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  • Writer's pictureEkene Uchenu

How To Buy And Sell Cars For Bigger Profits ( Learn How To Buy, Sell And Rent Out Your Car Privately)

Updated: May 31

Buying and selling cars is not as easy as it seems. You can make lots of money if you know exactly what you are doing but you can easily loose a lot of money if you get it wrong most times, hence you need to learn from an experienced Car Flip Addict like me. I literally flip and rent cars for a living for over a decade. It is fun and full of opportunities.

In this car flipping training you would learn tested tips on buying and selling cars for huge profits. Also we are going to teach you the best way to rent cars for maximum profits.

This training will carefully cover the following.

1. How and where to find cars to flip.

2. Which cars to flip for more money.

3. How to negotiate good deals. Tips on getting your cars cheap.

4. How to avoid losing big money while flipping cars.

5. How to inspect cars before buying.

6. Becoming a car broker.

7. Flipping cars without dealership license.

8. How to avoid fixing the wrong thing in cars to flip.

9. Renting a car you want to flip for more money.

10. Making money with parts if you choose to wreck a car.

11. How to flip car without leaving your house.

12. Selling your car for profit.

  1. How And Where To Find Cars To Flip:

Finding a cheap car is basically knowing the right places to look. A good fisherman would always fish in the right spot for a good catch. There are two ways to find cheap cars.

  1. Active search, which involves actively going to look for cars in places like Car Auctions,  Supermarket community boards, Facebook Marketplace, EBay Car Auction, Google, Newspaper classified ads, Craiglist ( only for those who can access it), Private Car sales with a “For Sale” sign on it in your neighbourhood, Online car websites, Retirement Homes and Businesses. 

B. Passive search, where you rightly  position yourself to attract people to sell cars to you. We advise people to pay closer attention to this kind of car buying process because it pays good. It involves building a “cash for cars” website, carefully putting out targeted “cash for cars” ads, telling people you are looking for a car to buy for cash any condition. Put this paid ad on Facebook, Instagram, Google and any other platform that would showcase your ads to the right people. You will be amazed at how many people looking for an easy way to get rid of their unwanted vehicles. We have bought and flipped many cars through passive search. Example of a “cash for cars” website (

Also develop special relationships with your local mechanics, drop your cards with them, keep nurturing the relationships and you will start to receive cars from them.

Most car flippers would not do this because it takes time to build the network. However, once built it pays huge. Remember is not everyone that wants to sell car privately, some people  just want to get rid of the car any amount. Take advantage of this and make yourself some bucks.

At The Car Auctions: What To Know


Car auctions are usually the best place to find good deals for cars as they basically get cheap cars from big dealers trade-in, repossessed cars, used company cars  and government cars. Auctions could be very fast and overwhelming in the beginning for first time flippers. It takes time to master what is happening at the auctions. Better to first be the fly on the wall, watch and learn what is happening before bidding to avoid over bidding or winning the wrong car.

Focus more on dirty cars that most buyers would avoid, it could be an abandoned car owned by the elderly or deceased estate cars. This can be a hidden gold very cheap as well so you can make good money from it.

I once bought 2009 Toyota Corolla faded paint, tyres flat, very dirty but starts and runs.  The seats were not washed probably since it was bought. It was towed to our garage, all the tyres changed, fix the paint, no mechanical problems. We made about $3500 from this car. Focus on low mileage under 150,000 KM. Be cautious not to engage in a bidding war with over excited flippers. Do your research before and in the auction.

Warning: Focus on cheap cars as a beginner so you keep your risk low. Possibly avoid European cars until you get better. European cars are very expensive to fix due to the stress of finding the right parts and the mechanics willing to work on them.

We purchased 2013 Renault Clio at the Auction. It was in a very good condition until we sold it to a young bloke. He rang after a day the car started overheating on his way to another state. He had to tow the car back to our shop. We investigated, the car has a blown head gasket. This was a massive loss. Lesson learnt was to offer half or less half the value of any car at the auction. Sometimes these cars are not even checked or driven before going under the hammer at the auction houses.

