How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

Selling a car is a tricky business. Even if your ride is perfect, you can still end up getting way less than it is worth, or wait for weeks or months to sell it.

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

There are many mistakes you can do when selling a used car, and the worst of them will make you lose money, and you can even be scammed into losing even more dough.

There are other errors that you may do out of lack of knowledge or because things quietly passed right by you.

Car buyers are picky these days, and those who pay top dollar for their acquisitions want to be sure they get a good deal and buy a fine vehicle.

Your job, as a seller, is to be fair about what you own and to make sure you are dealing with another decent person. We might live in the age of The Internet and all, but scams and cons are even more widespread than they used to be.

So use your common sense and follow our five-step guide to selling your car. Before embarking on this procedure, make sure you are certain that you want to sell your vehicle. However, do not make immediate plans with the estimated value, as it may still take some time to sell it, even at a fair price and with a good ad.Check the market, price accordingly

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

You are sure that you want to sell your car, but where do you start? Check out online websites where individuals like you sell their cars. Go to reputable ones, not any shady webpage you find, and make a table with asking prices of the vehicles that are similar to yours.

If there are many of them or there is no other car like yours, you can check Kelley Blue Book, or other similar appraisal websites. Let us imagine you have figured out which is the most expensive and which is the cheapest vehicle similar to yours.

Make an average and then check again how the models that have an asking price around that particular value look. Do they look better than yours? Do they have more features, fewer miles? Are they newer? You need to know this and make an objective assessment, because your car is not worth more than an identical one just because you owned it, unless you are a celebrity.

If you still feel that you cannot do a fair assessment of your car, ask your best friend for an honest, no-bull, opinion. Once you get the friend appraisal, think of how much money you would want for your car, and now make a proportion of the average asking price of the vehicles similar to yours, the friend's assessment, and your desired sum. Find out everything about your vehicle and look up your documents, to prove you have a reason for your asking price.Thorough Cleaning

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

In this story, we are presuming you are selling a fully functional vehicle, which has everything it needs to drive off when the key is turned into the ignition and the accelerator is applied. So we are not covering any repair damage, maintenance, or other mechanical issues.

However, we are focusing on aesthetic problems and cleanliness. So, the first thing you have to do is clean your vehicle thoroughly. This includes removing stickers, taking out personal belongings, and getting the car or truck as clean as possible. If you have access to a driveway, electricity, and running water, it is just a weekend job you can do on your own.

Vacuum the seats, carpets, dash, and trunk. Feel free to clean the engine bay a bit. It will not hurt. Install a quality air freshener (avoid liquid solutions, as they may stain your upholstery), and make sure there are no stains in your car. If you are a smoker, stop doing it in your vehicle. The smell left by cigarettes in a cabin takes days, weeks, or months to disappear, if it ever does.

Wash the exterior thoroughly, and consider waxing or even polishing your paint. Waxing is a labor intensive job that gets a great finish and lasts up to six months, while polishing is a bit more tricky for a DIY job, so be advised.

If the vehicle has any scratches or minor dents and is still worth a few thousand dollars, seek the aid of a professional repair service. Some of these specialists work without repainting and can fix some minor dents or scratches.

If you own a more expensive vehicle, consider taking it to a detailing specialist. You will get an impressive result most of the time.

However, owning a less expensive vehicle does not ensure you can skip the cleaning step, as it is a matter of respect to the buyer to show a car that is as clean as possible both on the inside and outside. After about two hours of work with a vacuum cleaner, a hose, a few buckets, and dedicated automotive cleaning solutions, you can get a nice result. Then, make sure you maintain it that way until it leaves your possession.Photos and Advertising

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

As this point, you have a clean and tidy car, that looks its best. If you are not good at photos, ask a friend with a camera or a good smartphone to take some pictures of your car. This is a crucial aspect, as it may throw off potential buyers. You know how your car looks, but the customer does not.

