Preparing to Conclude Your Vehicle Sale

The end of a vehicle listing means it's time for paperwork and planning

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You've listed your vehicle and seen the listing reach a successful conclusion. Now comes the hard partpreparing to bring off a sale fraught with potential risks and issues. Not only to you have to keep your buyer reassured and interested and make arrangements for payment and delivery; you've also got to navigate government bureaucracies and paperwork to ensure that all goes well on sale day and you're left without legal hassles after the fact.

Stick to the Terms

Some buyers think that they can win an auction or end a listing and then ask for adjustments in terms after the fact. Whatever happens after the listing has completed, don't change your mind about your basic terms and requirements for the sale.

Confirm Interest in a Sale

Don't just wait for things to "play out" once your listing is complete; remember that eBay Motors vehicle sales are non-binding. Instead, proactively contact your buyer and confirm that they are interested in completing the sale as per the finished listing. Remind them of the payment, pickup, and/or delivery terms and confirm that they are amenable to these. If you are no longer interested in completing the sale, inform your buyer immediately that this is the case and direct them to eBay's statement that Motors vehicle sales are non-binding so that they are less likely to create annoyances for you after you have backed out.

Confirm Once PayPal Deposit has been Received

After sending a PayPal deposit, buyers tend to get antsy; letting them know that you've received their deposit and are following through can help to allay any fears that they're about to be taken and make the rest of the transaction more pleasant. If you're no longer interested in completing the sale, log into PayPal, view the deposit payment, and click the "Refund" link to refund the deposit. Remember, once again, to let the buyer know that you're doing this and why.

Prepare Buyer for the Sale

Vehicle buyers are often a little lost with regard to what they need to do to complete a vehicle sale. If this is a vehicle that will require an active or temporary registration in order to be street-legal, remind them to begin attending to this paperwork with their own local government's motor vehicle division before the two of you meet. If your locality has similar requirements and your buyer plans to collect the vehicle from you and drive it back to their locality, be sure to direct them toward your motor vehicle division as well to clarify street legality requirements. Remind them, too, of payment requirements and to be prepared to complete the sale entirely on the appointed day.

Make Arrangements for Pickup and Delivery

Coordinate with your buyer about pickup and/or delivery arrangements. If possible, avoid meeting buyers at your place of residence, though they'll generally have access to this information via the vehicle title once you turn it over to them. Be sure to get a strong verbal confirmation that they intend to remove the vehicle from the premises on the appointed day, or make clear arrangements for when this is to happen so that you aren't faced with a quasi-abandoned vehicle somewhere on or near your property or residence for days or weeks as the buyer tries to come up with a transit plan.

Prepare for the Sale

Connect with your local motor vehicle division to know what you must do as a seller in order to properly sell the vehicle in question. Many locales require you to turn in your plates or face sanctions of various kinds (some severe) as well as to notify the motor vehicle division in some way of the sale, with documentation. Prepare a bill of sale (a Google search for "vehicle bill of sale" returns a large number of free candidate forms; select one that meets your DMV's requirements, if any). Finally, clean your personal belongings out of the vehicle so that you're not left weeks later pining away for the favorite CD or personal love letter that has forever been lost to another driver.

Exchange Contact Information

Be sure that you have a way to contact your buyer directly (i.e. by telephone or SMS) as you work to complete the sale, and that they are similarly able to contact you.

With everything in place, you're ready to actually do the deal. But things aren't necessarily as easy as 1-2-3 when it comes to selling a vehicle, even after both parties have agreed on a price and on a place and all of the legal-regulatory questions have been answered and prepared for. It's important to keep your wits about you and have a game plan for sale day, too.