How To Sell Your Car in Three Easy Steps

October 26th, 2010

Aston Martin for sale

Have a car to sell? There are two ways to sell it fast:

1. Price it ridiculously low, spray-paint the price on a piece of weathered plywood, and park the car at a busy intersection, or

2. Price it competitively, advertise in the right places, and make it absolutely shine!

I tend to put a high value on money and want to pocket every cent I can get out of a car, even when I need to sell quick. That’s why I prefer method two. But how do you find the perfect price, where are the right places to advertise, and how can you make your car outshine the competition? Read on for answers!

Choose a competitive price

Pricing your car is obviously the first step after you decide to sell. That process alone can be daunting. Besides considering how much you owe on any remaining loan balance, you have to consider how many miles are on the car and whether that number is high or low relative to its model year. Then you need to research prices on similar vehicles for sale in your market. It’s tempting to price high to give yourself negotiating room, but be careful, because you run the risk of limiting the number of responses you’ll get. I believe it’s better to price slightly lower and be firm on your price.

A cool new tool that compares your car with other local vehicles on the market is the CarGurus price calculator, which calculates a value for your car based on an average price for similar vehicles of the same year with similar mileage. Pretty cool, huh? It also shows comparable listings, which is a great starting point for choosing an asking price. It also makes sense to check out Kelley Blue Book and NADA in your initial research.

Advertise in the right places

Or you could just get her to stand by your car...

While newspaper readership is declining, I’m still a fan of local auto classifieds sections, and think they’re a worthwhile place to spend some money to advertise your car.

Also look for websites to place your ad free online. You’ll have the option to list your car for sale on the CarGurus DealFinder for free after using the price calculator, which exposes your car to over 3 million visitors every month.

And, it probably won’t hurt to park the car at a busy intersection for some local exposure, but print out the price calculator results first and tape that to the window, especially if your asking price is below average.

Make your car shine

I mean that both figuratively and literally. Give your car a thorough detailing: Wash, wax, vacuum, clean the windows, polish the wheels, and remove the gum from the rear storage bins. Make sure the car is spotless every time a potential buyer comes to see it.

Also, go the extra mile and provide an AutoCheck/CarFax report or the report from the federal government’s vehicle database. If you have them, provide all service records and receipts and make it clear that you are OK with a buyer taking the car to a mechanic for a non-biased opinion.

Finally, be honest about your car. If it has a broken taillight cover or a rip in the interior leather, point it out to buyers instead of trying to hide the damage. Your honesty will be appreciated, and a buyer will realize that if you’re pointing out small damage, you’re not likely hiding anything major.

Was your experience smooth last time you sold a car?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

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