Selling a Car Privately? Watch Out for These Risks and Hassles

If you decide to sell a car privately, it’s important to know everything the process involves. Often, the entire experience can end up in a great deal of wasted time, high-stress levels, and a poor outcome.

At We Want Your Car WA, we take the guesswork and stress out of private car sales by handling the entire process for you. However, if you are set on selling a car privately, we want you to be prepared and safe.

What to Know Before Selling a Car Privately

Here, we’ll cover what to expect when selling a car privately and why the stress and hassle of the process may not be worth it.

1. Be Ready for a Significant Time Commitment

One of the biggest stresses of private car sales is the immense amount of time and effort required. When selling a car privately, expect to handle:

  • Research on what the car is worth and how to price it competitively
  • Advertising
  • Buyer inquiries (likely multiple ones per day, filled with questions and requests)
  • Paperwork
  • Setting up meetings with potential buyers to see the vehicle
  • Setting up inspections or test drives
  • Potential scammers
  • Performing background checks on potential buyers

When responding to a prospective buyer’s inquiries, be prepared to answer questions such as:

  • Why are you selling?
  • What is the vehicle’s mileage?
  • Does it need any work?
  • What condition is it in?
  • Is the price flexible?
  • How many owners has the vehicle had?

Even after all this work, there is no guarantee your vehicle will sell. You may complete the entire process, only to find out a buyer is backing out or doesn’t have the necessary cash.

2. Expect Unreliable Buyers

Here’s a common scenario in private car sales:

  • A buyer sends multiple inquiries, asks a lot of questions, and seems genuinely interested in buying your vehicle
  • The buyer asks to set up a time to see the vehicle
  • You take time out of your day to meet up with the buyer, show them the vehicle, answer more questions, and let them take it for a test drive
  • You get the car professionally inspected at their request
  • Suddenly, the buyer no longer responds to your messages and is not going to buy the vehicle

Yes, this happens – and surprisingly often. Private buyers are often watching several vehicles at a time to keep their options open and may express a great deal of interest in your vehicle before suddenly disappearing.

3. Prepare for the Risks of the Test Drive

If you do find a promising buyer, the risk of the test drive kicks in.

  • What if they get in an accident?
  • What if they damage the vehicle?
  • What if they don’t come back?
  • What if something happens – does my insurance policy even provide coverage if another driver was behind the wheel?

Scheduling the test drive and allowing a potential buyer to drive your vehicle around can be nerve-wracking, risky, and downright stressful.

car selling tips

4. Watch Out for Scammers

Selling a car privately puts you at risk of getting scammed. When trying to sell a vehicle on your own, follow these tips to help avoid being scammed and stay safe:

  • Write down the individual’s contact info
  • Take a picture of their license
  • Perform a background check
  • Always trust your gut
  • Maintain a paper trail
  • If meeting up with a buyer, choose public areas (mall parking lot, bank parking lot, etc.)
  • Beware of fraudulent escrow services
  • Only hand the keys over once you have received payment
  • If a buyer wants to do a test drive, consider going along with them (better yet, also bring a trusted friend to join you)


5. Prepare for the Self-Described Auto Mechanics

When selling a car privately, there’s a good chance you’ll run into buyers that consider themselves mechanics. In these cases, watch out for an individual who asks oddly specific questions or acts overly knowledgeable in an attempt to talk you down on your price or rip you off completely.

6. Get Ready for Paperwork – Lots of It

If you are lucky enough to find a reliable buyer who is serious about purchasing your vehicle, now the real fun starts.

Paperwork. Paperwork. And more paperwork.

This is a crucial part of the process, and also one of the most tedious. You’ll need to make sure no details go overlooked and be prepared to transfer all necessary forms to the buyer.

7. You May Get Less Money Than Your Car Is Worth

To get the best price when selling a car privately, you’ll have to know how to negotiate. Along with needing a decent amount of knowledge about automobiles, you’ll also need to have experience negotiating.

If you price your vehicle too high, you’re at risk of it sitting for months and months without selling. If you get tired of the hassle of trying to sell your car online, you may accept an offer even if it wasn’t as much as you wanted.

Selling a car and getting a competitive price takes significant experience. Our experts know exactly how much your car is worth and can ensure you get the best price for it.

Ready to Sell Your Car? We Want Your Car WA Makes It Easy

If you aren’t sure you want to tackle the hard work and risks of selling a car privately, we’re here to help. Regardless of your vehicle’s make, model, year, miles, or condition – we can buy your car in Perth today!

We Want Your Car WA makes it as fast and easy as possible to sell your car for the best price. In 3 steps, you can have your car sold and money in your pocket:

  1. Free Valuation – Get a free, accurate price estimate by one of our expert evaluators (at no obligation to you)
  2. We Come to You – You say the time and place that works best for you and our dedicated buyer’s team will meet you there
  3. Same Day Payment – Once we sell your car, you get paid that very same day

Our experienced team is dedicated to assisting WA car owners in a straightforward, convenient, and trustworthy manner. Contact us today for a free quote so you can get started selling your vehicle the easy way.

Related Posts

Sign In