As a former licensed car dealer, I often get asked if rebuilt title cars are worth buying and how to sell them.
This complete guide will teach you everything you need to know, from what a rebuilt title means to tips for getting top dollar when selling your rebuilt car.
- Can you finance a salvage title car?
- What banks finance salvage title cars?
- How to sell a salvage title car.
Key Takeaway Tips When Selling Your Rebuilt Title Vehicle:
- Fully disclose rebuilt branding upfront
- Prepare car thoroughly with all paperwork in order
- Price fairly based on extent of previous damage
- Advertise on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
- Be patient for the right private party buyer
Table of Contents
What Exactly is a Rebuilt Title Car?
A vehicle gets a rebuilt title after it was once badly damaged, deemed a total loss by an insurance company, repaired, and inspected to confirm roadworthiness.
So rebuilt title cars were once salvage title vehicles that went through extensive repairs to make them operable again. Title branding differs by state, but they generally require rebuilt cars to pass a safety and mechanical inspection before being retitled and sold.
Still, many used car shoppers are hesitant to purchase rebuilt title cars, fearing lingering issues or lower resale value down the road. As a seller, overcoming objections by being transparent is key.
Why Rebuilt Titles Impact Car Value
There are a few valid reasons why rebuilt title vehicles sell for 20-50% less than identical models with clean titles:
- Difficult to insure – Fewer insurance options and higher premiums
- Questions on repair quality – Safety concerns over damage extent
- Lower resale value – Dealers offer less on trade-ins
On the plus side, rebuilt title cars can represent huge savings over comparable non-salvage vehicles. Home mechanics also like rebuilt projects.
But it’s critical to assess repair quality before driving any rebuilt car, and disclose its history when selling.
Legally Selling a Rebuilt Title Car
When listing a rebuilt car for sale, you must disclose its title status or risk facing fines or criminal charges for fraud. State laws vary, but sellers generally must:
- Ensure title is properly branded as “rebuilt” or “salvage”
- Pass required state vehicle inspections for rebuilt cars
- Transfer ownership paperwork with title branding
- Provide vehicle history report and repair invoices
- Follow your state’s rebuilt titling process from start to finish
I also advise voluntary steps like a pre-sale mechanical inspection to confirm roadworthiness. Proof the car was fixed properly helps ease buyer concerns.
And remember – insurance is mandatory before driving any car. Rebuilt title vehicles can be challenging to insure affordably, so help buyers understand their options.
Prepping & Pricing a Rebuilt Car for Sale
To earn top dollar selling your rebuilt ride, smart preparation and pricing are essential:
How to Prepare a Rebuilt Car for Sale
- Gather title, registration, repair records & inspection reports
- Clean and detail the vehicle thoroughly inside and out
- Take high-quality photos highlighting good condition
- Obtain vehicle history report from DMV or Carfax/AutoCheck
- Complete cosmetic repairs like paint touch-ups and dent removal
- Perform a pre-sale mechanical inspection
Making your rebuilt car look its best shows buyers you have nothing to hide. Missing paperwork or details can torpedo buyer confidence in your sale. Spend time getting items in order.
Pro Tip: Provide free test drives to allow hands-on inspection by potential buyers. This demonstrates faith in your repairs.
How to Accurately Price a Rebuilt Title Car
Determining fair pricing is an art – relying on comparable vehicle values with adjustments for the rebuilt status:
|Rebuilt Title Discount
|Good Condition: 20-30% Below Market
|Minor Issues: 30-40% Below Market
|Major Repairs Needed: 50%+ Below Market
Of course the discount also depends on repair quality, vehicle condition, options, and local market demand. A $5,000 Toyota Corolla with flawless bodywork will command more than one needing body panels.
List at the higher end of your range, knowing buyers will likely negotiate 10-15% lower on any used vehicle. Go too low initially and you leave money on the table!
Pro Tip: Offer a vehicle history report like CarFax detailing the accident record. This allows buyers to accurately gauge required discounts.
Where to Sell Rebuilt Title Vehicles
The two best places to list rebuilt cars for sale are Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. These sites provide access to large local buyer pools full of private parties and home mechanics.
Dealerships typically shun purchasing rebuilt title vehicles altogether due to lower wholesale valuations. You’ll get better offers selling privately.
In your listings highlight all repair work done, offer to show invoices, note clean inspection reports, and prove the car runs great. This reassures buyers about rebuilt title car quality upfront.
Patience is mandatory – it takes the right buyer willing to accept perceived risks of rebuilt cars. But being transparent builds trust so deals can happen.
Pro Tip: Consider selling your rebuilt car on consignment through select used car dealers specializing in branded title vehicles. They assume sales risk for a cut of the profit but already have that buyer network established.
Who Buys Rebuilt Title Cars
Used Car Dealerships
- Some used car dealers buy and sell rebuilt cars
- They know how to check damage history and repair quality
- Main dealers avoid rebuilt titles because of:
- Extra hassle
- Harder to get financing
- Options to sell may be limited
Auto Parts Companies
- Parts companies buy thousands of totaled vehicles
- They dismantle them and sell usable parts
- If the parts are worth more than repair costs, they may buy rebuilt title vehicles too
- Mostly focus on newer model year cars
- Newer cars have more valuable parts
Individual Car Enthusiasts
- Mechanically skilled car buyers look for rebuilt title cars
- They can assess repairs themselves
- Aren’t worried about lower resale value
- Search Craigslist, Facebook, etc. for deals on desired models
- Scrap yards buy very old high-mileage vehicles
- They dismantle and recycle raw materials like metal
- Typically avoid rebuilt cars since they tend to be newer
- May purchase if repairs exceed parts value
In summary: Most buyers are specialty dealers, parts companies, individual mechanics, and scrap yards. Mainstream dealers usually avoid rebuilt titles.
Completing a Rebuilt Car Sale
Once you find a buyer ready to purchase your rebuilt ride, follow these proven tips to finalize the transaction smoothly:
- Meet at a neutral public location like a bank parking lot
- Bring the title paperwork and other related documentation
- Provide test drives if requested
- Point out aspects of quality repairs done
- Negotiate politely within your pricing range
- Accept certified bank checks or cash only
- Have new owner sign title transfer paperwork with sale date and price
- Include a basic bill of sale with vehicle details
My Final Thoughts and Advice
By instilling confidence in your sale early, buyers will be at ease test driving the car and asking questions. Transparency is key – it reduces pushback over the rebuilt status.
And make sure you get full agreed payment secured before signing over the title. Fraud does happen, so protect yourself by accepting guaranteed funds only.
Selling a used car with a clean title is far simpler. But don’t let a rebuilt title scare you away. Armed with the right knowledge, selling your rebuilt car can still end quite profitably.
Now that you know how to successfully sell a rebuilt title vehicle, are you ready to turn your car into cash? Let me know if you have any other questions!
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