The time has come to get rid of your trusty vehicle and move on to bigger and better things. It’s been a beautiful relationship, but now your primary goal is to sell your car for the most money possible. Even though you no longer want your car, you can surely find someone who will happily take it off your hands. As long as your car is road-worthy you will find a buyer. But how do you maximize the return? Here are a couple of tips to help you get the most money when you sell your car.
First off, don’t make the dealers one of your destinations. While dealerships are always buying cars, and will certainly help you get the car off your hands in a hurry, they will never give you the best price. Dealers know how cars devalue once they reach a certain age. If your car is fairly new and has low mileage you might get a solid offer from them. But the older your car, the worse the deal you will be offered. There just isn’t enough of a possible markup on older cars to make it worth their while. Focus on selling the car yourself directly to a buyer, and while it will take more effort you’ll make more money when all is said and done.
Next, before you officially show the car handle all of the cosmetic issues you can. While a nice detail job and clean upholstery will not have any impact on how well a car will run, potential buyers will make that connection. The nicer the car looks, the more a buyer will be drawn to it, regardless of its age or mileage. So give it a thorough cleaning, treat all the scrapes and scratches that you can, and put your best foot forward. You’ll have an easier time selling the car, and will get top value for it.
You’ll also need to consider any repairs your car requires, and decide what you want to do about them. If your car needs extensive work your best bet is to tell the potential buyers about that right up front and then adjust the price of the car accordingly. You will never get full value for the work you do. That being said, if you can do things like replace all of the lights, put on new tires and top off all the fluids you’ll make a strong impression with the buyer, and all of those things can be factored into the car’s value.
Whether your car has had an easy life or survived several accidents, you must be completely transparent with your buyers. Pull together each and every service record you can find for the car and collect them in a binder. You don’t have to have a receipt for every single oil change you performed over a decade, but the more complete your records the clearer it will be that the vehicle was well cared for. No one wants to buy a car that was ignored, with problems left to linger until they absolutely had to be handled. The more detailed your service history, the better the offers you will get.
Since you are looking for top dollar, you should go into the sale with some idea of what that number would be. Do the research with services like Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds to understand the value range for your vehicle before you set the price. Either one will give you an easy reference for other cars for sale, so you can have a solid perspective about what you can realistically expect, and what number you should never take. With your car in the best shape possible and your head full of clear facts and figures, you’ll be in prime position to maximize the purchase price of your car.