Tips for your private car sale in Ontario

As much as you may love your car, you are probably going to have to sell it one day. Whether you want to trade in your car at the dealership for a newer, better model, or you want to sell it privately to get the most money out of it, there are a few things you should know when organizing a private car sale in Ontario.


Quick tips for private car sales

Treating a car sale like a garage sale makes it difficult to find buyers and could even invite thieves. Don’t just put your car on the curb with a big “for sale” sign in the windshield in the off-season and leave it at that.

Before you set out on the quest to sell your car privately, take a look at a few things you should do to make sure the sale goes smoothly.



Sell when it’s the season

Before starting out, you should be aware of the current season and how it affects the demand for what you are selling.

For example, people won’t be likely to buy a convertible during the winter months. In fact, most Ontarians just hibernate until March anyway—sometimes until April. We don’t like going out into the cold.


Get a sense of online demand

You can easily check online and find out if the vehicle you are planning to sell is in demand or not.

Take a look online and find listings that are selling the vehicles most similar to yours, making note of a few things:

  • What’s the usual asking price?
  • What’s the normal mileage range?
  • Are winter tires part of the price, or sold separately?
  • When do other car ads appear most frequently?

Check multiple sources and compare the prices to get the average price a seller expects for this kind of a vehicle. If the vehicle you are selling is currently common on the market, you can adjust your prices competitively to attract prospective buyers.

If the car you want to sell is insured, be sure to let your insurance provider know you are about to sell it! Not many people think this is necessary, but it’s actually very important , as it could change your insurance rates or other policy details.

You should let them know as soon as possible.

With that said, keep your car insured until you actually sell it. You need to keep an insurance policy for your car in force in order to test drive it safely.


Gather detailed vehicle specs

Gather more detailed information about your car. Remember, you are going to be advertising this to a buyer and they will want as many details as they can get to make an informed decision.

You’re looking for things like:

  • Make, model, and year
  • Nice-to-have features
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • Mileage
  • Major repairs, past damage, or quirks
  • How often it’s been oiled

Date of manufacture, the model, its vehicle identification number (VIN)  and the factory paint colour code are a few details the potential buyers will appreciate.



While you are getting this information, it may not be a bad idea to check if there are any issues commonly found on this type of car. The buyer will probably do their own research and bring up any concerns they stumble upon.


Get a vehicle history report

This is something most people often leave out when creating a private car sale in Ontario. The vehicle history report. This report is a must-have when selling used cars privately.

You can get your copy online for a fee, and all you need to know is your car’s VIN number. This is particularly useful if you also bought the car used and aren’t aware of the vehicle’s entire history.

The vehicle history report contains a lot of useful information buyers need, such as:

  • Car ownership information.
  • Mileage.
  • Title status.
  • Accident and repair history.
  • Service history.
  • Recalls.
  • American service records.
  • How many owners the vehicle currently has.

You can be sure that your interested buyers will get a free vehicle history report before they try to make you a deal, at the very least. Giving them this information for free will show them you are trustworthy and transparent.


How do I prepare for a private car sale in Ontario?

Before you can show your car to a potential buyer, you want to make sure that it is presentable and functional. No one wants to buy a shabby car.

First impressions are crucial and if your buyer lays eyes on your car while it’s all disheveled and caked in dust, they are probably not going to be impressed. Here are a few things you could do to improve your chances of quickly selling your car.


Clean your car thoroughly

You can be sure that the buyer will want to inspect the car inside and out before agreeing to anything. Nothing puts off an interested buyer like a filthy car.



Just washing the car won’t do the trick, though. You want to really get in there and detail the car. You can get most of the cleaning materials you’ll need locally, but if you don’t want to go through the hassle, you can also arrange to have the car professionally washed.

This gives your car a sleek, shiny look that’s much more likely to convince a buyer to, well, buy. Even if the car is used, you can probably increase your asking price by a fair bit, just because of how good it looks.


Advertise in multiple spots

To boost the chances of finding your ideal buyer, you’ll need to make them aware of your private car sale all over Ontario, not just a local classified ad.

Luckily, with the help of the internet, you can make a few listings easily, maybe even posting on a few car-related forums and you’ll be sure to get a call or an email soon. If you want to increase your visibility, make sure to create as many listings as you can.

Although it’s considered old-fashioned by now, you could still pay to have the local newspaper feature your car sale ad for people to see. They’ll probably have digital listings that people can still see on their phones as well.

Provide clear, detailed pictures and a good description of your car and its condition. The buyer can only see what you show them online. The less they see, the less likely they’ll be to reach out. Chances are good your average buyer is probably skimming through dozens of car sale online ads at a time and they’ll just switch to the next one if they don’t find yours to be informative.

You can make sure you’ll get plenty of good offers just by following these steps. Buyers looking for a private sale need to be cautious by nature, so you can set yourself apart from the hundreds of sellers who keep information to themselves. If they trust you, they will be more likely to give you a market-fair deal and agree to the sale.


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