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How to Sell a Volvo

You own a Volvo. Maybe you used the MVS Buyer’s Guide to find it. The time comes… you want to or need to sell your Volvo. So what steps do you take to sell?

Make It Look Good!

Making your Volvo look good by washing it is the best use of the first 60 minutes of your selling effort. We can’t stress this enough. It’s why dealers always have clean cars out front: clean cars sell. Dirty cars sit.

  • This will often work to your advantage when selling to a dealer, and will always work to your advantage when selling to a private party. There is no substitute for a clean, shiny car.
  • If the paint is faded and it has rust, don’t let that stop you from making the car pretty. Clean the interior, and wash the exterior.
  • Do high benefit/cost fixes. These are usually cosmetic things, like scrubbing the wheels free of brake dust, or buying and applying swirl mark remover if you have a dark-colored Volvo with swirl marks.

Get the Papers in Order

  • Don’t wait for the first showing to look for your Volvo’s title. Find it in advance. Find it today. Make sure it’s in your name, not just signed over to you.
  • Check your state’s car buying/selling laws to make sure your Volvo’s paperwork is straight.
  • Organize repair documentation. The more you have the better. Nothing’s worse than going to look at a car and having the owner shrug when you ask him about the service history.

Make a bill of sale!

Take this example from this Volvo forum thread about how a piece of paper saved time and headache:

I sold a truck to a guy who totaled and abandoned it a week later a few years back. He didn’t title it in his name so the police came knocking on my door. I gave them the signed copy of the bill of sale with his drivers license number, address, and signature on it; they said thanks and I never heard about it again.


Cover your legal bases

Know the legalities of showing and selling a car. Will you be in the car for the test drives? Or hold their license? Will you accept a cashier’s check?

Where to List It?

Craigslist, unless it’s a $10,000+ car, in which case we recommend both Craigslist and Bring a Trailer. Don’t cheap out on reaching buyers if it’s a substantial amount of money. Facebook marketplace is a waste of time.

This site’s Volvo Classifieds is a good place to list your Volvo.

S60 Gen II
S60 Gen II

Sell a Volvo: What Else?

  • How to sell a car: tips from USNews.
  • Photograph your Volvo: tips from BaT on getting the photos a buyer wants.
  • Be honest in your ad. If you’re listing on BaT, actively point out flaws. Those guys will find them anyway.

Making it pretty and understanding the paperwork are the most important two items. If you’re going to do only two things, make the car look good and make sure you have the paperwork.

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