Selling a Tesla online is the best way to receive top dollar for your vehicle. (Often times the value of private party sales can exceed trade-in offers by upwards of $5,000.) At Only Used Tesla we make the process as easy as possible so that you can be matched with a buyer looking for exactly what you’re selling.
The first step in preparing your Tesla for sale is to ensure you have all of the proper documentation.
This includes locating the title for your vehicle. If you own the vehicle outright the title should already be in your possession. The title will have to be signed over to the buyer to release legal liability and ownership of the vehicle.
If the vehicle is financed, it will have a lien on it: meaning that the title is owned by the bank and released upon payoff of the loan. In the case of a financed Tesla with a lien, banks will generally be able to handle the transfer of ownership directly with the buyer. Buyers can accomplish this with either a personal cashier’s check or a check from their financial institution, in the case that they’re also financing the vehicle.
In the case of remote/long-distance sales, all paperwork can be done through the mail with the buyer and seller simply mailing documents back and forth as needed. We strongly recommend sending documents through an express service with a tracking number and signature confirmation, such as UPS Next Day Air, to ensure the process is completed as quickly as possible and that necessary documents don’t get lost in transit.
Additional recommended documents include a Bill of Sale, which officiates the purchase between the buyer and seller. This provides documentation of the date of purchase as well as all other pertinent information including the purchase price, VIN, and in we also suggest adding any options (such as Full Self-Driving Capability) that were purchased after delivery to formally document the inclusion of features that may not be on the Monroney sticker.
There is also a Release of Liability document that the seller should fill out with their local DMV so the seller can be alleviated of all potential liabilities, such as parking tickets and accidents. In addition, license plates should be surrendered at the time of sale in states that don’t allow plates to be transferred to other vehicles.
An Odometer Disclosure Statement is also commonly used to ensure the mileage reading is accurate. However, all Tesla’s are continuously connected to the Tesla Network so mileage is automatically saved and recorded in the cloud and accessible via the Tesla app. An up-to-date screenshot of the app and/or the dash on the vehicle should be enough to ensure an accurate odometer reading. It may also be helpful to include this information on the Bill of Sale.
Buyers want to see a clean Tesla.
Take the time to clean the exterior of the vehicle. (We recommend avoiding automatic car washes as they can damage the paint.) Optionally, detail the wheels and add a layer of wax so the vehicle is in the best condition possible.
Prior to taking pictures, remove any personal belongings from inside the vehicle (including the trunk/front trunk). Tesla’s premium interiors are designed to be easy to clean with a wet microfiber cloth. Vacuuming the carpets and floor mats can be an extra final touch that will help buyers picture themselves in your clean Tesla.
Take high-resolution photos around the entirety of the vehicle. Buyers want to be able to see the condition of your Tesla in as much detail as possible: focus on every angle and perspective.
Pay equal attention to the exterior (including individual wheels) as well as the interior. The backseat is equally as important as the front seats, if not more so in vehicles where they’ll be used more frequently — such as those with a Six Seat Interior. Buyers also like to see the center touchscreen, including pages that indicate the Autopilot features on the vehicle.
Don’t forget to tailor the photos to your specific vehicle and its unique features, i.e., In the case of a Model X feature at least one photo with the Falcon Wing Doors open.
We recommend also including a photo of the page accessible via the “T” emblem on the touchscreen that indicates the specific model designation and mileage of your Tesla.
Finally, make sure to include a screenshot of the Build Sheet: this lists all of the features and options that your Tesla is equipped with. It’s a document that was included with your Tesla and accessible via the My Tesla account page. In the case additional features were added after delivery, have a screenshot of the “Purchases” tab in your Tesla app ready to send buyers.
Compare your Tesla to similar used Tesla’s on our web-site, including those that have been sold recently, to get an idea of your Tesla’s value.
Tesla is constantly making adjustments to vehicle configuration and pricing at a rate that sources like KBB and Edmunds aren’t able to keep up with.
We offer our own (free) up-to-date Net Present Value, email us the configuration and options on your Tesla at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buyers will generally use a cashier’s check or pay cash. We recommend meeting at the financial institution of your choice to ensure a smooth transaction. Once the vehicle is confirmed to be paid for in full, at that point the seller can sign over the title. (If the vehicle has a lien, the buyer may be advised to write two separate checks: one to you and one to the lienholder — assuming the buyer is paying more for the vehicle than the payoff amount.)
An escrow service such as escrow.com may also be preferred if the vehicle is being shipped. This ensures that the buyer has paid in full, and that funds are released only once the transfer of ownership has been completed.
Make it clear to prospective buyers whether the vehicle has been in any accidents, and whether it has had any maintenance issues. (In some cases Tesla will have replaced the battery, powertrain, and/or media control unit.) Keep detailed service records.
Assuming there are any issues with the title or the vehicle is a lemon buyback, lead with that. Buyers will generally assume the vehicle is in perfect shape unless they’re told otherwise.
Buyers’ expectations will be reasonably high: they’re shopping for a Tesla, not just a commuter car. Meet those expectations by being upfront with the condition of the vehicle, providing as many detailed photos as possible, and being ready to answer any questions buyers may have.
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