You want your prospective buyer to see a shiny clean car. They do not want to see clutter, deferred maintenance and dirt. That will turn them off completely. Most people do not want to buy a project car (rusty, broken, classic, modern, muscle car) is for a hobbyist. Your buyer will expect a vehicle of interest to be 100% in order. If it isn’t they will not consider buying and paying good money for your car. Buyers almost always choose the cleaner car with documented maintenance. The day you purchase your car is the day to start preparing for its resale. Keep maintenance records and inspection reports with the owner’s manual. Do the manufacturer recommended maintenance and keep the records. Keep the car clean and polished and waxed yearly. If you do this your car will command a higher resale value.
What If I Didn’t Take Good Care of My Car?
Consider auto reconditioning. No used car will be immediately ready for retail. Investing a small amount of time and money to fix minor issues can significantly boost a vehicle’s retail value. This is the purpose of reconditioning.
Auto reconditioning usually includes, but is not limited to…
- Engine repairs
- Oil and filter changes
- Maintenance on the drive train and suspension
- Equipping new brake pads or tires
- Fixing dents, chipped paint, cracked windows
- Buffing out scratches
Auto reconditioning attempts to restore a vehicle to its optimal condition so it can be sold at the maximum price the market will allow. It is not uncommon to spend $100 on a visual improvement for a $1,000 boost in value. Plus it would make the car sell faster.
Auto detailing usually includes, but is not limited to…
- Car wash
- Bug Removal
- Wheel Wells Cleaned
- Tires Dressed
- Wheels Cleaned
- Complete Hand Wax
- Carpet Shampooed
- Mats Shampooed
- Upholstery Cleaned
- Interior Vinyl,
- Leather Treated
- Interior Disinfected
- Door Jambs Cleaned
- Vents Blown Out
- Headliner Cleaned
- Engine Cleaned
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A Used Car Seller’s Checklist
- Clean the battery
- Replace the belts
- Service the tires and replace if worn
- Replace windshield wiper blades if they are more than 6 months old
- Replace any burned out lights
- Empty the glove box except the owners manual and insurance papers and registration
- Make sure the A/C blows cold
- Clean the engine compartment with an engine cleaner spray
- Clean out the trunk
- Clean and condition all surfaces and seats
- If your alloy wheels are damaged have them repaired
- Remove bumper stickers and personalized licence plate frames
Rate Your Car’s Value
Visit the Kelly blue book. Use this valuation tool. It spells out what a used car’s value should be by zip code. Use Edmund’s appraisal tool as a second opinion. The used car appraisals provides the most accurate price for your current car, so you’ll be able to make the best decision when it’s time to sell or trade. Simply enter the year, make, model, and options of your car to get your free appraisal. The difference between a car ( less than five years old) in fair condition and same one in good condition is typically $1,000 or more.
Selling your Car Online
OK you have your car all ready to put it up for sale. The old strategy of making a For Sale sign and placing it on the windshield and running a classified ad in the local paper is no longer the way to sell your car. According to J. D. Power and Associates well over 2/3 of people who buy used cars surf the net during the process. So it is simple, you need to list it on some of the popular selling sites.
Choosing Your Used Car Website
- eBay Motors is a large automotive marketplace. It is car auction style , you have control over pricing. As an eBay seller you can reserve level or minimum sales price. The biggest downside may be that bids are non-binding, so a buyer can back out for any reason at any point in the process.
- Auto Trader.com offer a more traditional sales processes. sellers like the fact that some listing packages come with a money back guarantee (no sale, no charge) and listings are syndicated on Kelley Blue Book. There’s also the option to sell to a dealership for a faster sale or even to get an instant cash offer on the site. Again, if a speedy sale is more important to you than getting top dollar, Auto Trader is one of the sites that make it easy to unload a vehicle fast.
- Cars.com is still the gold standard for auto sales because they syndicate their listings so widely, and they have a huge inventory. When you sell a car on Cars.com — whether you choose the free listing option or one of the paid options — your listing may be syndicated on their other properties (Auto.com, PickupTrucks.com, and NewCars.com) and on the sites of Cars.com affiliates. They also offer sellers the option of making quick sales to dealers, so if you need to move your vehicle fast, you can.
- Craigslist.com is actually free. The problem is ads aren’t as well structured. You’re left to create your own format. A Craigslist ads only last a few days. You need to repost it if it does not sell in those few days.
Taking good Photos is a Must
A used car listing without photos will be completely overlooked. Use lots of quality photos. Show both interior and exterior pictures. Display the car’s true condition. Use a photo of the odometer it shows buyers that you are honestly disclosing everything . If you car has special options take pictures and highlight them. The more detailed your listing the better your ad will perform.
What Paperwork Do I Need to Sell My Car?
Selling a car yourself may seem like a complicated process, but if you do your homework up front and prepare for the experience, you’ll likely find it’s the ideal way to get the most money for your car with minimal inconvenience. A key task when preparing to sell a car is to make sure you have all the necessary documents together so you can smoothly (and legally) transfer ownership. Here’s a checklist of what you should have ready as you start the selling process…
- Vehicle History Report – When you place your ad, you may want to include your vehicle identification number (VIN), as some buyers will want to check the car’s history for themselves.
Maintenance records It’s one thing to mention in your ad that your car has been meticulously maintained. It’s quite another to have proof.
- Warranty Documentation – If you have a transferable warranty, it can justify an increase in your asking price for the car or help you stick to your guns if a buyer wants to bargain the price down.
- As-Is Documentation – Outside of transferring an existing warranty, you should make it clear in writing that there are no implied warranties when you sell your used car. This ensures that the buyer acknowledges and understands that he is accepting all future responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the vehicle.
- Odometer Disclosure – The Truth in Mileage Act, a federal law, requires the seller of a motor vehicle to provide an odometer disclosure to the buyer at the time of sale or transfer of ownership. This applies to all motor vehicles less than 10 years old up to and including 12,000 lbs.
- Title – He who holds the title owns the vehicle. If the title is currently in your possession, great. You are equipped to complete the sale of your vehicle on the spot. Once the buyer’s funds are securely in your possession, you simply need to sign the title over and hand the new owner the keys.
- Bill of Sale – While not required, a Bill of Sale is a good idea because it documents the terms and conditions of the sale in writing.
Set your price low enough to attract a buyer, but high enough to allow for some negotiation. The truth is used car sales are strong yet competitive. So good luck, and happy selling!!
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