meeting with an interested party, get the person’s phone number, name and address. Trust your intuition during the conversation.
After the call, use the information you’ve gathered on the potential buyer to do further research. An online search will let you know whether the name and address you’ve been given are genuine.
If someone says something during the call that raises suspicion or you uncover something that leads you to believe you’re dealing with a shady individual, don’t continue the interaction.
2. Meet in a Public Place
It’s certainly more convenient for you to meet with interested parties at your home. But that’s not a safe option, and it could leave you vulnerable to robbery.
Your best bet is to meet at a public place with lots of people. In addition to preventing strangers from having access to your home, a crowded venue likely will discourage criminals.
Good choices for meeting locations include coffee shops and cafes. Select a venue with a bustling parking area, because this is where much of your interaction with the prospective buyer will take place.
It’s best to avoid meeting with interested parties alone. If you’re able, get friends or family members to accompany you.
3. Take Precautions on the Test Drive
It’s natural for a prospective buyer to request a test drive. A test drive can place you, the seller, in a potentially dangerous situation, but you can mitigate the risks.
First, get a copy of the interested party’s driver’s license and leave it with a friend or family member before departing on the test drive. A quick picture with your smartphone should make it easy to share this information. If you’re unable to make a copy, document the person’s name, address, license number and date of birth, and leave the information with the third party you’ve selected. This will make it easier for the police to do their job if a crime occurs, and it could make criminals think twice.
Map the test drive beforehand. If you let the prospective buyer choose the route, it could put you at risk of being driven to a secluded location and robbed. Taking a short trip in a neighborhood you’re familiar with gives you greater control.
Avoid going on the test drive alone. Have a friend or family member join you. It’s also important to take your cell phone in case you need to seek help.
4. Be Cautious When Sharing Service Records
Once the test drive is over, the prospective buyer may want your car’s service records. When sharing this information, it’s important to remember that your vehicle is not the only possible target in a robbery. Many criminals engage in identity theft, and if you divulge too much when sharing the vehicle’s records with an individual, you could put yourself at risk.
When handing over documents, block out information such as your name and address. This will make it difficult for a thief to target you in an identity theft scam.
Better Safe Than Sorry
Selling your car privately is your best bet if you’re seeking to optimize your return. But you don’t want to risk your safety.
Following the tips we’ve recommended will help you orchestrate a smooth and safe sale.