How to Sell a Car With Sell My Car Online: 9 step Process

Selling your car online is a simple task, and it can be accomplished in 9 steps.

1. Prepare yourself for the process of selling a car online

It is important to make sure you are prepared for the responsibility of selling your car online. Selling your vehicle requires having all the proper documents, an accurate assessment of the vehicle and its condition, and the means to contact and research online car buyers. Other documents that are helpful to provide are the bill of sale, warranty, registration, driver’s license, or emissions test documentation. This can boost the sale price of your vehicle.

It is best to inspect your car for any broken or malfunctioning parts before putting it on the market. Vehicles that require little to no repairs will garner more attention online. This allows you to leverage offers and find the best price possible for your vehicle.

Another vital pre-selling task is to ensure you have the means to drop off the vehicle once it is sold. You should arrange for car buyers to pick up your vehicle if you cannot deliver it to them. Keep your car in an easy-to-access space if you plan on having it towed and removed.

2. Gather the vehicle title or get a replacement if possible

Vehicle sellers must have proof of ownership to sell a car online in any state. A vehicle title is usually required to sell your vehicle. A duplicate title must be obtained if you do not have access to the vehicle title, or if it is damaged. Duplicate titles can be obtained by reaching out to your city or town’s DMV and submitting an application. Applications are usually delivered online or in person and require a submission fee.

3. Document the vehicle's condition, mileage, and VIN

Vehicle sellers must document and store the essential details of the car they are selling, which include the car’s condition, mileage, and VIN. This information is crucial to relay to your potential buyers. It contributes to the legality of the sale and ensures the details on your proof of ownership documents match up. Car buyers will use this information to determine their cash offer for your car. It also helps car buyers find car insurance quotes, which have a large effect on whether they will purchase the vehicle.

4. Research online car buyers

Take the time to compile a list of local online car buyers. Online car buyers range from individuals and non-profit organizations to dealerships, auto shops, and junkyards. Make a shortlist of at least five car buyers to reach out to and their contact information. Only engage with car buyers that are reputable and friendly – considering offers from hasty, impatient buyers can result in an improper sale for an unsatisfactory price.

5. Solicit offers to sell your car online

Once you have a list of reputable online car buyers, you can start reaching out to the buyers to solicit offers for your vehicle. Give the car buyers all the important details of the car, such as the make, model, year, condition, mileage, and VIN. Include clear, detailed pictures to attract the best price for your vehicle.

6. Compare your offers

After receiving price quotes from your shortlist of car buyers, compare your offers and see which car buyers offer the best deal for your car. Car buyers that can pick up your car are preferable, as it saves you money on transportation and delivery costs.

7. Select an offer to sell your car online

When you have narrowed down the most profitable offer for your vehicle, you can reach out to the car buyer to initiate the sale. This is the time to solidify car removal options and verify the necessary documents for a legal sale. Vehicle sellers and buyers will also collaborate to discuss when payment will be delivered, or if it is necessary to initiate escrow proceedings.

8. Schedule a time to drop off the vehicle or have it removed

A vehicle buyer and seller should agree to a time a place of vehicle drop-off or removal. Ensure you have received payment for your vehicle, or that the car buyer will pay you at the time of drop-off or removal.

9. Complete the sale of your car online.

After you have completed all the previous steps, present your vehicle for pick-up or drop-off on the day of sale. Ensure all necessary legal documents are delivered electronically where applicable, or in person. Dispose of old license plates either through a recycling facility or by surrendering them to a local DMV office.

What Is Needed To Sell My Car Online?

To sell your car online, you must be able to readily provide proof of ownership. This document is usually the car title. Though some states may insist on having the title for a valid sale, other forms of proof of ownership are the registration or bill of sale, along with a valid driver’s license.

Who Buys Cars Online?

There are thousands of car buyers across the country who are looking to offer you top dollar for your vehicle. Online car buyers include individuals, dealerships, junkyards, auto shops, charities, digital car removal companies, and recycling facilities.

There are at least 5-10 local car buyers in your area looking to take your new, used, or decrepit vehicle off of your hands. By reaching out to multiple car buyers and comparing offers, you can leverage competition for your vehicle, bringing in the highest rates possible while having valid contingency buyers to fall back on.

