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Car-Selling Tips

Six ways to unload your car without getting ripped off

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1. KNOW WHEN TO SELL
If you've got a specialty vehicle, consider the calendar—convertibles aren't hot items in January.  If you have an all-wheel drive, you may get a better price by unloading it just before winter.

2. CLEAN THE CAR
Washing, waxing, and vacuuming the car are an absolute must, but rid the vehicle of all your stuff and spring for a detailing, too. Top off any fluids, and get the oil changed if it's time.

3. RESEARCH THE PRICE
Plug your car's vitals into a site like Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com). Once you've determined your price, tack on an extra $500 so you have room to negotiate, says Jason Jager, spokesperson for Autotrader.com. And you're not a sleazy salesman, so skip the not-fooling-anyone "$12,995" ploy and go with round numbers.

4. PLACE AN AD
Web sites like Autotrader.com, Cars.com, and even eBay are the best spots to start—you can include pictures of the car, and it's easy for people to find you. Also, place a classified ad in your local paper and post a For Sale sign in your car window.

5. CHOOSE YOUR WORDS WISELY
Emphasize anything that will make your car unique, advises Jager. Phrases like "garage-kept," and "nonsmoker" can help quell the concerns of potential buyers, as can getting a vehicle history report from Carfax.com—and saying so in your listing.

6. MAKE IT LEGAL
Get a transfer-of-ownership form from your state's DMV Web site. Request your payment in cash or through a certified cashier's check, and make the transfer at a bank. As soon as the sale is final, immediately cancel your insurance policy.

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