If you are not a licensed dealer, public auctions would probably be the best for you. Some auctions would require you possess dealership license. A way around this to ask a licensed dealer to bid on your behalf. You might have to pay $200-$1000 per car to the licensed dealer.

Car Buying From The Facebook Marketplace

Facebook Marketplace has been great for finding great deals for car flipping. Often deals pop up on Facebook depending on your KM radius.

Few things  to consider while searching for car deals on Facebook Marketplace.

Do you have time to find a great used car? New car flippers are highly motivated to search for cars, Facebook is very popular with used cars hence too much competition.  Great deals attract heaps of interest and scammers. Ensure you sign a bill of sale after carefully, doing a car background checks. Usually done by entering the VIN of the car and performing an online search if possible. Ensure the vehicle is being sold by the true owner or someone legally responsible to sell the car. Beware of dodgy sellers, feel free to walk away if anything seems shady. It is your money and must be protected responsibly.

Facebook Marketplace allows you to narrow your search to newly listed to old listed. Most times you can find good deals from the private sellers listed for longer time on Facebook. They are willing to move around on the price.

You must be willing to put in time and efforts to chase up great deals on Facebook. Weekends and Sundays are great because most professional flippers are off resting. Use this times to find yourself great cars to flip for more money. It is better to keep cash handy as great deals might come up when less expected. Cash is king they say.

Buying From The Newspaper Classified Ads, EBay Auctions, Craigslist 

One car source cars from these angles by simply contacting the seller and begin your negotiation. It requires a little bit of persistence and time just like the Facebook marketplace. These sources require more of tough negotiations and sometimes confrontations so beware of this. Auctions are less intense as you can just put in your offer and wait to win or lose.

You have an advantage if you can work out the main reason for selling the car. Whether they urgently need money? Are they moving inter state? Are they elderly looking to retire or upgrade? Check if there is something wrong with the car. These tips would form your bargaining power. We are always ready to walk away from the seller if they are insisting on an outrageous price. The chief aim of buying this car is to make money so do not compromise or get emotional. Good deals will never finish, if one goes today wait for another one tomorrow. Sometimes we leave our phone number with the seller, they might have a think about it and ring us back.

Note: Do not broadcast you are a car flipper as most people would not sell to you or might just make it difficult for negotiation. We have met people who would not sell cars to the car dealers, to teenagers, to the wreckers. Is better to stick to the car and do not talk about your last flips and so on.

One line that works for us is, “ I am getting this car for my best friend who just moved here for work. He is on a very low budget but a good man. Am trying to support him get something to move around.”

Retirement Villages And Businesses

Old people’s homes have bunch of cars for sale from the residents. Print your business cards and drop in to the reception. Politely explain what you do as a local car flipper. You might get a call one day to pick up some cars. Businesses too can sell their fairly used cars.

We bought a well maintained 2015 Toyota Camry with around 112,000 KM, automatic transmission for $5600 sold it $10,500 after a week. It was a good one from a local business. The key is to keep your network growing, let key business people around your area know what you do. It pays massive dividends.

2. Which Cars To Flip For More Money

Cheap cars go up in value when the Market is down, expensive cars fall in value when the market is down. As a beginner risk is very low flipping cheap cars compare to flipping expensive cars. Most times, people are happy to negotiate down the price of cars with some mechanical issues. In our business, we focus more on cars with problems to fix and flip. To do this, build a good rapport with some mechanics so you would not overpay for fixing cars. Better to learn few things to fix yourself.

Most markets would sell low mileage under 150,000 KM wagons, sedans, trucks, SUVs. Depending on your location knowing which car that sells would improve your chances of making great profits while flipping. Research your local car market. See which cars are the most popular in your area. Seasons also can influence the sales of particular cars. People might want something bigger and tough on the road during holiday period for longer trips. The bottom line is your local market would tell you exactly which car is the best to flip. We recommend around $500-$7000 maximum for beginners. Note: Expect to make some mistakes but lessons learnt would make you more money. Be cautious about modified cars, huge exhaust and spoilers. These cars might seem attractive but might be very difficult to sell.

