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8 Tips for Selling Your Car and Getting the Best Price

You take good care of your car. You change the oil religiously, you rotate your tires when you’re supposed to, and you take pride in keeping your car looking its best. But even with the best care, we all reach a point where we feel like it’s time for an upgrade. Sure, you can trade in your vehicle and save the hassle of having to sell the car on your own.

But if you want the best price for your vehicle, selling privately is the way to go. Follow these eight tips to sell your car and get the best price for it.

1. Get it Appraised

If you want to get the most money for your vehicle, the best thing you can do is find out its true value.

Getting an appraisal will help you set a fair market price for your vehicle, which will attract more buyers and increase the likelihood of a sale. You’ll also get a better understanding of the market for the car you’re selling, which can be beneficial when negotiating with potential buyers.

2. Do Your Due Diligence


Buyers want to make sure they’re making a smart purchase. Naturally, they’re going to want to take your vehicle for a test drive and maybe even have a mechanic look at it to make sure there are no major problems.

If you want to avoid a surprise repair or collapsed sale, take your car to a mechanic before you even start advertising the sale. If your check engine light is on, you can use Fixd to figure out what’s wrong and fix the issue before you try to sell your vehicle.

If the mechanic finds something wrong with your car and the repair is reasonably priced, it may be worthwhile to fix the issue before you try selling your car.

But if the repairs are cost prohibitive, it’s important to inform potential buyers of the problem and maybe even factor the cost of the repair into the asking price.

3. Presentation is Everything

Presentation is important when selling a vehicle. If a buyer opens up the driver-side door and sees a pristine, clean car, they’ll assume that you take good care of your vehicle. But if they open up the door and find trash, clothes and dirt, they may question whether your vehicle has been well-maintained.

Before listing your car for sale, get it professionally detailed. The goal is to give the interior and exterior a thorough cleaning. Go as far as cleaning underneath the hood and removing any debris, like leaves, that may be trapped in there.

4. Take Professional Photos


Most potential buyers will find your vehicle through an online listing. The photos you upload will be the first impression any buyer gets of your car, so make sure that they’re high quality.

Don’t be afraid to take dozens of photos, and be sure to include as much detail as possible, such as:

  • All exterior corners and sides
  • Each wheel and tire
  • Special features, such as sunroof, heads up display, navigation screen or power seat buttons
  • The interior seats in their various positions

The best time to take photos is early in the morning or late afternoon.

5. Plan a Route for Test Drives and Go Along

A test drive is a great way to seal the deal when a buyer is interested in your vehicle. In fact, most people won’t purchase a vehicle without first taking it for a test drive.

Before you even start talking to buyers, plan out a route for test drives. For your safety, make sure that your route starts and ends in a public place. Try to give the buyer the chance to drive the vehicle in different situations, such as winding roads or on the highway. A successful test drive route will showcase your vehicle in as many driving situations as possible without leaving populated areas.

Make sure that you accompany potential buyers on the test drive. Tagging along for the ride will ease your anxiety about having a stranger drive off in your car. It will also give you a valuable opportunity to tell the buyer more about the vehicle. You can also answer any questions the buyer may have about the vehicle while you’re driving.

6. Screen Buyers

Screening buyers allows you to weed out anyone who isn’t serious about buying your vehicle, and it also gives you a chance to avoid dealing with problematic buyers.

Make it a point to talk to each buyer on the phone before agreeing to meet for a test drive. Try to get as much information about the person as possible. Do they live locally? How will they be paying for the vehicle? Can they meet in person?

If something doesn’t feel right when talking to certain buyers, trust your instinct and move on to another buyer on your list.

7. List Extensively

If you want to sell your vehicle as quickly as possible and get the best price, make it a point to publish your listing on as many sites as possible, including:

  • com
  • AutoTrader
  • Facebook
  • eBay Local
  • Craigslist
  • Fan forums

You may have to pay a small fee to list your vehicle on some of these sites, but it’s a small price to pay to maximize your exposure.

8. Be Responsive


If someone contacts you and is interested in your vehicle, be responsive. Get back to them in minutes – not hours. Keep in mind that most buyers are looking at multiple cars at one time. If you’re too slow to respond, you may miss an opportunity to make a sale. In many cases, the first seller to return a call is the one who gets the sale.

Selling a car can be stressful, but with the right strategy and some patience, you can find the right buyer and get the most money for your vehicle. It may take more legwork and effort to sell a car privately, but you’ll get thousands of dollars more than if you were to trade in your vehicle at the dealership.

November 15, 2019

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