When you’re trying to sell your car, it goes without saying that you want to get as much money as possible. For most people, a car is the second-most valuable asset they own. So, whether we’re talking about a brand new Beamer or a dilapidated daily driver - you want to get every penny of the car’s value when it comes time to sell.
If you don’t take the time to do these three things before you list your vehicle for sale, you could potentially be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Some of these are easier than others, but you’ll want to do all three if you really want to maximize your asking price when you sell your car.
#1 - Clean and Detail Your Vehicle
Generally speaking, it’s true that you should never judge a book by its cover. When it comes to cars, however, every potential buyer is definitely going to judge your ride by the way it looks - both inside and out.
A dirty car is a red flag for car buyers because it sends the message that you haven’t taken care of the car. This makes them wonder whether you visited the mechanic as infrequently as you visited the car wash, and puts a doubt in their minds about the value of the vehicle.
Before you sell your car, take care to thoroughly clean the interior and exterior. This should include getting the car detailed, whether you do this yourself or pay someone else to do it for you. You want everything, including your trunk, wheels, and engine to look as close to new as possible.
Also replace any broken parts and pieces inside the vehicle. These are often cheap to replace and easy to install on your own.
People will be much more willing to pay top dollar for a car that looks great.
#2 - Purchase a Vehicle History Report Before You Sell Your Car
Buying a car is always risky, especially when you’re buying from a stranger with no warranty. You should try to understand the position your buyers are in, and do everything you can to make them as comfortable as possible.
Providing a vehicle history report (VHR) builds trust with car buyers and makes them feel like buying from you is less of a risk.
The best-known vehicle history report services are AutoCheck and CarFax, and there are many cheaper alternatives available.
But, even if you cough up the $40 for a premium report, you will more than make up your money when you sell your car. Car buyers will see that you are being honest about the history of the car. Honesty builds trust, and trust brings higher prices.
#3 - Get Your Paperwork in Order
Another way you can make a buyer more comfortable with you and your car is to have all of your paperwork in order before you sell your car.
Some of the key pieces of paperwork you will want to gather are:
- Maintenance records
You will want to have all of this paperwork ready for a potential buyer, even if you haven’t been the best at getting every oil change done exactly on time. When you’re trying to sell your car, honesty is always the best policy.
If the buyer knows you have nothing to hide, they will feel better about paying your asking price. Being organized also makes a good impression, and managing the buyer’s perception will help you get more for the car.
How to Determine What Your Car is Worth
How do you set the correct asking price? You need to know your car’s exact value, but that’s easier said than done.
Researching book value is a good start, but you’ll find that the popular books give you wide ranges of estimates and never give you an exact value.
Looking at ads for similar vehicles is a good next step, but it’s hard to find a car that’s an exact match. Different trim levels, options, and upgrades can change the value of a car by thousands of dollars, even if it’s the same year, make and model as yours.
The best option is to get a professional appraisal from an independent third party. Appraisers can be hard to find, and their services can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, which is a lot of money to invest in a car you’re trying to sell.
The Appraisal Lane can help. Our appraisers will give you an exact value in 30 minutes or less, and best of all, our service is completely free.