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Prepping Your Used Vehicle for Sale

Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,890
edited March 15 in Honda
Share advice on what to fix or leave when preparing to trade in or sell your vehicle privately.

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  • Hi!!

    I have a 2004 Honda Accord LX V6 4DR Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A), silver with 28,500 miles. My dad bought it brand new in May 2004 and passed it onto me about 6 months ago. It is still in GREAT condition.

    However, the monthly payments have been too high for me, so I would like to sell it. And I would like to sell it privately.

    Of course, the car has not been fully paid off; I still owe around $12,500. Unfortunately, Honda will not release the title to me until the loan has been paid in full. Which makes it kind of a tricky situation to sell the car to a private party, since not many people would be willing to hand over $15,000 or more without a title...

    So.... What do I do??????????????

    By Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds standards, the car is worth around $16,000 to $18,000. I went to two dealers and Car Max last weekend and they were willing to give me around $14,500 - and that was after a lot of haggling with the dealers. So if I sold to a dealer, I'd lose out on at LEAST $1500 - $3500.

    So.... What do I do??????????????

    I did call my Credit Union to try to see if I could refinance (a few weeks back when I wanted to keep the car), and since I have good credit I can. Should I refinance it, so they pay off the car, and then get the title so I can sell it privately?

    Or is there another way to do this?

    HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    -Paul
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    OK - - I think you may be a little confused on a few things...

    YOU - "I did call my Credit Union to try to see if I could refinance (a few weeks back when I wanted to keep the car), and since I have good credit I can. Should I refinance it, so they pay off the car, and then get the title so I can sell it privately? "

    ME - If you refinance with your credit union, YOU DON'T GET THE TITLE. Your credit union gets the title, and they won't release it to you until they have been paid in full for the loan. However, if the interest rate is significantly better through your credit union, and it isn't going to cost you anything to refinance, you could go ahead and refinance the car to lower the payment for at least the remaining time you own it. Plus, if you find a buyer, you could have them meet you at your credit union to complete the transaction (call your credit union ahead, and tell them to have the title ready because you will be bringing a buyer in). You will probably have to have some paperwork notarized anyway, and your credit union likely has a notary on staff.

    Regarding the $16,000 - $18,000 Kelly BB value on your car - I am not an expert at car values, but the $18,000 neighborhood seems a little high to me. You should go over to the "Real World Trade In Values" forum and ask the experts there for both Trade-In, and Private Party values for your car. Often times, the values in some of the pricing guides are a little optomistic compared to what is happening in the real world. Again, I am not saying $16,000-$18,000 is definitely too high, I am just saying you should ask the experts in the other forum to validate those numbers for you. After all, if you are looking to get out of your payment, you want to have your car priced fairly so it will sell quickly.

    Lastly, I don't know what kind of a monthly payment you are looking to achieve, but talk to your credit union. See if they can offer you a lower interest rate, and refinance it for 4 years for you. Usually, I wouldn't reccomend doing this on a 3 year old car (remember the '07 models are out now), but it is a Honda (they hold their value well), and you do know the history behind it. You may look around at other cars, and find that you aren't going to get anything as nice as what you have for the payment you are looking for. You may also find that you are better off to refinance at a lower interest rate over 4 years, versus selling the car and buying something else.
  • cccompsoncccompson Posts: 2,388
    It's difficult to sell late model cars (even a popular model like yours) privately unless they are bargain priced. If you do end up selling it to Carmax, don't feel as though you've lost money. Rather, take comfort in knowing you got as much as you could.

    The title issue is simple. If paying cash, a private party buyer will give you a check made out to you and/or American Honda Finance. If the buyer is borrowing the funds, the buyer's lender can handle it.

    There's no need to fool with refinancing unless you're going to keep the vehicle.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Even though it's a Honda with good resale value, it is an oddball Honda. The LX's with V-6 engines are very slow sellers both as new and used cars.

    In over eleven years, I think I've maybe sold three of them.
  • [quote]The title issue is simple. If paying cash, a private party buyer will give you a check made out to you and/or American Honda Finance. If the buyer is borrowing the funds, the buyer's lender can handle it.[/quote]

    But... they're going to want to have something official saying they own the car right? And I heard the bill of sale is basically worthless... So basically it's like buying a car on faith alone.

