Selling a car private market

Any advice from the hard knocks? I listed this thing on Craigslist & have already had a few bites.

What’s a secure way to transact? I suspect check writing is subject to bad/bounced checks.

Cash only.
I have bought and sold about 5-6 private seller.
Always dealt in cash.


How much are we talking about? Is there a lien? For me it is a risk assessment. I typically always deal in cash but I’m not buying or selling greater than $20K. Some people are more leery of dealing in just cash.

If your comfortable dealing in cash, then you need to have the buyer test out the car. Then agree on a price. Then meet at your bank or their bank. Preferably the bank that hold the lien (if applicable). If your at the bank you can do wire or have the banker take the cash and deposit in your account. While at the bank, they can notarize the bill of sale and title.

Don’t take check, cashiers check, etc. Cash or wire only. Also worthwhile to check your cash for counterfeit. Don’t do payments as you will certainly never get your money.

When I bought my used RV, I went shopping with $20K in cash. The one I ended up buying had a lien. The seller did not have the funds to payoff the lien, so we met the next business day at his bank. I gave the money to the banker, the seller had to withdraw some cash as he was upside down. His bank then wired the money to the finance company. I got copy of wire confirmation, the banker notarized the title and bill of sale, and the lien release was mailed directly to me.

I have bought and sold dozens of cars, trucks, motorcycles, and other equipment. I have always paid in cash or received payment in cash. I have my own bill of sale forms that I use (you can download then on the internet for your state for free). We fill out the info and exchange cash and get the paperwork notarized and done.

Get the buyers drivers license # and retain a copy of the bill of sale. If they fail to change the registration and cause an accident or incur tickets, you need proof when you sold it and who you sold it to. Don’t sell it to someone under 18.

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here is an example of my bill of sale

Blank bill of sale.pdf (568.1 KB)

Thanks for the info. Selling an old car for $5K or less. No lien.

Hasn’t been mentioned yet…keep your head on a swivel.

What are you selling?

I would also add get a counterfeit pen.

Cash or zelle.

The only advantage is a check is if it bounces. It’s normally a felony.

For small transactions on marketplace I will do venmo, but for cars it is cash only.

This wouldn’t work in brobbs case but I sold my 2012 Tacoma to Carmax for $3,000 more than the trade in offer. I did it online, got my offer and went to the store. I did have to wait about 45 minutes while they inspected the truck and cut the check. That seemed excessive at the time but I didn’t have to answer 15 calls, sit at home waiting to show the truck and they guy never shows up.

Happened close to where I live. Stuff like this can happen on occasion. The trial for the accused is just wrapping up now.

I’ve always had good results just putting it in my parents yard with a for sale sign, they have lots of traffic. You only get calls from people who are really interested in it. I list all relevant info so if they call, they already have most of the info. Then cash only.

I thought paper cash transactions were dead after all this banking regulation. My bank is an online credit union. Not sure what to do with $5,000 in folding cash.

Roulette table, all on red!

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Wesley Snipes says ‘always bet on black!’.

Wesley Snipes did federal prison time for tax evasion. I don’t take financial advice from him.

All of these apps will send you a 1099 if you exceed $600 per year. You likely don’t have any taxable gain from selling your personal vehicle unless you are selling it for a gain. I personally would not use these apps to receive funds because I don’t want to deal with 1099 nor having to retain documents to justify your basis of the things you sell.

Put it in the safe. I try to keep $10K in cash for any deals that popup. I bank at a small local bank that has terrible hours and its difficult to get there and take out cash on short notice. I had them increase my atm withdraw to $2,000 per day limit. The problem is that makes for a lot of $20’s.

I also discovered in a ice storm many years ago that knocked out the grid that cash is good to have on hand. It took out the power and the banks were not open, atm’s didn’t have power, local businesses had no internet and couldn’t process credit cards. Cash was the only way to transact.

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For a while, our bank (US Bank) would automatically insert $50 bills into withdrawals when the calc would work. So many people complained about that, so the bank now pops up a screen when you click withdrawal to indicate if one wants a mix or all $20 bills.

Wow, this is strange coming from a libertarian.

I bought my last used car for $7000 cash. The dealer did not blink and eye. He only has to report it if it is $10,000 or more.

Gosh, I purchase most stuff with cash. Government does not know what I spend my money on. Withdraw gobs of cash from the bank monthly to pay for all sorts of things. Often get a better deal that way. When I buy gold bullion, I buy a money order with cash. That way the gooberment will never know about my gold stash. Dealers aren’t required to track buyers.

Why wouldn’t you want the privacy that cash affords you? Soon it will be impossible under totalitarianism.

My Mexican tenant pays her rent each month in cash, which I lawfully report and stick in the bank. Gosh, so many of my patients pay cash. Went to a model train show last weekend and hardly anyone too plastic.