3. How To Negotiate Good Deals. Tips On Getting Your Cars Cheap

In the words of Chester L. Karras, “ In business as in life you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”   Remember the saying, you make your money when you buy the car not when you sell it. Negotiation starts from the moment you contact the car owner for a purchase, your major aim is to get the owner to reduce the price as low as possible. It pays to be as jovial and polite as you can, do not engage in a negative argument with the seller as this would make it difficult for you to get a good deal. Once the seller becomes defensive, your deal has gone wrong. The key is to make the seller feel good as far as you are still there.

Find out the why for selling the car. Knowing the reasons for selling the car would inform your choice of words for negotiation. Do respect the seller’s decision not to negotiate as some sellers would not remove a cent from the listed price of the car. Read the listing carefully, spot some indicators of the reason for selling, find out if the seller needs money urgently. Be cautious of dealers who would not disclose they are dealers online. You cannot really make much buying from these dealers as they want to make as much as possible like you do.

Ensure you research major problems the car model would have so you do not end up with nasty surprises. After inspecting the car list down all the problems so the seller can see it on paper or on your phone. It softens their minds and would most times work in your favour with negotiating down the price.

Just to remind you, research that you do not caught up with a scam or very bad car. Be very careful with the cars advertised below the current value it might be a scam. Also bear in mind sometimes that the owner does not know the value of the car or the seller wants to sell quick to pay some debts. Most times people list undervalue due to issues with the car or trying to rip you off. Do not fall for send some deposits online to hold the car for you.

Here is how we negotiate. After inspecting the car, we would list all the issues and show it to the owner with a smile . “ Hi Paul, we have inspected your car, as you know the car drives good just few marks, dents and scratches. You looked after this car not sure if you notice the ticking noise in the engine. Engine work would most times be expensive and my friend is new to the country with limited finance. Would you be kind to take $4500, I know you want $6000 for this car, but this would help to fix the engine noise.” If you think the seller is a bit stubborn with the price, look around and ask about another thing just to reduce the tension, then back to the negotiation. Sometimes the seller might like to get a second opinion from the wife, husband, kids etc. Be quick to seal the deal if in your favour without letting a third party in.

Some years back, we found 2007 Toyota Corolla the fellow moved from another state so he was not prepared to change the plates and do the paperwork. He wanted to sell it cheap. Listed for $5500 we offered $3000 cash, he accepted, we went to withdraw cash from the nearest ATM coming back the young man changed his mind and asked for $4500 last. We lost the good deal. Lesson here, always have some cash in your pocket. Seal the deal, put down deposit sign the papers come back and finish up. Good deals do not last in car flipping.

The most important tip is to always buy car so cheap, you can replace the engine if needed and still get your money back. This single tip would save you heaps of money and still make you heaps of money.

4. How To Avoid Losing Big Money While Flipping Cars

It is not strange to lose money while car flipping, lessons learnt can make you more money. However, applying some smart tips would reduce the chances of losing money and increase your chances of making more money. The aim is to make more money so you can stay in business. These are tips we have been using to reduce or even avoid losing money.

  1. When possible and safe, do test drive a car for at least 30 minutes. It takes time for the engine to heat up to start exposing some issues in the car. If a car is overheating you will notice it when the engine heats up. While test driving turn off the Radio and listen attentively to the engine and the runnings of the car. If you hear unusual sounds or noises take note of this once you stop. Note, some sellers would love to leave the Radio on to shade some issues with the car. Do not fall for distractions from the seller. Most sellers are good but some are not very honest. We shall discuss this further in the following topics. This will save you from too much headaches trying to stop an overheating problem and so on.

  2. If possible build a rapport with a mobile mechanic to assist you inspect some cars. You might spend few hundreds but would save you thousands. In the past, we used to video chat with our mechanic when he couldn’t join us to inspect on-site. It saved us heaps of money and headaches.

