Selling a car to a dealer is very easy, and the price of this convenience is a lower price for your car than you could probably snag on your own with a private sale. But, to get this extra money, you have to put in a bit more effort. Simply throwing up a for-sale sign in the window, or placing a basic ad in your local paper or Craigslist, probably won’t cut it. Here are a few helpful tips for selling your car privately.
Gather Your Documentation
No matter how well you took care of your car, a lack of documentation will work against you. Many people are automatically on the ‘’defensive’’ when it comes to buying a used car—there is that deep fear of blowing money on a complete piece of junk that will cause nothing but headaches. Put potential buyers at ease right away with a recent inspection report, and maintenance records from oil changes, and any other work you have had done while the car was in your possession.
Determine How Much Work You Will Put In
If your car is newer, there may be nothing that really needs fixing; but, if it is a bit older, and is in less-than-perfect condition, you have to decide whether you are going to put the money into fixing it up, and hopefully increase your profit, or if you are going to leave it as-is, and sell it for less. Ultimately, one way is not categorically better than the other. It really depends on many individual factors, like how easy it is to find the particular parts, the cost of doing the work, and how much you could do on your own.
Writing a Good Online Ad
Online ads offer lots of advantages, from increased reach to the ability to pack in a lot of information. A good ad can make all the difference in the world, and here are a few tips for putting together an effective one that will generate a lot of interest in your vehicle.
First and foremost, there is no such thing as too many pictures—it shows transparency, and people thinking you are honest will only work in your favor in the used car game. Hit every part of the car; don’t’ be afraid to show the blemished areas—people don’t expect used cars, especially older ones, to be in pristine condition.
Avoid the pat descriptions, and get specific. If you took really good care of the car, don’t just say it was well-maintained. Brag about the regular oil changes and the fact you had the tires rotated on the schedule specified by the manufacturer handbook. If it is particularly good in the snow, mention that instead of ‘’handles well.’’
Lay it all out there, flaws and all; again, no one will be shocked a used car may have some issues, or need certain repairs. The more information you put about the car, the more likely it is that anyone contacting you is truly interested. You will get ‘’hotter’’ leads.
Don’t Be All Sales-Like
While there are plenty of perfectly nice and reputable used car dealers out there, there are plenty that fit the stereotype of smarmy, aggressive and fast-talking. This is one of the advantages of working with private sellers—you don’t have to worry about running into this particular breed of car dealers. So, don’t act like one when trying to sell your car. It can be tempting to take on a similar demeanor, thinking it will spur people into action, but most will probably be turned off. Be nice; don’t be pushy. Resist the urge to pressure people into making the purchase.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has blogged about a variety of auto topics, from teaching your teen to drive to negotiating a used car online.