When Should I Sell My Car Online?

You should sell your car online when you can receive the most money from the sale. You will notice it is time to sell your car when you need more space in your vehicle, if the car is old or decrepit, or if the vehicle is not performing to your standards. Try to sell your car before it has sustained any large amounts of damage or gained too much mileage.

When Would I Get Paid When I Sell My Car Online?

The timeline for getting paid when you sell your car online can vary. Many car sellers request payment upfront for the vehicle, before delivery or pick-up. The payment can either be in full, or a partial payment can be made up-front, with the remainder being paid at pick-up or delivery. Other car sellers and buyers agree to initiate payment in full on the day of pick-up or delivery.

Sellers and buyers can also choose to implement an escrow service to ensure a stress-free payment process. Escrow services serve as a payment verification method for sellers and buyers, reducing fraud and allowing for a brief inspection period before the sale finalizes.

Should I Sell My Car Online or In Person?

It is possible to sell your car online or in person, but if you’re looking for a seamless selling experience that offers flexibility and little

What Is The Best Site To Sell My Car Online?

There are plenty of sites for you to sell your car online. This includes third party selling sites like Carvana, Driveway, CarMax, or CarGurus. It is also possible to sell your vehicle on community boards, forums, and social media sites, such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.

There are also websites that assist you with selling your car by gathering potential buyers and generating competitive quotes for your car, like Sell My Car Online. This is a great option for those who need some extra help with the car-selling process, or who simply don’t have time to scour the internet for offers themselves.

What Do I Do After I Sell My Car Online?

After selling your car online, notify the DMV of the sale and cancel your registration and insurance. The vehicle title must be transferred to the new owner, so check with the car buyer and your local DMV that all the necessary paperwork has been filed. Keep an eye on your bank statements and make sure that the payment for the vehicle is processed efficiently.

Are There Any Fees Associated With Selling a Car Online?

Some platforms require a fee to sell your car on their website. It is best to reach out to car buyers independently if you want to avoid online listing fees. You will have to pay taxes on the sale of your vehicle, which varies from state to state. Selling your car online is one of the most affordable ways to find car buyers.

What Are The Benefits to Selling a Car Online?

The 3 main benefits of selling a car online include convenience, better pricing, and ease of use. The benefits of selling a car online are listed below.

  • Convenience: You can sell your car from the comfort of your home online or by phone.
  • Better Pricing: Get in front of more potential buyers which will result in more money.
  • Ease of Use: Online car selling platforms are generally easier to use than traditional methods.

What Are The Risks Of Selling My Car Online?

There are a few risks that come with selling your car online. First, you run the risk of interacting with car buyers that are looking to defraud you. Some car buyers may promise to pay you upon pick-up of the vehicle but could try to take your car without presenting cash. Second, listing your car online means tons of people have access to your personal information, such as phone number, full name, or address. This can lead to phishing attempts, which compromise the data on your device.

As long as you protect yourself from scams and do your research, it is 100% possible to have a safe and efficient transaction with car buyers. Verifying the identity of potential buyers and checking their forms of payment for any discrepancies are precautions that will save you a lot of trouble in the end.

How Do I Protect Myself When Selling My Car Online?

Though selling your car online comes with risks, there are ways to protect yourself during and after the sale of your vehicle.

  1. Screen Potential Buyers – Conduct a background check and require a copy of the car buyer’s identification before proceeding with the sale.
  2. Keep a Paper Trail – Offer receipts for the sale of your vehicle and keep a copy for your records. Keep a copy of your signed title as well.
  3. Notify the DMV of the Transaction – Reach out to your local DMV and cancel your car registration. Fill out a Vehicle Transfer form and submit it to the DMV as soon as possible. Surrender your plates to the DMV or recycle them accordingly.
  4. Conceal Personal Information – Blackout or cover any transferred documents that may have your personal info on them, such as an address, Social Security number, or credit card number.
  5. Consider Using a Trusted Escrow Service – Make sure any escrow service you use is Better Business Bureau accredited by checking the BBB website.

By following these few steps and taking some extra precautions, you can protect yourself from fraud and sale errors throughout the selling process.


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