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How To Stay Safe When Buying or Selling A Used Vehicle

When it was time for me to sell my first car, my excitement was swiftly overridden with anxiety. I had dreamed of upgrading my car for years, but now that the moment was here it felt so far out of reach. I didn’t know the first thing about selling a car. I wanted a newer vehicle and I knew this meant that it was important to sell my current vehicle for the most I possibly could.

My other big motivation? Stay safe. As a woman in my mid-twenties, I knew I could be a potential target for scams, robbery or worse. I didn’t want to be taken advantage of and I definitely didn’t want to be in a situation that made me feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

I weighed my options.

I could go to a dealership. This could save me some time and hassle, but walking in already confused about the process made me feel uneasy. Would I be taken advantage of and walk away selling my car for a lower price than I really wanted? Did I feel like dealing with the typical pushy used car salesman? Would I feel good about the whole thing in the end? My gut said no.

I could sell it privately. This route would take more time and work. It would also allow me to negotiate a price that I felt really good about and sell my car without any hidden costs. It also meant I would be able to reach a lot more potential buyers that were avoiding dealerships for the same reason I was. This felt better. I decided to go for it.

Once my car was listed on Craigslist, I began to get calls from interested buyers. As I sifted through an inbox full of strangers, that familiar anxiety bubbled up again. My head swirled with questions. What should I do now? How can I stay safe while giving a total stranger a fair chance to check out my car? What about the money part? What if they don’t have cash and I have to navigate other means of payment? What if it’s a scam? What if they drive off with my car during a so-called test drive?

All in all, my experience ended very positively — not only did I get paid what I wanted for my car, the exchange went off without a hitch. Whether you are buying a car that is new-to-you or selling your car, the following guidelines will keep you safe and sane while navigating the process of transferring a used vehicle.

Thoroughly Vet Potential Buyers

  • Talk to every potential buyer or seller on the phone.
  • If someone refuses to call you, move on to the next person.
  • If someone makes you feel uncomfortable on the phone, simply hang up.
  • Ask lots of questions to make sure the buyer or seller is serious. Ask specific questions about the car, the condition, and why the person is buying or selling.
  • Don’t be overly eager to get through the process. Be cautious with buyers or sellers that are overly aggressive with negotiating or rushing you through questions.

Meet on Neutral Ground

  • Never meet a potential buyer or seller at your own home or at their home.
  • Meet in a neutral public location like a parking lot.
  • Meet during the day.
  • Bring someone with you to the meeting. You are much less likely to be harmed with someone else present.

Take a Safe Test Drive

  • Only schedule a test drive with serious buyers or sellers that you have been able to talk to on the phone.
  • Ask who will be coming to the test drive and be wary of evasive answers.
  • Ask the potential buyer or seller for a copy or photo of their drivers license and if possible, leave it with a third party.
  • Have someone come along on the test ride. If this isn’t possible, make sure to tell someone where you are going, who you are meeting, and where you met them.
  • Keep your cell phone with you. Don’t leave your wallet or keep any valuables in the car.
  • Sellers should accompany the potential buyer on the ride. Keep the ride short and drive through populated areas.

Negotiate and Sell Safely

  • Never drive the potential buyer or seller to another location. Have them make their own arrangements and meet you there.
  • Have all paperwork ready beforehand and do not sign anything until you have payment.
  • Do not show the money, especially cash, until you are ready to buy.

What makes this whole process easier? FlipRide.

With FlipRide, you can send and receive money within minutes. As a buyer, I’m at ease knowing I’ll get paid for my car. As a seller, this means I don’t have to carry cash or make an extra trip to the bank for a loan. FlipRide brings financial peace of mind.

FlipRide will also transfer the car title and set up a Buyer Seller Agreement for you. Not only is the tedious paperwork taken care of, it’s documented and virtually effortless. There’s no standing in line at the bank with a stranger. There’s no hassle of finding and printing the documents you need. You won’t have to try to create your own written agreement. And what’s even better — all of this can be done from one free, easy-to-use app.

With FlipRide, you not only have transparency and clarity — you have security. Get started with FlipRide today. Who knows, you might be getting paid or driving a new set of wheels by tomorrow.