Post by International Military Life Community Manager Courtney Woodruff
Armed with a cup of strong black coffee, I stared our PCS to-do list in the face. It was time to start preparing for our move back to the States, and I was determined to get a head-start.
As I scanned the checklist line by line, one item glared back at me in harsh black ink: Sell second family vehicle.
My heart dropped into my stomach as I consider all the time, advertising, paperwork and frustration the process no doubt entailed.
Would we find a buyer before we leave? Would we get our asking price?
Selling a vehicle overseas is intimidating but knowing what to expect will help you get started on the right track.
Before you make a deal and hand over your keys, it’s important to...
Have your vehicle inspected. Depending on the age of your vehicle, you may be required to have an inspection completed within 30 calendar days of the sale. Potential buyers are also likely to request an inspection to make sure the automobile is in working order before agreeing to make the purchase. Having an inspection completed before advertising will save you time in the end.
Be realistic about your asking price. European buyers are not likely to consider suggested resale prices listed on Kelly Blue Book, but it is still a great resource to check the current market value of your vehicle. In the end, what’s most important is to know the amount you hope to receive from the sale and give yourself plenty of time and room to haggle.
Decide on a currency for payment. Before advertising your vehicle, consider what you are going to do with the money you receive from the sale. For example, if you have a lien with a US company you will need to pay off in dollars but receive euros for payment, you could lose a significant amount of money in the currency exchange.
Start by advertising on free platforms. Take a few visually appealing, detailed photographs, and share your vehicle on websites that don’t charge per post, like Facebook yard sale pages that cater to your local community. You can also hang flyers in common areas around your military installation - be sure to ask for permission first - before paying to promote elsewhere. Your local lemon lot is another inexpensive resource to utilize if you are able to go without your vehicle until the sale is complete.
Be aware of scams. Unfortunately, service members have fallen victim to fraud when buying and selling cars overseas. Keep your eye out for suspicious responses to your advertisements. Red flags include offers to purchase your vehicle without seeing it in person, paying more than the asking price, and requests to wire money or pay by check or money order.
Contact your insurance company. Before the sale is complete, contact your auto insurance provider to find out what you will need to drop the vehicle from your policy. For example, USAA requires members to de-register their vehicles and provide the license plate number to remove it from a current plan.
Make sure your paperwork is in order. Whether you sell your vehicle to a military ID holder, a non-ID holder, or a local dealer, you will need to have certain forms and documentation in hand to complete the sale. Also, it’s important to be aware that US spec vehicles need to be equipped to meet the technical specifications each country or state requires. The regulations can differ greatly regarding emission, safety, etc. You can find more information specific to your vehicle and situation on the USAREUR Registry of Motor Vehicles website. When in doubt, reach out your local military registration office for help. Staying proactive and organized will save you time and frustration, and help you avoid inconvenient return trips to the DMV.
In the end, we had to lower our asking price a bit, but following these tips helped the process go much smoother than expected for our family.
Have you sold a vehicle overseas? We would love to hear about your experience! Do you have any advice to share?
Check out the USAA – International FAQ
About the Blogger: Courtney Woodruff is a military spouse, mom and writer currently living in Germany. She has a master's degree in Human Services Counseling: Military Resilience and currently serves as the International Military Life Blogger and Community Manager for USAA. She has a heart for our troops and their families and strives to share her own experience to help others overcome the unique challenges of military life. Follow her adventures on her blog, Courtney at Home, or connect with her Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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