Avoid low-res images, Contre-Jour photos, and make sure you have a big gallery prepared if someone asks for more pictures. If you want to take the photos yourself, do not take them in your driveway, and seek a nice spot that provides a good background for your car.

Do not take the photos early in the morning or the middle of the day, as the sun might ruin your images. Avoid photoshopping or adding any filters to the pictures, as the customer might get overexcited about the beautiful car they saw in the ad and be disappointed when they see your ride in natural light and with no Instagram-ish filters.

Save the photos in your computer and a cloud, so they will be easier to share. Now it is time to put together a sales ad for online websites. From eBay Motors to Craigslist, there are many options available.

Write an honest and detailed ad. Mention every feature your car has and emphasize the options. Specify mileage, power, transmission, wheels, and any relevant feature on your vehicle. If you have a full-service history, are the first owner, and have other perks, mention these. Do not forget to spellcheck and use good grammar.

Last but not least, post your ads on websites that request an account for publishing an ad. This way, you can always edit, monitor, and remove your ad when you please. Otherwise, you might be called years later for an inquiry about your car.

Beware – once you put your phone number online, you might be called at any hour of the day, so consider this before posting it. The same goes for your e-mail address, so be careful about sharing contact information. Show&Tell

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

Depending on the vehicle you are selling and its price, you can expect to be contacted by prospected buyers in the hours and days after posting your ad.

Make sure the person who wrote is an actual human and not a spam bot (these have poor grammar and request you send them pictures and a weird address).

Read their questions twice and provide a polite response, even if you have to say no. If you get a phone call, be calm, and act civilized. Nobody wants to buy things from jerks, remember that.

In the case of an out-of-state buyer, provide a walk-around video of your car and ask them if they know a person in your area willing to see the vehicle for them. This way, you both save money and time on trips and might strike a deal. Do not travel too far to meet the prospective customer, as you might waste time, fuel, and money for the trip and get nothing in return.

Once you have set a meeting time and place (hint: not at your house and not at night), meet the prospective buyer. It is a good idea to let a friend or relative know where you are going and what you are going to do, or bring a friend with you for extra safety. It is less likely for you to get carjacked when you are not alone.

Arrive at the meeting point on time and be polite. Use your common sense to get a feel for the buyer’s personality. If you do not trust them, do not let them drive your car. If you meet in a parking lot, park the vehicle in a place where it takes more maneuvers to exit, to deter potential theft attempts. Do not leave personal belongings in the car with the buyer, and do not leave the keys in the ignition when they are in the driver’s seat. Making the deal

How to Sell Your Car in Five Easy Steps

Set a minimum reserve price for your car and keep it to yourself. Most buyers might give you a low-ball offer in a negotiation. Use your better judgment on this and try to find a price in between your asking value and their proposition. Not every discussion on price ends favorably, so it is okay to say no and drive away. Do this in a polite manner, as they might change their mind the next day if you are polite enough.

You must be patient and not sell yourself short. Consider giving nice people better deals than you give hagglers or potential car flippers or middlemen. Have a chat with the individual and find out what they want from the vehicle, as it may not be for them. A notable example would be a tuned vehicle or a performance car for a beginner driver. They might crash it immediately after they leave.

Be informed beforehand and know what kind of forms you need to fill out for selling a vehicle. Be sure to mention “as is” on the bill of sale, to limit your liability. Do not let the other person leave with your car until you finish the paperwork and get the money you agreed on.

Last but not least, keep your money in a safe place and remove all personal belongings from the vehicle before you part ways. Sell it exactly as agreed upon when you showed it to the buyer, do not try to trick them by removing extra components or parts. That is unfair and illegal. The steps mentioned above are valid even when you trade-in your old vehicle for a new one, and for when you sell it to a professional car dealer.
They might have better skills at negotiating, but stand your ground and explain why you want the asking price for the car, and prove it with paperwork and your previous research on the topic.

Informed people are harder to trick, and knowledge is readily available these days – all you need is time and attention.

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