  3. Most sellers just want to sell and get top money for the car. They might even lie to achieve this aim so be prepared to walk away if you feel a seller is trying to cover up things about the car or the history. We spoke about conducting a background check on the car using the VIN number of the car to uncover if there is a loan on the car, company recalls, stolen or the car is written off. This will save you lots of money.

d. Avoid buying cars under the rain, paint fades and damages are barely noticeable under the rain. It might be an expensive fix.

e. As a beginner, do avoid European cars as fixing most times run in thousands of dollars. It is a quick way to lose lots of money in this business.

f. Do not get too excited with engine swap, might be enticing because of the potential profits but could be very expensive. Not recommended for first time flippers. Engine swap requires an experienced mechanic that knows the car, how to get the right engine at the best price for the car and what could go wrong swapping the engine.

5. How To Inspect Cars Before  Buying

Warning: Do not buy cars unseen hoping all would be good. You might end up with a car you do not want. Only do this if you are getting it at wrecker’s price. We shall discuss this further in the following pages.

You do not have to be an expert in the car inspections you will learn as you grow but you need some basic knowledge of what could go wrong with cars and signs of problems to keep yourself in the business. We recommend you keep learning as you go. We have carefully drafted some guidelines for you to follow.

  1. Before driving the car check the oil dipstick if the oil level is low, check for leaks in the engine watch for some hidden oil leaks use torch if possible.. Oil leaks could be a very big sign of a warm head gasket. This could be an expensive fix. Check the oil colour to see if is milky. Could be a head gasket issue oil is moving with the coolant or water. Watch out for   milky radiator cap or radiator coolant. Ask for the service log book to learn if the owner has well looked after the car or not.

Oil stains on a driveway are real sign of the condition of the car check under the engine to see where the leaks are coming from. If the top and middle engine is dry then is most likely coming from a sump leak which is less expensive just replace the gasket. Better to ring your mechanic to get a quick quote for a gasket replacement. Oil leaks from the high up the engine is probably a bigger problem.

  1. Go check the exhaust for blue smoke or too much smoke, any signs of this could be a warning sign of a blown head gasket. Usually an expensive fix.

c. Check water temperature and colour. While the engine is cold check the water colour if there is some milky stuff in it investigate further could be a sign of a blown head gasket. While test driving keep an eye on the temperature gauge of the car. Loosed or warn radiator cap could lead to an empty radiator which could lead to the car overheating. Bad Thermostat could lead to the radiator fan failing to kick in properly which could lead to an overheating. Bad radiator fan leads to an overheating as well.

Watch for smokes from the  engine could be overheating. Sometimes smokes could be a sign of some oil leaks so check well. Once engine heats up check for leaks, sometimes burning oil on the engine bay could lead to car smoking.

d. Check the radiator. Open the radiator cap and give the engine a good rev. If the water fumes or bubbles is a sign of a bad head gasket. If the coolant looks dirty or rusty is a sign of some issues in the engine. A clean coolant or clear water is a good sign. Once the car heats up open the hood and check for leaks from the radiator.

e. Engine ticking, stuttering and noises. Engine should not be loud with ticking sound. Once you turn the engine on, in idle listen for loud ticking noises. Ticking depending on the source could be something you can fix but investigate well before purchase. If the engine stutters up and down, could be needing some spark plugs or coil changing. Broken engine mount could cause engine shaking or vibration. Is usually not too expensive to fix. We recommend you check with a mechanic before purchase. It might be something more could be a warn timing. Any car with a loud rattling noise should be carefully investigated or avoided except you wish to do an expensive repair. Any of these issues could help you drive down the purchase price.

We recommend buying an OBD scanner for scanning the engines for some pending issues or permanent issues.  This can save your hundreds of dollars if not thousands.

d. Check the transmission fluid. Check for any signs of burns from the transmission fluid. Better to smell the transmission fluid from the dipstick. Check for any burnt debris or if the colour is too dark, transmission oil should be clear dark red colour. While driving watch for any slipping in gears, moving from one to three jumping two. Check if there is a delay in changing gears. Check if the car jumps here and there on the road. Transmission problems could cost more to fix than expected. Always be cautious of transmission problems when inspecting a car.

e. Check steering fluid leaks. While driving check for some wobbling in the steering column. Feel the steering whether is  stiff or smooth. Check for clunking noise, vehicle pulling aside, vibrations during driving, these are signs of bad lower control arms. At idle, ask the sell to turn the steering to full lock to both left and right, watch the steering hose for leaks. Listen to the noises too. If the power steering is very stiff could be the power steering fluid is low.

