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Tips to sell a used car

A friend recently dropped me an email asking for input on selling a used car, my response was fairly elaborate and thus blog worthy, so I thought I’d post the information, and here it is….

1. Look up your car in Kelly Blue Book – www.kbb.com – this is the holy bible for used car prices and most buyers won’t deviate much from this price unless you’ve kept your car sealed in cotton wool.  Set your price a little higher than KBB, say a $1000, and expect to come down. Do not inflate the price for toys, unless they’re not dealer standard and increase the value of your car significantly.

2. Expect the dealer price to be about $2000 lower than the private sale price, so when you buy your new vehicle, ask for a free appraisal and you’ll have a good idea of the price you can expect to get for your vehicle.

3. Patience is key, I took about 2 months to sell each of my cars because I was prepared to wait for the right buyer.  However, this is a balance, the longer your car is left sitting unsold the more you’re spending on insurance etc, especially if you already own a shiny new car.  If you’re not receiving many bites after 1-2 weeks, drop the price by $1000, assuming you pitched your car higher than KBB. If you’re already at the KBB bottom price then something else is putting people off.

4. Advertise well – Craig’s list is a given because it is free, Autotrader will get you a lot of hits, but usually takes a few weeks for traffic to start coming in (I sold my car and was still getting calls weeks later).  EBay will get your car noticed, but you’ll end up spending abut $50 in seller listing.  Most people use EBay to get an idea of cost, do not expect to receive a winning bid (unless you’re lucky), although you may get calls after the auction asking to view your vehicle. 

5. Be up front in all adverts about: cost, mileage, condition, luxuries (leather seat, CD Player, IPOD int. etc), anything that will attract the readers attention – lots and lots of photos sell a car. 

6. You can try parking your car in known spots around town where people like to look for used cars, although I never tried this theory, I’m told this can get your car noticed.

7.  When you start getting calls, be accommodating, people will want to see your car in evenings after work and weekends.  I had an issue with people coming to the house, so I met most people in a mall parking lot or at the office.  Occasionally I had to jump out at lunch time for an eager buyer.  Mall parking lots are great because they allow potential buyers to test drive your car with you watching.

8.  Advertise that you’ve had your car inspected (if required by the state) – technically it is the buyers responsibility, but for $60, if you know your car is going to pass, then it’s a selling point for buyers.  

9. Post a for sale sign on both sides of the car to attract passers by in the street or other motorists in traffic.

10.  Clean your car – consider detailing for a $100 – as a shiny car catches peoples attention.

Happy selling.