How To Get The Most Money While Selling a Car
- by: Patrick Peterson
- January 16, 2020
You get the idea. You’ll make more money in a private sale, and you’re ready to let your trusted cause don’t have to be a marketing wizard to sell your car but, if you do it right, you can put more money in your pocket—roughly 20% more. If your “old” Chevy Impala sells for $10,000, that’s an extra $2,000 to take home. Consider the alternative scenario of trading in that Impala at a dealership, where you might see $8,000 for it.
r go. That’s the easy part; now you need to make your car look as alluring as possible, so it fetches the best price. Let’s look at some proven strategies to make it happen:
What is Your Car’s Value?
The most important step is to know how much your car is worth. You might believe your best four-wheeled friend and sidekick is worth a fortune, but in fact, it is only worth what someone else will pay for it. Don’t just go with sentimental value or stubbornness; do some research and approach the sale from an informed perspective.
Several reliable online sources (Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and AutoTrader) offer free tools to research a car’s value by inputting information. Variables such as included accessories, condition, mileage, and extras like leather upholstery, navigation features, sunroof, or high-end wheels are great for adding value. On the other hand, several owners of the vehicle, accident history, or frequent maintenance can lower the price. It is also wise to review comparable cars to get an idea what they are selling for.
Write an Attention-grabbing Ad
There’s no denying the power of a well-crafted sales ad, and this is your chance to attract the most buyers. Put enthusiasm into the ad’s narrative; readers will spot that a mile away. List all of the base details such as make, model, mileage, and condition; and then really sell it in the description.
Tell readers the car runs great, it comes with a top-end sound system, or it gets amazing gas mileage. If you are the original owner, be sure to mention it. One-owner cars are a big hit with buyers. Of course, accompany the ad with plenty of high-quality photos. This is your chance to really show off your car, so don’t skip this step. Photos are your friend and a must for online sales. If you’re at a loss on what type of photos work best, pretend you’re planning to buy a car. What do you want to see in a car’s sales ad?
Take shots from as many angles as possible, from all sides of the car. Include lots of images of the interior and close-ups of sale-enhancing details. Don’t have a fancy camera? Any respectable smartphone will do the trick, and the higher resolution photos you can get, the better.
Don’t be shy about posting the ad in multiple locations. Many online resources are great for selling cars, and you can also consider local newspaper ads.
Blend Sale Price with Timing
Selling a car typically takes some time, but if you’re in a hurry, set the price about $500 below comparable vehicle prices. That difference is an instant attraction for buyers. If you can wait, go ahead and set a price that matches local advertised numbers.
At the same time, remember to set an asking price 5-10% above what you will accept or hope to receive. This is the traditional aspect of negotiation that allows the buyer and seller to walk away feeling good about the sale.
Fix it Up
This goes without saying, but unless you’re selling a car “as is,” be sure to make any needed repairs. Obvious defects, of course, such as any significant operational issues or engine concerns, should be repaired.
Don’t forget the little things, either, like a malfunctioning heater fan, squeaky brakes, small dents or scrapes that can be mended at home, or a broken turn signal. Keep in mind that buyers are comparing your car to many others, and you want to do everything possible to make yours the best of the lot.
Make it Look Great
When all of the moving parts are working well, now it’s time to give your car a good cleaning. Cars that bring the best prices are those in great condition, and it starts on the outside. A pro can detail your car for $100-$200 if you don’t have time or believe it is worth the investment. However, a couple of hours and the right supplies make this an ideal DIY project.
Dirty floor mats or upholstery stains are a big turnoff for buyers, as are strange smells. Grab some quality auto care products and get that interior looking showroom-worthy (or at least clean up the spilled kid snacks and stray candy wrappers.)
On the outside, fill in any glaring scratches on the body, clean both sides of the windows, and rub on a good coat of wax. Nothing attracts buyers like seeing their reflection in your car’s shiny paint job.
Tell the Whole Story
Share with potential buyers what’s great about your car and why they should buy it. Be honest but go ahead and brag; every car has at least one good thing that someone else will like as well. For example, if your car handles exceptionally well, relate that to a buyer.
On the same token, don’t hide problems. Tell buyers about the car’s flaws or quirks upfront; honesty goes a long way in making a sale.