How to sell your used car?

Shutterstock.com/ Sean Pavone

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There is only one thing more difficult than buying a used car and that is selling one. Buying a car is fraught with the danger of ending up with a lemon but selling a car is fraught with the danger of letting it go at too low a price. Follow our tips if you are selling your used car on a website like Craigslist, eBay, or TradeMe.

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The most important question is how much is your car worth. You can usually work this out pretty quickly by taking account of the make and year of the car. Start looking online for list values of these cars and work out the average. Beware the outliers when taking this approach. If a car is listed far lower than others, ignore it, it likely has something wrong with it. If a car is listed far higher than others, ignore it, that seller may have incorrectly priced it. Where you list your car in the range of these prices depends on if there are any issues with your car, when it had its last service and how quickly you want to sell it. If you are looking for a quick sale you need to beat the price of many of the cars listed. If you are happy with a long sales process than you can match or put it higher as you are in no rush to sell.

Maintenance records are an important weapon in selling a car. Whenever you get something done to the car whether it is a new service or simply a repair, place the record in your glove box. When selling you want to show interested parties the stack of papers that show you have serviced your car regularly and been a great owner. This will give them the confidence that the car has been well looked after and that they are not getting ripped off. As we all know buying a car is a dangerous process so you need to put their fears to bed straight away.

The majority of buyers are swayed by how a car looks. While your car may have been scratched while you were at the supermarket one day, a prospective buyer will look at that and think the car hasn’t been well looked after. Try to get rid of any surface-level scratches so that your car looks great. Every scratch greatly lowers the value of your car. However, don’t pay huge amounts to fix these issues if your car is going to be sold for less than $5,000. It is simply not worth it. Instead, highlight these issues when you list the car so that buyers know you are honest. Don’t be surprised if when they then come to see the car they try to use these scratches to lower the price further. Tell them that you listed at the price you chose because of those scratches and they have already been factored into the asking price.

Make sure you get the car washed inside and out. Washing the car can improve even the most average of vehicles. This one act alone will increase your sales price. Again depending on the sales price of your car it is likely worth it to get a service and oil change carried out so that the buyer can see it was checked recently and is all in working order. 

After a couple of weeks, you will start to have an idea of how active the car market is. If you are getting lots of interest and repeat visits then you have set the car at the right price, be patient. If no one is even ringing you to look at the car it may be time to adjust the price.