Helpful Tips to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Car

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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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Chris

21 years of experience
1719 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Lexus ES300 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Garden Grove, California
Very professional, but although cool in a sense. On time actually arrived at site earlier than expected that was a plus. Also very thorough, and gave recommendations. Thanks alot Chriss.
Jaguar F-Type - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Mission Viejo, California
If I could give Chris 100 stars I would. Above and beyond in every way. He's super knowledgeable, informative, responsive and above all patient. He doesn't hesitate to make sure all your questions are answered and that you feel comfortable taking the plunge buying a car sight unseen. He was our eyes when we couldn't be there to inspect the car, and informed us of any red flags regarding how the car operates now and what to look for in the future. Ask for Chris, he's fantastic, an expert in automotive knowledge, and a first class professional.

Willie

23 years of experience
28 reviews
Willie
23 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Stanton, California
Had Will inspected two Hyundai Elantra SE at different dealers. He was prompt and provided great feedback on the cars. Really value his experience and recommendation. We're highly satisfy with Will and his service.
Dodge Avenger - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Long Beach, California
Willie is a hard and reliable worker. Fixed the problem. 3rd experience with him I think. Very satisfied

Raymond

36 years of experience
155 reviews
Raymond
36 years of experience
Ford Explorer - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Las Vegas, Nevada
Very happy with the pre-inspection service. He was in contact from when he left to when he arrived at dealership to a FULL Sheet of info right after the inspection. Raymond helped make me feel at ease buying the car after having his professional opinion that everything was good. The one thing he did recommend I mentioned to the dealership and they took care of it before I even bought the car. :) Thanks so much for your expertise. I would definitely use this website again for any future services I may need.
Subaru Baja - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Las Vegas, Nevada
Raymond was early, Very Professional, & very thorough. Answered all my questions and was very informative. Did an Excellent job !

David

12 years of experience
287 reviews
David
12 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Marietta, Georgia
Prompt and knowledgeable. David arrived early to do our pre-purchase car inspection and completed it in a timely fashion. He communicated his findings, recommendations by phone and text message, which was nice. I appreciated the information and details he provided.
Mercedes-Benz E400 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Kennesaw, Georgia
David called when he arrived and called shortly after he finished inspecting the vehicle. Unfortunately, due to the inefficiency of the sales representative at the dealership, David was not able to drive the vehicle as the final phase of the inspection.

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