Selling a used car isn’t as straightforward as you would think. A lot of people get shortchanged for their vehicles because they didn’t plan ahead or rushed the sale.
To get the most money out of your old car, you need to have a sales strategy that involves research, elbow grease and a little bit of showmanship.
These tips can help get you to get there. Are you ready?
Improve Your Car’s Appearance
It only takes a few seconds to make an excellent first impression, and the rule applies to cars as well. Appearances are everything. Most used car buyers will choose a shiny old car that looks new over an old clunker any day.
To get the most money out of your used car, have all the dents and kinks repaired. It’s also a good idea to have your car professionally detailed to restore its old showroom shine. If you don’t have bodywork or painting experience, avoid doing the repairs yourself.
Freshen-up the Interiors
After fixing the bodywork, focus on the interiors. Again, it won’t hurt to hire a professional to repair and freshen up your car’s interiors. A good rubbing with a dashboard cleaner can help with dull interiors and protect it from the sun as well.
Know Your Car’s Value
Go to a used car lot or an auto dealership that accepts trade-ins. Tell them that you’re selling your car and would like to know its current value. You won’t be selling your car here because you can’t expect much from a trade-in offer. The purpose is to get a number that contrasts with your car’s real market value.
Avoid the Trade-In
You’ll get significantly less money when you sell your car to a dealership as a trade-in. Avoid trade-in offers at all cost and only use dealerships for appraisal purposes. Your best bet is to sell it to an individual or private buyer.
After you get an appraisal, head home, and go to the vehicle research site, Kelly Blue Book. Enter your car’s details, such as the model number and mileage. The site will show the average market value of your vehicle based on the options and location you provide. Armed with these numbers, you now have a better understanding of what your car is worth and what repairs you can feasibly make.
Practice Your Negotiation Skills
Your negotiation skills can go a long way in getting a reasonable price for your old car. Use the valuation you got from Kelly Blue Book and increase it by 10 – 20 percent. Raising the price a little will give you some wiggle room to negotiate and covers the cost of having your car repaired. Don’t entertain lowball offers and learn the art of walking away from a deal. Always be ready with a vehicle history report for a quicker sale.
Sell It Yourself
The best resource for selling your old car is by using your personal network. Ask family, friends, and co-workers if they’re looking to buy a used car or if they know someone who is. Post the details on your social media page for more exposure. You can also post an ad online on eBay, Craigslist, or CarMax. Finally, get a “FOR SALE” sign, leave it on your car and display it in an area with high foot traffic.
Don’t settle for less when selling a used car. After all, your old workhorse served you well in the past and can do so again for a worthy new owner. Make sure that you’re getting the most money out of it so you can fund your next car purchase.
Patrick Peterson is a writer/editor at AutoDetective. Born and raised in the automotive world. He’s a passionate writer who likes writing about everything related to cars and bikes.