Your reasons for wanting to sell your car may vary – anything from needing money urgently to upgrading (or downgrading) to a model that suits you much better. You will always have several options when you decide to sell. You can sell to people in your circle – friends and family. You can sell to strangers, a local used car dealership, or even a national retailer.
Whichever the case and whoever you sell to, the aim is to get the most value for your car. Not many sellers hit their intended target, with most settling for lower bids for whatever reason. Fortunately, the actions covered in this article put the power to make that happen in your hands.
Prep the Car for Potential Buyers
It is no secret that people place a lot of value on physical appearance and that first impressions matter. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that your car looks its best. Make sure that any dents, scratches, and other unwanted marks on the body are repaired by a professional. As good as you may be at doing your own repairs, you run the risk of making things worse and losing out on a few more dollars.
Make sure the interior looks as good as the post-repair exterior. Clean all the surfaces, seat belts, vacuum beneath the seats and the seats themselves.
With the visual aspect taken care of, you should then make sure that the car has no mechanical problems. Have a professional mechanic (preferably one that you trust) go over everything and do any necessary repairs. Make sure to keep all the maintenance logs and receipts with you as buyers may want to see them.
To top off the prep, you should consider obtaining a vehicle history report for the buyers’ convenience. It is a document with important information about the vehicle like any accidents it has been in and it is proof of a working odometer. This information puts the buyers at rest and if positive can solidify a buyer’s interest.
Have a Number in Mind
How can you determine how much your car is worth?
There are a number of online resources that estimate the valuation of a car based on parameters like make & model, mileage, manufacture date, equipment, and the car’s condition. This varies by region.
You’ll want to do this research as you will be able to determine a baseline price. This price range is either from a private party value or a trade-in value depending on who you’re looking to sell the car to.
Target Individual Buyers
Selling it to a dealer or having someone sell the car for you is a tempting proposition. You have a lot less to worry about if you are not directly involved in the sale, right? Well, you will not get value for your car either.
Car dealers are in the business of buying low and selling high, meaning that they will try to lowball you at every turn to ensure bigger profits for themselves. On the other hand, selling to private/ individual buyers almost always guarantees a higher value.
Car dealerships negotiate for a living and will almost always win out in the end. With that said, they offer the convenience of not having to deal with the unknowns of private buyers and may, occasionally, offer decent value – especially for newer cars.
Selling a car means having to be physically present to show it to potential buyers. There are inherent security risks, especially if the buyers are strangers. As such, ensure that you never invite potential buyers to your home. Instead, pick a public location with a lot of human traffic. You can also bring a friend with you. You should also always do the showings during the daytime.
Be very vigilant with potential buyers before showing the car to them. Ask for the license beforehand so that you can properly look them up and be able to identify them. Also, always be in the car for any test drives and always follow COVID-19 protocols for your safety and theirs.
Bring any important documents like the maintenance receipts and be ready for all questions for the buyer. This will always give a good impression.
Make sure as many people as possible know that your car is up for sale. The wider the audience, the greater your chances of getting a good offer. Make sure that the ad is as flattering to your vehicle as possible without over-selling or outright lying.
Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and include as much information as is necessary.
Be Ready to Negotiate
A buyer’s first offer will almost always be lower than your asking price and you should be ready for that. Be firm and shut down any ‘disrespectful’ or ‘time-wasting’ bids outright.
Circumstances may make the sale time-sensitive. If this is the case, you may accept a value that is less but not way off.
When a price is agreed on, make sure you use your preferred method of payment and verify that everything is in order before handing over the keys.