Benjamin Carr was a licensed insurance agent in Georgia and has experience in life, health, property and casualty coverage. He has worked with State Farm and other risk management firms. Benji is also a strategic writer and editor with a background in branding, marketing, and quality assurance. He has been in military newsrooms — literally on the frontline of journalism.

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Written by Benji Carr
Former Licensed Life Insurance Agent Benji Carr

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Reviewed by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

UPDATED: Apr 19, 2022

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To Sum It Up

  • Make sure you know the car’s worthwhile being honest about its condition and reasonable about what you would like to get for it
  • When fixing the car before the sale, you should only spend what you know you can make back plus any profit
  • Make sure you put the make, model, year, and purchase price of the vehicle into the bill of sale

If you are an armed forces service member and have been wondering how to sell your car while deployed overseas, there is no need to worry. We have you covered. 

In this article, we will give you tips on how to sell your car while you are away. We know that selling a car can be a complicated process, so we want to make it as easy as possible for you. Keep reading for more information.

How do you sell your car while deployed overseas?

If you are in the military, there are a few situations where you might find yourself selling a car. Maybe you are moving cross-country and do not want to drive two vehicles, or you are moving overseas and cannot take your car with you.

Whatever the reason, selling a car can be more complicated than it appears. Most of us want to get the maximum sales price for our cars, but that is not always easy.

Remember, too, that there are alternatives to selling.

Selling Your Vehicle

If you are getting ready to move overseas for a military assignment, you may decide that it is simpler to sell your vehicle before you go. However, military auto sales also take some preparation. Prior to placing your car on the market, you may want to consider doing minor repairs that will help it attract buyers.

This could include replacing worn brakes or fixing minor dings and paint chips. If you make repairs, be sure to keep documentation showing the buyer what new parts you have installed.

By taking a little time to prepare your car for sale, you can help ensure a smooth transaction and avoid any hassles down the road.

For example:

  • Make sure you know the car’s worthwhile by being honest about its condition and being reasonable about what you’d like to get for it.
  • Have all of your paperwork in order. Your bill of sale should include the vehicle information (year, make, model, and purchase price), the date, your name, and the buyer’s name.
  • You may also want to have the car cleaned to look nice, which will help it sell more quickly.

Remember to include “car sold in as-is condition” and “no warranties expressed or implied.” Both of you should sign the bill of sale and keep a copy. Once you have received payment, you can begin the title transfer process. The process differs by state, so make sure you do your research. 

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Tips for Selling Your Car While Deployed 

In addition to the brief advice outlined above, you can do some other things to make the sale of your vehicle easier and more profitable.

After all, you want to make some cash off the sale, right? If you do, pay attention to the following tips:

Do Not Spend a Ton to Fix Your Car

You should only spend what you know you can make back and more. In other words, When it comes to your car, you want to make sure you only fix what makes financial sense. For example, easy cosmetic changes like touch-up paint, repairing dents, and fixing windshield chips or cracks can be much less expensive than replacing complete parts.

So-called “painless dent repair” services can also save you money. Of course, military families often have to deal with more than just cosmetic damage, but even then, most only fix what will improve the car’s value or safety. If it is not worth the cost, do not do it.

If it is a must to replace a part for your vehicle to work properly, you should keep all paperwork verifying that you have done your part to make the car run smoothly.

Keep in mind that a buyer’s expectations for maintenance will be dramatically different based on your price point. If you have a luxurious, newer car, most will be looking for near-perfection. 

But, say your overseas hunk of junk is beginning to rust, or the engine is making weird noises. You should not bother spending much money on repairs. The car is only worth what a buyer is prepared to pay for it, and the chances are that it’s not going to be much. 

Price Your Car Correctly

You should know what your car is worth and then price it accordingly. Sites such as Kelley Blue Book, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and Edmunds.com help you calculate your car’s market value to individual buyers and dealers. The more authoritative sources you use, the better you can feel about how much you trade in or sell your vehicle for.

Keep in mind that the mileage, options, and interior condition are all important factors that will affect the price. You should also take into account any exterior damage, as this can reduce the value of your car. 

By giving all of these things due consideration, you will get a more accurate estimate of your car’s worth and make sure that you get a fair price when you sell it.

What if you are selling at an overseas duty station?

If you are stationed overseas, you may find it difficult to appraise your car’s value accurately. The Kelley Blue Book and other valuation guides use data from the US market, which does not reflect the reality of the overseas market.

Instead, you will need to do some research to discover what similar cars are selling for in your area. Supply and demand will contribute significantly in setting prices, so it is essential to keep an eye on which types of vehicles are in high demand.

You may also need to factor in language barriers or tax considerations when pricing your car. Be sure to ask for recommendations from other Americans who have been through the process before. 

Options for Selling

In terms of selling a used car, most people know that they are likely to get more money if they sell it to an individual buyer rather than a dealer. This is because dealers have to invest in a used car to refurbish it and bring it to market or auction to make a profit.

However, there are some drawbacks to selling to an individual buyer as well. For one thing, you will have to deal with the hassle of advertising your car and showing it to potential buyers.

You will also need to be careful about negotiating a fair price for your car. But, if you are patient and willing to put in a little extra work, selling your car to an individual buyer is probably your best bet for getting the most money for your effort.

One thing to bear in mind when selling your car is that you do not have to decide on one option immediately. You can have conversations with a dealer about trading your vehicle, post it online, or sell it directly.

The more conversations you have about alternatives, the better deal on your vehicle you ultimately end up with.

Should you consider storing your car instead?

Honestly, that is up to you. But if you are going to be far away for a short period, leaving your car in storage may make sense. You will need to budget for the storage cost, but you may save on gas and insurance. Another option is to let a trusted family or friend drive the vehicle while you are away.

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Finishing the Sale

If you decide to go through with selling your vehicle, there are some things you should remember. When you sell your car to an individual, it’s crucial to prepare a bill of sale that records the transaction terms and serves as a legal receipt.

Ensure that you include the make, model, year, and purchase price of the vehicle, as well as your name, the buyer’s name, and the date. You and the buyer should both sign it.

Do not forget to keep a copy for yourself.

It is also essential to include the following two phrases:

  • The car is sold in as-is condition
  • There are no warranties expressed or implied

Otherwise, if something goes wrong with the vehicle, an unhappy buyer could demand some money back. You should also include the addresses and contact information for yourself and the buyer and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Finally, be sure to include documentation of military auto insurance.

Sales to a dealer may include additional documentation, but be sure that you get at least a completed bill of sale.