The convenience of selling your car to a dealer often means getting less than what it may be worth. The dealer has many factors to consider when formulating his offer, from advertising costs to paying to get the car lot-ready. If you want to get top dollar, selling it yourself is the way to go. But, with greater profit comes greater effort. Just throwing up a basic ad on Craigslist or sticking a for-sale sign in the window while the car sits in your driveway will probably not be enough, though you may get lucky. But, more than likely, you will have to do a bit more than this. Here are just a few tips for selling your car privately.
Write a Good Internet Ad
Internet ads present a great opportunity to really generate interest in your car. On a site like Craigslist, for example, you can go into great detail about the vehicle and show loads of pictures. The more people know about your car, the more likely it is the people who actually contact you are genuinely interested.
First and foremost, there is no such thing as too many photos when trying to sell a used car. Get them from every angle. Be honest about any problems—people don’t expect used vehicles to be perfect. Avoid generic descriptions. If you regularly had the car detailed, say that, and not just that it is ‘clean.’ If you changed the oil and had the tires rotated right on the manufacturer’s suggested schedule, say that, not just that it is ‘well-maintained. ‘
Decide Whether You Will Fix Any Issues or Sell the Car As-Is
There is no one best answer for this question, and it will depend on many individual factors from the age of the car to the types of ‘issues’ it may have. Certain repairs may help enhance the value of the car, and would be worthwhile, while others you may not recoup, at least fully. If you are handy and have a bit of automotive know how, you can purchase car parts and do the work yourself. If you do decide to sell the car in its current condition, you must factor what it would cost the buyer to have these things fixed.
Nothing will put a potential buyer at ease than being able to see all the maintenance records; at the very least, provide a listing of work and the name of the repair shop so they can confirm on their own. It is probably a better idea to get the records, however.
Don’t Act like a Car Salesmen
Many people who buy cars from private sellers are doing so to avoid dealing with aggressive, and potentially dishonest salesmen. So, don’t act like one when meeting with potential buyers. Be warm and friendly; don’t be pushy. Answer any questions and be honest. But, while you may not want to act like a salesmen, you want to present a clean, well-kempt appearance. You don’t need to dress up in a three-piece suit, but don’t look like you are heading out to the gym, or about to spend the day eating chips on the couch.
When selling your own car, the most important thing to remember is patience. It might not happen right away, but if you do it right, you will eventually find an interested buyer.