Looking to sell your car?
There’s good news: the used car market is hot right now. Sales of used cars in the U.S. have been on the uptick in recent years and nearly 40 million pre-owned automobiles are expected to find good homes this year.
But that doesn’t mean you can slap a “For Sale” sign on your car’s windshield and expect it to be off your hands in a matter of hours. There’s still a bit of prep work and creativity needed when selling a vehicle.
Here are five tips you need to know about when selling your car that can help you attract a buyer promptly.
1. Get It Tuned Up
Is your ride overdue for an oil change or a set of new tires? Now is the time to take care of any minor maintenance before you list it for sale.
Also, make a list of any work you’ve recently had done. Be sure to mention it in your classified ad, as it can help sell your vehicle.
Keep in mind that any major repairs needed won’t drive up the value of your car. You may want to let the next owner deal with it, but just be very upfront and honest about any work it needs.
You may also want your regular mechanic or dealership service department to create a report of the working condition of your vehicle. Showing potential owners a copy of the report will attest to the car’s driving ability. Hopefully, you’ve also kept copies of your maintenance records through the years, so the new owner knows what was replaced and when.
2. Clean It
You may have the fastest or most luxurious machine in your neighborhood up for sale but if it’s not clean, it can turn away potential buyers. Looks do matter when selling an automobile. Even if you have an older model car, keeping it clean and spiffed up can make it more appealing.
At the very least, you should wash and wax the outside and give the interior a good vacuuming and dusting. Consider having the vehicle professionally detailed inside and out; it’ll look like brand new. Be prepared for buyers who may want to see the car on short notice by making sure it always looks presentable.
Remove all personal items from the inside of your car and clean out any junk. The last thing a buyer wants to see is toys and personal belongings crammed into the back seat or trunk. A totally empty vehicle helps others see how much space the car offers and they can better envision it as belonging to them.
3. Take Good Photos
Now that your car has been prepped for showing, it’s important to take several quality photos of both the interior and exterior. Take a photo showing the current number on the odometer, and don’t forget to take pictures of the trunk, engine, tires, and the car from all angles.
The photos should be taken in decent sunlight on a calm weather day and should accurately represent your car. Post photos that are sharp and show off the best details.
4. Set a Price and Advertise
One of the trickiest steps when selling a car is knowing how to price it fairly so it sells.
A guidebook such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com will help give you a price range for your car’s make and model based on its mileage and overall condition. You can also check classified ads for the same year car as yours to get an idea of what it should go for.
Be prepared for bargaining. Listing your vehicle about 5 to 10% higher than its actual value may entice a buyer to negotiate with you for a slightly lower price. In this scenario, by accepting their offer, you’ll still get a good deal on your car.
Post your car’s ad online. Include a detailed description that lists its year, number of miles, color, horsepower, transmission type, and all features. Add any recent new parts or maintenance done.
Craigslist, CarGurus, Autotrader, and Cars.com are all ideal sites to list your ad. Facebook Marketplace is also becoming a popular platform to sell a car, and it’s free as long as you have a Facebook profile. You may even want to try the old school route and place a classified ad in the local paper.
5. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Let your contacts know you’re selling your car!
Post a link to the listing on your Facebook page or other social media accounts and ask people to share it. Don’t discount the power of word-of-mouth marketing.
What If I Need to Sell It Fast?
Maybe you need money fast or you don’t have time to schedule showings of your car to potential buyers.
You can always sell your car for cash to an equity purchase company that specializes in buying vehicles. This site is an example of such a company, and they’re similar to home buyers that pay cash upfront for a property.
Selling Your Car Is Easy
Selling your car is easy once you know the proper steps to take.
Above all, be honest about the car’s condition, show it in the best possible light, and price it right for the best results. Be patient, and before long, the right buyer will drive it home.
Does your car need repairs that you think you can manage yourself before you list it for sale? Then check out our Auto Repair posts. We have advice on car problems you can easily fix yourself, selling an old junker, and much more.