Open the hood and have a look at the car’s power steering reservoir after test drive to see if is leaking. Run down the power steering hose for signs of leaks. Replacing the hose could be generally expensive depending on the car. 

f. Test the brakes pay special attention to the brake booster. Better caution than a big regret applies while checking the brakes. You don’t really know the car yet so apply the brakes gently especially if the road is a bit wet or rough. If you notice the car going a little sideways when you apply more pressure on the brakes could be worn pads or worn shock absorbers. Not a big job. Use this to drive down the price during negotiations. Source your parts from a junk yard very cheap especially when you built a relationship with them.

Bad brake booster is a very big job to most mechanics, it is expensive. Watch out for hard brake pedals, it takes longer to stop the car, whistling sounds as a result of a vacuum leaks get worse when you apply brakes. Bad brake booster could also lead to engine stalling, if there is a massive vacuum leak in the booster, it could draw more boost than normal when you apply the brakes. It takes away from the other components, and it can cause your engine to stumble, the RPMs to drop, and your engine could stall.

g. Checking the timing belt or chains.Timing belt drives the camshafts. Replacing timing chains or belt is a big job for the mechanics so it is very expensive. Most Japanese older  cars have timing belts most large American built cars have timing chains. Timing chains last longer than timing belt almost last the life of the engine. Timing belts on the other, hands do break. It is highly recommended to be replaced every 60,000 KM. If not replaced could cause a catastrophic damage to the engine. So ask for evidence from the seller timing belt has been changed. People who would buy your car sometimes ask for this evidence as well.

6. Becoming A Car Broker

Car brokers basically assist individuals or businesses to source for new  and used cars. Like the mortgage broker, a car broker gives full description of the car to the client acting for the interest of the client. Car brokers aim to save the clients three main things.

  1. Time

  2. Hassle and Haggling

  3. Money

You can become a car broker and use other people’s money to make money. You are the middleman for the car seller and the buyer. You make money by charging commissions to your clients. You must equip yourself with the knowledge of car trends and how it works. A friend raised the capital to start flipping cars from acting as a car broker. After this training you are good to go.

7. Flipping Cars Without Car Dealership License

In some countries like USA, Australia, UK and so on, you are only allowed to flip a certain number of cars in a year without a dealer’s license. Please check if this law applies in your state.

There are ways to get around this restrictions. If you choose to flip as a hobby, you can partner with your family and friends to increase your number of cars to flip yearly. You can ask a licensed dealer to let you buy cars with the license for some tips. It works better if the dealer is happy to let you sell to the business.

8. How To Avoid Fixing The Wrong Thing In Cars To Flip

Check the value of the car! Depending on your location check the local market to get an idea of the current car value.

One of the common mistakes make by car flippers is fixing the wrong thing especially after an emotional buy. After you purchase a car, before fixing anything, ensure you bought the car good price, you didn’t overpay for this car. Check the engine and transmission. Secondly, check all the safety features in the car if all checks out, then you can start fixing the paints, the body, the bumpers and so on. Do not make the mistake of rushing to replace the panels, bumpers, do the paints and dents without doing the maths. Check your numbers before fixing anything. Changing a used tyre to brand new would not add much value to the car. A car might fail a safety check due to a bad tyre which is cheap and can also fail for a broken windshield which is a bit expensive to replace. Check your numbers very well before you start fixing and replacing some parts.

9. Renting Cars Before Flipping 

Car rental is a very lucrative part of car flipping once you do it right. Please do check the local laws to avoid troubles or fines. Put in an appropriate car rental insurance. Draw up a rental contract and check with your solicitor if possible. Ensure you are adequately protected.

Ensure car is mechanically safe and sound before it hits the road. Have a mobile mechanic to service the cars for you regularly.

