Selling Your Used Car to Get Top Dollars
You are in the market to buy a new car. Your first thought is to trade in your existing one at the dealership. If you do not have any time and you are very comfortable loosing a couple of thousand dollars, go ahead and trade in your existing vehicle at the dealership. If you trade in at the dealership, you don’t have to pay a portion of the sales tax, equivalent to the trade-in value of your old car, on your new car. For a $2,000 trade-in, that may be as high as $160 at 8% sales tax rate. But the same $2,000 trade-in car can be sold at $3,000 to a private party if you put some efforts. And that can be a nice chunk of money for a few hours of works.
If you have read so far, you must be interested in getting that extra $1,000. Go ahead start your research for the fair market value of your car using edmunds.com. Enter all your available vehicle features and mileage to obtain an accurate number. Take a printout of the page. Now you have all the details of your car at your finger tips and the estimated market value the sellers in your region are willing to pay from a private party sale.
Call your local news paper and buy a classified ads in automotive section for one week starting from a Sunday. Some local papers will extend your ad for an additional week for a nominal charge or for free if the vehicle is not sold in one week. Give details like make, model, year, mileage, engine cylinder size, etc. Also check out the online car selling sites like motor zoo.com and car.com. Get the title of your car and keep it in a place you can access it quickly if a prospective buyer wants to buy the car immediately.
Take your car to the nearest car wash and give it a through cleaning, both interior and exterior. Remove every thing from the trunk, back seats, and floor. The car should only have floor mats on the floor. Trunk should be completely empty. Secure the spare tire and the jack appropriately. Vacuum the trunk. Use a spot remover to remove spots from seats and trunk carpet if it is possible. Don’t spend money fixing the car for any mechanical and electrical repairs, unless it is very minor like replacing the fuse or a bulb etc.. Be honest to the buyer if you have any mechanical or electrical problems with your car. Take the car to a quick oil change place for oil change and topping of other fluids. Most quick oil places will also fill up your anti-freeze, transmission fluids, power steering fluid if you go for their 20, 21 or whatever point inspection. They will also inflate your tires pressure to the recommended level.
When prospective buyers call you, answer all questions they might have about your vehicle. Answer them honestly because you want to turn an appointment into a sale. Make appointment at a specific time. don’t be vague like “come after work”, because your “after work” and the buyer’s “after work” may not be the same. Ask the buyer to come during the day and not at night. This may be a problem during the week-days in Winter months when days are shorter but in the Summer it should not be a problem. You can also schedule your appointment during the week-ends in the Winter months. Get the cell phone number of the prospective buyer if it is possible. However, don’t get upset if the prospective buyer does not show up or shows up late. Remember that a prospective buyer is your customer and “customer is always right.”
Before the buyer takes the car for a test drive, check his/her driver’s license. You should accompany the buyer during the test drive and direct the buyer to roads you are familiar with. Don’t allow him/her to take the car wherever he/she wants. During price negotiation, don’t be extremely rigid in your price. Depending on the resale value of your car, you should be able to accept a couple of hundred dollars less than your advertised price. Take only cash; do not take checks or registered checks.
If you receive any inquires from prospective buyers to your online advertisement, be very cautious. There are lots of scams going on online. If the online buyer proposes to send you a registered check for more than what you are asking for and tells you to send the difference to a shipping company, than you know it is definitely a scam. The check is forged and they will take your money and run. Have fun with your extra money.
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