Virginia Man Fights for Right to Sell His Car

Virginia Man Fights for Right to Sell His Car

Northern Virginia residents just got a green light to put “for sale” signs on their vehicles without fear of getting a ticket.

The city of Alexandria has stopped citing drivers for the violation after resident Scott McLean recently filed a federal lawsuit, saying the law violates free speech rights.

The Associated Press reports that McLean was cited in 2012 for having two "for sale" signs on his car, which was parked on a city street.

McLean paid the fine and removed the signs, according to his lawsuit, filed Oct. 23 in U.S. District Court. The suit seeks to force the city from enforcing the ordinance.

Political Signs OK, For Sale Signs Not?

In the lawsuit, McLean points out that it's not illegal to display political signs and other speech on cars in Alexandria, just not "for sale" signs.

"The city's speech ordinance is a content-based speech restriction that deprives McLean of his First Amendment right to communicate a truthful message to the public about a lawful item for sale," according to the lawsuit.

Late in October, city officials said they were suspending enforcement of the ordinance and reviewing its appropriateness.

The review “will determine if and how comparable jurisdictions regulate this issue, receive guidance on best practices from professional and government associations, and obtain public input through community outreach," the city said in a statement.

Of course, you could save yourself the trouble and sell your car or trade it in at a highly rated auto company.

Whatever route you choose, however, remember that selling a car is a major financial transaction. So when you're selling a vehicle, it's essential you take the right steps to get the most money and least amount of hassle.

Trade it in or Sell?

The first question you’ll encounter when you decide to sell your vehicle is how you’ll sell it. For most drivers, that comes down to two options: trading in your old vehicle at the dealership or selling it yourself.

Both have their own advantages. If you decide to trade it, you’ll get much less money than on the open market, but you won’t be inconvenienced by the process of selling.

Selling your vehicle yourself gives you the benefit of getting top dollar for your car, but you’ll have to invest some time and effort.

The Price Should be Right

What’s your car worth? Obtaining a reasonable idea of what price your car will demand is the next necessity. Kelley Blue Book and Edmund’s offer pricing tools to help determine how much you can expect when selling your vehicle at a private sale or when trading it in.

These pricing tools factor in vehicle characteristics, such as type, age, mileage, options and condition to give you an idea what a buyer will pay.

Looks Make a Difference

Like any major purchase or investment, your car’s first impression on a buyer can make or break the deal. Get your car as showroom ready as possible.

Get body work damage or minor imperfections repaired, remove all your personal items that are unnecessary if you’re still driving the car, and get the car cleaned, waxed and detailed.

Shoot it Like a Pro

If you’re selling your car, listing it online is critical to spreading a wide net for potential buyers. Online buyers will trust accurate photos much more than a text-only description. Grab a digital camera and capture your car from multiple angles.

Make sure to document not only the exterior but the interior, the engine and any other notable features.

Don’t ignore the bad. Small imperfections, such as slight scratches and minor chips, don’t warrant their own close-ups, but any major problem a buyer will see during an in-person inspection should be documented.

Don’t Forget the Paperwork

If and when you get an interested buyer and negotiate a sales price, don’t forget paperwork is essential to closing the deal.

You can find many websites that offer bill-of-sale templates that allow you to fill in important blanks, such as a description of the vehicle, its VIN, the sales price, date of sale and signatures.

Don’t forget you’ll also want to fill out the title.

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