How to sell a car

How to sell a car

Selling a car
If it’s time to sell your car, there are time-tested steps you can take to increase its value and ensure a successful outcome for both parties. Getty Images

Congratulations! You’ve decided to sell your car, truck, or sport utility vehicle, and like most of us, you want to get top dollar for your vehicle. With used vehicle values ​​at an all-time high due to Covid-19 and the lack of chips, you have an advantage. However, there are some simple, time-tested steps that can help you really maximize the selling price of your car.

There are a few questions you should consider before selling:

  • Are you selling to buy a new or used car?
  • Are you selling because you no longer want the vehicle?
  • Are you ready to invest capital to increase your profits?
  • Do you still owe money on the vehicle you are trying to sell?

Let’s start with the last item on the list, because if you owe money, you will need to contact your lender and notify them of the potential sale to get the vehicle title ready for transfer. Most car dealers will do this for you, and the dealer’s efforts can include your existing down payment on the loan you take out on any new vehicle you buy.

If you owe more money than the car is currently worth according to popular vehicle appraisal guides, you’ve turned your loan upside down. For example, you bought your car for $30,000 and you still owe $18,000. Your vehicle is valued at $14,000 by the dealer, which means you are out $4,000.

If you want to part with the car, you will need to write a check for this amount or transfer it to a new loan. It is rarely in your favor to turn upside down, especially if you have a low credit score.

If you’re not upside down, read on to maximize your profits.

Sweat equity

I’ve bought and sold quite a few cars over the years and one thing I always get complimented on is the ‘like new’ overall condition of my vehicles. Dealerships have professional detailers to keep even abused cars looking as clean as the day they left the factory. Since it’s what you’re competing with for potential buyers, there’s no reason why your car shouldn’t look just as good.

Car details
Be prepared to do some work or pay someone to do it for you. Car dealerships employ staff to present their cars nicely to potential buyers, but doing this work yourself will get you more money for your car. Getty Images

Clean it up!

If your vehicle looks its best and runs well, you are in charge in the seller’s market. To get the maximum dollar, follow these steps:

Clean, clean, clean and clean some more – start from the outside and thoroughly wash and wax your vehicle. Be sure to run a garden hose under the car to wash dirt off the bottom and fender wells. While you want a clean engine compartment, don’t clean under the hood with water, as water can damage the underhood electronics.

Under the hood, use clean towels and a good cleaning spray like Simple Green to remove years of grime from hoods, fluid reservoirs, and anything else you can reach and safely clean. Do not clean under the hood when the vehicle is running or the engine is still hot.

After clearing the exterior and underside, apply your skills to the interior. Use a quality vacuum to remove dirt, coins, old French fries and gravel from the floor or seats. Pay particular attention to the gaps between the seats and the center or rear console. For tough stains, use a carpet or interior cleaning spray. Use the appropriate cleaners for fabric, vinyl or leather seats.

Carvana dosing tower
Online used vehicle retailers such as Carvana, Vroom and Shift have been looking to buy used vehicles for several years. They can make your sale easy and painless, but it’s well worth reading all the fine print. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A thorough cleaning and detailing will cost you about 2-7 hours depending on the condition of your car. Inside and out, it’s important to take your time and use the right cleaning sprays and waxes, as using the wrong cleaners can damage your car and reduce its resale or trade-in value.

Don’t want to roll up your sleeves? Most good detailers will charge between $150 and $600 to bring your vehicle back to life, although some high-end detailing jobs can go up to $2,000. Professional craftsmen can remove door dents and scratches, repair scratches, polish or “touch up” your paint finish to like-new condition, and detail your interior.

Even if you simply take your car through the car wash and vacuum it up, you will save money because your car will be valued at a higher value.

Sell ​​it!

Now that your ride looks great, how do you sell it? Let’s look at a few ways:

Online Used Vehicle Retailers: Online operations like Carvana and Vroom will ask for photos and mileage of your car and, based on a successful on-site inspection, check you out when they come to pick up your vehicle in a flatbed truck.

