More than 40-million used cars were sold last year – a United States record. Prices for used vehicles also rose, and with the microchip shortage, experts aren’t expecting things to slow down anytime soon.
But if you’d like to get the most money possible for your “previously loved” vehicle, you can’t just park it in the front yard with a “for sale” sign in the windshield. You’ll need to do your homework.
Beyond finding the right buyer, use the tips below to get the most money possible for the car you plan to sell.
Avoid Selling To A Dealer
Have you thought about trading your current vehicle for a new one from a local dealership? If so, rethink this decision.
It’s a fact that you can make much more on your used vehicle when you sell it privately (i.e., for sale by owner).
Dealers must make money on the used vehicles they accept as part of a trade. Because of this, they buy low and sell high. Therefore, they will offer as little money as they can for your used vehicle. Since a dealer is also negotiating every day (and you probably aren’t), they will be much better at convincing you that they have made a great offer.
While there can be exceptions to this, especially if you have a newer vehicle that is coming off-lease, it’s worth noting that dealers are convenient. For this reason, you will not get top dollar for your used car.
Provide Proof Of Ongoing Preventative Maintenance And Care
If you want to get the most money out of your vehicle when you are ready to sell, you must ensure it is appropriately cared for. This means investing in preventative maintenance.
You need to invest in these services and provide a potential buyer with proof of the maintenance and service. Some of the types of preventative maintenance you should give evidence of include:
The motor oil in your vehicle keeps the engine working properly. This is done by lubricating all the moving parts. The protective barrier also helps regulate the engine temperature while preventing corrosion, which may cause expensive and dangerous damage that can appear on the vehicle history report when you are ready to sell.
It’s necessary to provide maintenance for other vehicle parts, such as spark plugs, brake pads, and air filters. All these are essential to prolonging your vehicle’s life. While the parts may seem small and unimportant, you should never underestimate their role in your vehicle’s health and efficiency.
Keep it Clean
While it may not seem important, keeping your vehicle clean will help secure the car’s resale value. Try to take your vehicle through a touch-free car wash to prevent fading and rust.
This may seem obvious, but it will reduce its value if your vehicle is involved in an accident. Even if you invest in repairs, cars repaired after an accident are considered a “red flag” on your vehicle history report.
Even in situations where the exterior looks fine, the buyer doesn’t have any way to know the residual or long-term effects of the accident. For this reason, they may look elsewhere to make a purchase.
Gather The Needed Paperwork
If you plan to sell your vehicle, you must provide the buyer with specific documents. Ensure you gather all the paperwork listed below to ensure the sale goes smoothly.
Your vehicle’s title shows you are its legal owner. You must sign the title to a new owner after the sale. If you are still making payments on your car loan, the lender will hold the title. It’s necessary to pay the loan balance in full before transferring the title to the buyer.
A Bill of Sale
The department of motor vehicles in your state may require you to fill out a bill of sale when you sell your car. You can probably download the form from the website. Make sure you check on the website to see if your state requires any other paperwork.
Repair and Maintenance Records
A potential buyer will want proof that your vehicle was well cared for while you owned it.
Prepare Your Vehicle For Sale
It doesn’t matter if you plan to sell your car in San Jose, CA, to a cash buyer, dealer, or private buyer, visual appeal matters. Just like with your home, curb appeal for your vehicle matters. If you want to get the most money possible for your used car, you should clean it up and take quality interior and exterior photos.
Be sure to prepare the vehicle to ensure you can capture great-looking photos from every angle, including up-close shots of all the details and features it offers.
We recommend you wait to take the photos on a nice day when optimum lighting is present. Instead, consider going to a location with a lovely ambiance, like on top of a parking garage with the skyline behind the vehicle. Be sure to eliminate all distractions, such as other vehicles or garbage from the shot.
Having quality photos of a clean car will help you attract more attention and may help you get a better offer.
Determine Your Asking Price
If you want to set a reasonable price for your vehicle, you need a valuation estimate. But, again, it’s possible to acquire this information by visiting online sites.
To determine an accurate valuation, make sure to provide information about the vehicle, including model, make, mileage, optional features and equipment, and the current condition. Then, based on where you are looking for the valuation, you may be provided the estimated trade-in value for your zip code. You may also receive the vehicle’s value for a private party sale.
You will almost immediately discover the disparity in the price for a dealer trade-in versus a private party sale. Use the numbers as an estimate or guide when determining the asking price for your vehicle. Figure out a price of approximately 20% higher than what you are willing to accept based on the valuation of your car.
It’s essential to make sure that the description of the vehicle you write is honest and accurate. You may even want to provide potential buyers with a copy of your vehicle history report.
It doesn’t matter if you share in person or online; offering as much information as you can provide to vehicle buyers confidence that you aren’t attempting to hide a problem or defect. Transparency is also going to create that all-important foundation of trust. In the end, it will get you closer to your original asking price.
Advertise Your Vehicle
It would help to let potential buyers know you are selling your vehicle. If you plan to sell at a dealership (which is not recommended for the most money), be sure to get quotes or offers from multiple dealers. This is going to help you get the best price.
You will offer basic information about the vehicle, including condition and mileage. You will also need to go to the used car lot (in some cases), so the salespeople can inspect the car you want to sell.
If your goal is to sell to a private party, it’s necessary to create an ad. You can post the ad anywhere; just be honest when writing the description. Include as much information as you can. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and think about what you would want to know.
Take high-quality photos of the vehicle from different angles and make sure you capture the pictures at the right time of the day. When posting your for-sale ad, consider using a dedicated phone number or email address to protect your privacy. Doing this will also make it easier to ensure you respond to every potential buyer who asks a question or requests to see the vehicle.
Are You Ready to Sell Your Vehicle?
If you want to sell your vehicle for the most money possible, it’s a good idea to use the tips and information above. However, when selling a car, you need to ensure you aren’t losing too much or jeopardizing your financial situation.
This will pay off and give you the funds needed to purchase another vehicle, pay off debt, or do something else that you needed to with the funds earned from the sale. Being informed is the best way to sell your vehicle for the most money.