Helpful Tips to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Car

When the time comes to get rid of your car, there are no shortage of options available to you. Between shady used car sellers that claim to buy any car, online car consigners that want to sell your car for you, and normal dealerships that accept used cars for trade in value when purchasing a car from them– selling your own car has become a lost art form. Thankfully after making the tough decision to sell your own car, listing has never been easier thanks to free online marketplaces like Craigslist. Now the tough part is getting your car to stand out in a sea of other used autos, and the most money possible for it when it does sell. Below are a few tips to help ensure you get the best possible selling price for your car.

1. Wash and wax the exterior, and detail the interior

Washing car

Although it may be old to you, your car is gonna be new to somebody, and selling a clean and shiny car really completes that new car experience for the next potential owner. You don’t even have to buy fancy cleaning supplies– often you can use everyday household items to get the job done. Take the time to vacuum out the food crumbs and pet hair, and give it a nice, thorough wash and a fresh coat of wax. This also serves as a chance for you to properly say goodbye to your car, with which you likely have some fond memories– unless you’re a robot or you loathed it.

2. Shoot some high quality photos

Photographing car with phone

No need to hire a professional, or even get your hands on a fancy camera. If you have a smartphone made within the last few years, chances are the built in camera is up to the task. Time of day and weather are very important when taking good photos. Cloudy, overcast days provide some of the best natural lighting for shooting cars. Sunny days provide strong glares and extreme variations between light spots and dark spots, which cameras have a hard time compensating for. If you’re not lucky enough to have an overcast day, then shoot in the evening, as it will give the same type of desirable results. Shoot pictures of both interior and exterior, from every angle possible.

3. Research your car’s actual and perceived value before setting the price

Price researching

Check the blue book value using a couple different websites; the vehicle history report may suggest your particular vehicle is worth more than blue book value based on mileage, previous number of owners, and accident history. Compare this price to what similar vehicles are selling for in your area. Many people list their cars for far more than blue book value, so price yours competitively with these. Make sure to list any special features that were an optional add-on, are unique to your vehicle, or that people may not think to look for, such as an auxiliary jack for the stereo or xenon headlights vs standard halogens.

4. Get a vehicle history report, and have the service records ready

Vehicle service records

Getting a vehicle history report will cost you less than $50, and shows potential buyers you’re not trying to hide anything. It adds an extra level of transparency which will be largely appreciated, plus it saves the buyer from spending the money on a report themselves. Same goes for the service records– having them available and ready to view shows that you’ve maintained the car, and have the proof to back it up. If you maintain the car yourself or have a friend do it for you, keep a logbook of any and all repairs and services you perform.

5. Be open to negotiation

Price negotiation

It helps to have a bottom line price in mind before listing the car. Decide what the minimum amount you would sell the car for before you even show it. Then if someone tries to negotiate for less money than you’re asking, you can very clearly and concisely say yes or no to their offer. It also helps to think of things that you could offer to get a higher asking price, such as offering to do the next oil change for free if asking price is met. Conversely, you can think of things that you can remove to reduce the price, such as removing an aftermarket roof rack or performance part that is currently installed if the asking price is not met. Then you can sell those parts later to make up the difference.

As when dealing with any online transaction, it’s important to exercise safety. Meet at public places during daylight hours, and get cash only if you need it, as opposed to carrying it around with you. Never meet in empty parking lots or late at night.If they want to take the car for a pre-purchase inspection, suggest they have a qualified technician do a pre-purchase inspection on site. Despite the fact that selling your car can be troublesome and intimidating, it’s generally the best way to get the most value from your old car. By following the above advice, you’ll hopefully be able to get the most money possible for your car, making it worth all the extra hassle.


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Caz

17 years of experience
57 reviews
Caz
17 years of experience
Honda Insight - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Acworth, Georgia
Patient, thorough, professional and takes his time to explain things. This is the second time I have used Caz's services, and he consistently delivers. Look forward to working with him again.
Volvo XC90 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Alpharetta, Georgia
My husband and I are looking for a reliable used car for our teenage drivers. We had two that we were considering and wanted to have them inspected prior to purchasing. Caz did a thorough inspection of both vehicles and recommended we walk away from both. We really appreciated his transparency and knowledge. We will definitely use Caz again.

Chris

22 years of experience
2001 reviews
Chris
22 years of experience
Porsche Macan - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Irvine, California
Chris you as so knowledgeable and really out my mid at ease with the private seller purchase. Highly recommend to anyone shopping for a car :)
Lexus ES300h - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Temecula, California
Amazing guy.... called and gave me what felt to be his honest and straightforward opinion on my vehicle.... def will book him again in the future for work

Casey

19 years of experience
27 reviews
Casey
19 years of experience
Hyundai Santa Fe - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Katy, Texas
Casey is awesome. Helped me fully understand the health of the used vehicle I was buying for my mother in law. Great service and very knowledgeable for sure. Casey found only one issue we needed to deal with and was able to book the repair just a few days later.

Colby

14 years of experience
21 reviews
Colby
14 years of experience
Ford Ranger - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Longmont, Colorado
Colby called to notify me he was in route to the inspection--to ease my mind and to ask if there was anything in particular/extra I wanted him to check out. He was going to do a pre-purchase inspection of a 2002 Ford Ranger. He assured me that I hired the right guy since he'd worked for Ford for 13 years. An hour or so later, he called me while he was driving home to discuss his inspection. I could ask him everything I wanted as we dialogued. That was so helpful! And way more personable and real than just reading the report he emailed. The report was thorough and included a test drive. He had recommendations for some work to be immediately done; rotors & brake pads. Then, included the cost for him to do that work should I choose. The price was fair and not crazy expensive. I'm still deliberating on whether to have that done or to wait for my mechanic to do it once I have the truck. Thank you again Colby.

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