    Also is the issue of... once they pay me, do I give them the keys and let them drive away? Or make them wait 4 weeks until the title comes in the mail...
  • >> If you refinance with your credit union, YOU DON'T GET THE TITLE.

    Oh, woops. Didn't know that.

    As for going in with my buyer, my credit union is actually in another state (where I went to school) and the payoff is to Honda (a website). Doh! Wish I could though, would make things much easier.

    >> Lastly, I don't know what kind of a monthly payment you are looking to achieve, but talk to your credit union. See if they can offer you a lower interest rate, and refinance it for 4 years for you.

    Well, I called my credit union and since I'm young and have no previous car financing history, I can only get like 8% or so. Compare this to the terms my dad got: 2.9%!!! So refinancing to my name would be a pretty bad deal :(
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Hey Paul,

    Why did your Dad put you in that position? He should have known that you could not afford it! Make him take it back!

    Maybe that's a little drastic but it sounds like CarMax has your loan amount covered with a little extra cash for you! It appears CarMax might be the best choice to me if you want to get out of the Honda!

    Mark156 :)
  • esteezeesteeze Posts: 102
    I'm getting my 03 Honda CR-V EX ready to sell, and it seeems to me that, ideally, all of the normal wear items (brake pads, tires, belts, battery) should be new or near new (~6 months or less) before the car is put on sale. At least, that's what I'm thinking when prepping my car...
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Don't know why normal wear items should be new or near new... unless your vehicle is near mint condition. If they don't "need" replacing I wouldnt worry about it.

    If the tread on your tires is getting noticeable low, I may replace those.
  • esteezeesteeze Posts: 102
    I guess to me it seems like more of an "ethical" thing than anything else; here's my thought process on the subject:

    If I trade a vehicle into a dealer, I don't think I give a flip about the wear items... since the selling entity (whether it is the same said dealer, or some other organization) will go through a prep process where they put these new or near-new wear items on the vehicle.

    With a private party sale, you are selling a vehicle to an individual, who will then turn around and personally put the vehicle in service (potentially, with their family members as passengers, and so forth). It seems reasonable to put forth that the seller has some sort of responsibility to ensure that the wear items are in good shape, at least more so that with a trade-in situation.
  • joel0622joel0622 Posts: 3,302
    With a private party sale, you are selling a vehicle to an individual, who will then turn around and personally put the vehicle in service (potentially, with their family members as passengers, and so forth).

    If its good enough to put your family in it as it sits then surley it is good enough for a family you have not even met yet.

    Meaning, if the car is servicable enough right now for you to drive every day then the wear items should be fine.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    You should do what you feel comfortable with. But, I think as long as you give full disclosure on the vehicle's condition, then ethically you are fine.

    No, I certainly wouldn't want to sell an unsafe vehicle, reguardless if I disclosed all of it's mechanical problems.
    But, I'm guessing your 03 Honda is in pretty good condition with all the components you mentioned. If you've followed your owners manual and kept up with service and inspection requirements, then buyer will be in good shape.
  • I have a 2004 Odyssey with just 30,000 miles that I am planning to sell (or possibly trade). It still has the original tires, so they are nearly ready to be replaced. Will it be worth the expense to replace the tires before I sell or trade (that is, am I Iikely to get a higher enough price to justify the expense), or am I better off just pricing the vehicle to reflect the condition of the tires and let the new owner get what he/she wants?
  • esteezeesteeze Posts: 102
    If you are going to sell it privately, you will probably want to have the vehicle in as good a shape as you can get it in (to increase it's appeal to a potential buyer); that includes having good tires.

    If you plan to trade it in, I would leave the old tires on... they won't affect your trade value much to make it worth your expense of buying new tires.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Well... how much tread do the tires have left on them? Unless, they are noticeable worn, I'd just keep them.

    On the other hand, you've got a low mileage Odyssey. If everything else is in really good condition, I'd spring for new tires.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,332
    When the tread on the factory tires is still in the "SAFE" depth, sell it as is because the buyer may want to install the tire of HIS choice.

    Because you NEVER get a 2nd chance of a First impression. Have your Honda professionally detailed & that process includes making the SAFE factory tires look attractive.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,357
    Very good idea. Nothing like a good detail to make the car look irresistible.
This discussion has been closed.