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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Attila

19 years of experience
906 reviews
Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

Shawn

12 years of experience
285 reviews
Shawn
12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

Luis

18 years of experience
320 reviews
Luis
18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

Robert

20 years of experience
1089 reviews
Robert
20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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