The plus side is that selling this way makes transactions quick and easy. Some offers may also be higher than what you would get from traditional retailers. On the other hand, be sure to read the entire fine print. These are still new companies, and some have had issues with ownership and payments.

To be used in the BMW interior
Dealers are certainly looking for quality used cars, but since they have access to many different sources and trades come in every day, they don’t necessarily have to pay you top dollar. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

I am selling to a representative office: Typically, sellers will underestimate your rating. Many pay more for in-demand models or, with the recent spike in gas prices, cars with good fuel economy, but they’ll usually pay as little as possible.

If you decide to go this route, you may find it helpful to get estimates from multiple vendors. Remember that you can sell your car to any dealer, even if you plan to buy a car from another dealer. Look for the best price you can get! Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the dealer for a higher estimate or walk away if there isn’t one waiting for you.

Sell ​​yourself: This option usually produces the best returns. When you sell yourself, you cut out the middle man, but you also have to do all the work of said middle man. Make sure your vehicle looks its best!

Datsun 210 station wagon
Dealers are also generally not interested in vehicles over a certain age. But there are actually a lot of people who will spend money on this 1981. Datsun 210 station wagon. Facebook is the best place for such a car, as there are many enthusiast groups that share such listings, but there are also sites for vintage car auctions. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Here is a template for selling a car to a private buyer:

Advertise. Neighbors and friends can be a good place to let people know that your car, truck, or SUV is for sale, but you’ll also want to cast a wider net. Craigslist isn’t as heavily trafficked as it used to be, but it’s still a good place to list vehicles.

Many people now advertise on the Facebook Marketplace, where you can post to multiple groups or a shared “Vehicles for Sale” page. I have had great success using this portal to buy and sell my cars. If you have a valuable or classic car, consider sites like Bring a Trailer, Hemmings and Cars & Bids. What some 1990s cars are worth today might surprise you.

Enter it in the online sales portal. CarGurus, Autotrader, and TrueCar are all for dealers, but individuals can also list cars there, giving you access nationwide for free or very low listing costs.

In some cases, these sites will also partner with local sellers to get a cash offer. Simply fill in your vehicle details and schedule an inspection with your local dealer. Once your car is valued, you will receive a check. If you decide to sell it yourself, you enter the vehicle details and upload photos.

eBay. Selling cars for over 25 years, eBay listing fees are low and you can sell your vehicle by auction (with or without reserve) or at a fixed price. You can also set sales to local or national. I live in Maryland and once bought a car online and from San Diego, CA for $1800 with closed insured shipping. The car arrived in seven days in perfect condition.

Photos of bad car list
Once you’ve cleaned your car and decided to list it, posting terrible photos will undermine your hard work. If buyers can’t see the vehicle or the listing looks terrible, you’re less likely to attract buyers. Craigslist
Photos of Good Cars List
Give your audience the best possible image of your vehicle. You don’t need to hire a professional photographer, but plenty of clear, descriptive images will attract more potential buyers. Alex Kwanten

Be creative with your post

Whichever website you choose to sell your vehicle on, be descriptive. Which record would you call first?

  • in 2015 Lexus LX570. Good condition, 95 thousand. $44,000.
  • in 2015 Lexus LX570, well maintained by original owner with full service records. Clean body with no dents or paint. Like new interior! Awesome stereo with Bluetooth! New tires! Garage kept and has always been a baby. Only 95 thousand miles. Please see the attached 12 photos and contact me (by email or phone) if you have any questions. Don’t miss out on this Lexus gem! $44,000. Come see and drive!

I’m sure we agree that the second description is better. Be sure to include clear photos of all exterior angles, under-the-hood photos to show how clean you’ve done it, photos of the trunk or hatchback, and photos of all the rows of your like-new interior. Scary photos or ones that cut off most of the car will definitely put off potential buyers. Great photos will get them calling.

In terms of general safety, it’s probably wise to arrange for the potential buyer to meet you at the local police station or another well-lit, safe location, such as a grocery store or mall. When you meet a potential buyer, take a friend with you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.