Getting the right customers.  Renting a car is like renting a business shop, if the renter is making money with the item, rental  payment is guaranteed most times. If the renter is renting for leisure or just for personal run around, payment is not guaranteed. Be wary of people asking for an urgent pick up. Some people would deliberately come to rent to steal. Verify customer identification documents. Ask for three current ids with at least two showing the same residential address. If possible store credit or debit cards as well. Ensure customer can afford to keep paying for the rental car. If you suspect any trick or dubious behaviour do not let the car go. If you think something is not right then is probably wise to not rent to the person. Be very strict with your vetting. You must protect your cars against loss.

Do some background checks on everyone. Google the full name, you will be surprised what you can find sometimes. Better to rent to the people from reputable sources. As far as you are renting your cars to good people, you would not have much headaches.

Attach one or two working trackers, duplicate the car keys. If someone fails to pay or  respond to messages you can track the car and go pick up. We have repossessed two or threes cars in the last 10 years.

Be professional, do not become too friendly with the renters as they can take advantage of this friendship to default in payment. Send payment reminders timely.

10. Making Money With Parts If You Choose To Wreck

As a car flipper we mentioned the importance of putting up a “cash for cars” website, putting up numerous “cash for cars” ads online. Sometimes these ads would bring in some dead cars. You can make up to $2000 selling to the wreckers. Sometimes we sell to the wreckers without leaving the shop or spending any money. Once a customer rings for the car we pass the job down to the wreckers. We get the difference of what we pay to the customer and what we negotiated with the wrecker. Better to have multiple wreckers to ring for a maximum profit. You must build the relationship with the local wreckers first.

11. How To Flip Cars Without Leaving Your House

As mentioned earlier, first build the network with dealers and wreckers. Here is an example of how it works.

Linda finds our ads online to sell her car. “Hi my name is Linda, I want to sell 2008 Honda Accord, leaking oil with an automatic transmission issues. Car won’t start for a week now.” Ok Linda, how much are you asking for it as is? Pay $1000 she said. We usually pay more if the car is running and driving good but we can pay $450 for your car. Linda agreed. Immediately, I will ring OTP Dealership or ring M1 Wrecker offer them $900 for the Honda. They will go and p ick up from Linda and send us our $450. We do this deal all day.

12. Selling Your Cars For Profit

We sell cars to these four main groups:

  1. Private buyers: List your cars online where people can view and contact you for purchase. We use Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree for those able to access it. We put cars on the roadside where many eyes can see with “for sale” sign boldly written. Ensure you leave your number on the car so potential buyers can easily contact you. The aim is to let as many eyes as possible to see the car for sale.

  2. Dealers: For a quick sale we would contact some dealers in our list to see what they can offer for the car. Dealers would offer below market value so our first choice would be a private buyer.

  3. Auctions: Auction places always look for cars so you can take your car there for sale. Auction places would accommodate cars with mechanical issues but do let them know. You might be required to do some paperwork to get the car in for the auction. Some fees are also required by the auction when your car is sold.

  4. Wreckers: As discussed above, we sell to the wreckers whenever we get cars with issues beyond fixing or would not worth fixing.

Once you have fixed all the necessary mechanical issues and carefully detail the car inside and out. We negotiated a good deal with a nearby car wash.

Pay particular attention to the engine, clean and shine the engine. People prefer engine without oil and grease smearing around it.

Wheels and tyres must be cleaned and shining.

The body must be immaculate, Polish the paint clean up dirts and marks, people can buy a car with issues once the body is adorably clean. You can easily sell an old car with tidy body than having a fairly used newer car with paint fades, dents and scratches. People buy what they see.

Presentation is very important, do not take photos in a junk environment. Find a clean and green environment, better around evening times. Do not take photos with too much reflections on the car. Avoid taking photos on wet floors as some buyers would take it as some oil leaks.

Qualify potential buyers before fixing an inspection to avoid wasting your time. Most times those throwing offers without seeing the car could be unserious buyers. Be patient until you get the right buyer. Be open with the issues on the car if any. Buyers love honest sellers.

Additional values

Now you are good to go.

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