Questions Car Buyers Ask Sellers

When selling your car or truck, you'll need to be prepared for questions potential buyers may have concerning the history, condition, and maintenance of your vehicle. Answering these questions truthfully can help ease concerns and build trust during the transaction.

Feel free to use the following list as a guide for common questions most buyers will expect you to be able to answer.

General Questions

Why are you selling your vehicle?

This common question for buyers is often used to gauge whether you're attempting to sell them a lemon or if there's a legitimate reason you no longer need the car. If the answer doesn't sound very truthful, or you haven't come up with a good reason, it could make the buyer think that there are problems with the vehicle you aren't willing to discuss.

What's your best price?

Most buyers expect private sellers to negotiate the price. Because of this, it's often a good idea to list the vehicle at a price that's slightly above what you expect to get for it. Also keep in mind what your bottom dollar actually is—whether or not you share that information with potential buyers will be determined by the negotiating process.

Questions on Vehicle History

What was the vehicle used for?

The answer to this question will inform the buyer how hard the vehicle has been driven. A sports car used for racing or work truck used to tow heavy equipment frequently may not last as long as a vehicle used for primarily for commuting.

Do you know how many people have owned the vehicle?

Some buyers prefer a car that's had a single owner. A single-owner vehicle often provides evidence that the car or truck isn't a lemon (several owners in short periods of time is often a warning sign).

The original owner can also provide a complete history of the vehicle that might be difficult to obtain otherwise. If you aren't the original owner, ordering a vehicle history report (VHR) for potential buyer's might help to ease some of these concerns.

Has the car been involved in any accidents?

If you are the original owner, this will be an easy question to answer. If, on the other hand, the vehicle you're selling has had several owners before you, you'll want to find out the answer before the buyer asks. One way to find out is to order a vehicle history report, which can also be used to help answer other questions a buyer may have about the car's previous life before you owned it.

Questions on Condition & Maintenance

What's the current condition of your car?

This is another question that can be asked to test your honesty. If you state the car is in perfect condition over the phone, but the buyer notices a small dent and a few scratches in the paint when he or she shows up for a test drive, they'll be more apt to view the rest of your answers with skepticism and consider you a dishonest seller. This can kill a transaction on the spot.

Is the odometer reading accurate?

This question is often asked to make sure the car isn't displaying an artificially low mileage, which can increase the vehicle's value. Falsifying this information can lead to criminal punishment.

Do you have any service records?

Keeping up with scheduled maintenance can help reassure a buyer that the vehicle has been properly cared for. If you have the records for any repairs or servicing from a local mechanic or dealership, it will provide a level of transparency that most buyers will appreciate.

Are all the parts original?

A car that's had performance modifications may increase the value if the mods have been done both tastefully and correctly. A vehicle that's been repaired with after-market parts because of an accident might require further explanation or even an inspection.

Can I take the vehicle in for an inspection before I decide to buy?

Questions or concerns with how the vehicle may run will lead some buyers to ask for an inspection to ensure the vehicle is in good working order. If you're okay with this, agree on a mechanic and, if possible, accompany the buyer to the shop. This will help to avoid fraud or theft.

Does the car have an existing warranty?

If the vehicle you're selling is still under a manufacturer's warranty or third-party service contract, this will provide additional value to the buyer. You'll need to be able to furnish any information or paperwork to the new owner once the sale is complete.

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