Selling your car is a headache, and it’s enough trouble without buyers trying to haggle prices. Whether you’re making a private sale or a sale to a dealer, every auto sales professional knows a handful of the industry’s best-kept secrets to improve the value of a vehicle.
At Auto Geeks, we’ve been in the business for decades, and we’re here to give you the low-down. What does every professional look for in a car purchase, and how can you make quick and easy fixes to sell your car for top dollar?
First, Get the Paperwork in Order.
While you can sometimes sell a car without proper documentation, there are some requirements in order to sell your car legitimately. And yes, a legitimate sale equals a “higher value” sale. Collect the following paperwork ahead of time to ensure that you’re prepared.
You Need a Title
The title to the car verifies who legally owns it. Once the sale is complete, you will need to give the buyer the title. Lenders often have the title to the vehicle if you were leasing a car or had an outstanding auto loan.
Outstanding loans typically must be paid in full as a part of your transaction. If you have the cash, it can sometimes make sense to pay off your loan in advance to make your car more attractive to private buyers.
Auto Geeks buys running cars of any condition, with any financing background. If you don’t want to pay off your loan, contact us to get cash-in-hand for your car now.
You Might Need A Bill of Sale to Sell Your Car
In some areas, the local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) may require you to complete a bill of sale when you sell your car. The form is available for free download on the websites of the majority of state departments. Sometimes, this is provided to you. For instance, Auto Geeks will provide you with a bill of sale if you sell your car to us.
Start the Sale: How to Sell Your Car for the Most Money
First and foremost, when selling your car, check market demand to dial in your price with some research.
Use pricing tools to see how trims and different conditions go hand in hand with the price. It’s a good idea to choose a price that’s not only based on the market but perhaps with a slight markup because private buyers are going to try and bargain with you.
Besides pricing based on market rates, there are a few upgrades you can make – for low to no effort, that will make a substantial difference.
Getting Your Vehicle Ready to Sell
Maintenance Records and Vehicle History Reports are a Big Help
If possible, having maintenance and vehicle history documents is a great way to demonstrate the care of your vehicle to a buyer, and it also tends to answer most questions a buyer might ask.
A car with a well-recorded repair and maintenance history will often fetch a higher asking price. Gather all the maintenance records that you can and organize them from oldest to most recent, so the buyer sees immediately how you’ve paid attention to upkeep.
If the automobile has been in an accident – for example, rebuilt after a crash – providing evidence of what was fixed and confirming the repairs had been done by a respected shop will help buyers feel more confident.
And similarly, extra money may be granted if you can prove that you’re the first owner of the automobile.
Moreover, vehicles that have mainly been driven mostly on the highway, compared to only in the city, tend to get better deals because those miles translate to less wear and tear. While difficult to prove, you should still make a note of this to buyers if it’s the case for your car.
To Repair or Not to Repair?
Whether to invest in repairs depends on the type of damage and type of car sale. For example, if you’re selling a rare antique car, then you don’t necessarily need to repair the damage, and repairs may actually damage your sale value. On the other hand, for an everyday driver, there are some repairs that would be a good call.
In case you’re selling a common make and model, then visible external damage such as bumpers, scratches, broken mirrors, or cracked windshields harm value, both in your listing price and your negotiations. Simply put, buyers often ask for a larger discount when they notice damage, especially if it’s not mentioned upfront.
These external cosmetic repairs are fairly easy to do on your own and are usually worth your time and effort for the extra dollar.
Complex structural or mechanical issues, on the other hand, are not worth undertaking. In general, it’s most cost-effective to sell these cars for the market rate of the vehicle – minus the cost of repairs and labor. So, if your Nissan Altima is worth $5,000 but needs a $3,000 engine replacement, you should still be able to sell it for around $1,500 dollars.
Clean Your Car, Quickly
The easiest thing to do to quickly improve a vehicle’s price is clean it. Improve the appearance, and you’ve improved your value. The focus of your cleaning should not be “deep cleaning” the vehicle but instead to improve the appearance with a return on your investment in mind. Here are the most important areas to touch up:
Simply put, when a car is trashed, you might invest in getting it detailed. The time and energy you save could well be worth the cost alone, not to mention the increase in potential sale value you’ll regain from having a cleaner car. If your car has stained seats, grimey muddy floors, or weird smells, finding a good detailer for $100 to $200 is often well worth the investment.
Clean the Cabin
Cleaning the interior of the car is a must. After all, the person you’re selling the car to will most likely want to take it for a test drive. Of course, if you don’t feel confident enough to clean the interior yourself, you can always bring it to a car wash or detailer.
Polish Shiny Surfaces
Wipe the windows, rims, wheels, and the headlights. Shiny clean headlights are often overlooked but are easy to clean with something as common as household toothpaste.
Remove all Personal Items From the Car
Leaving personal items in the car leaves a bad taste in a buyer’s mouth, especially for a test drive. Let them feel like it’s theirs, and remove all personal items – and of course, trash – that you can.
When to Get it Detailed
Lastly, Don’t Overshare
Be honest, but there is no need to fully disclose everything you know about the vehicle. You don’t have to tell someone how you used the vehicle for hunting trips all the time or that you own a dog. Do your due diligence but don’t overshare details that have no impact on the vehicle’s quality.
Sell Your Car to a Dealer: Pros & Cons
The two primary ways of selling your car are to either go to a dealership or sell it online. Both have benefits and drawbacks.
Pros of Selling to a Dealer
- Fast. Selling the car to a dealer is very quick.
- Easy A dealership will cut all the time and effort you would usually have to go through when selling the car personally.
- No effort. You won’t need to be available at any time to provide a test drive to interested parties.
- Trade in value and taxes. Trading in your car can get you a steep discount for another vehicle, and some states even provide you with a tax break.
- You’re going to get less money back for the car. Dealerships do business out of reselling cars. It’s only natural for them to buy at lower prices than private buyers.
Sell Your Car Privately: Pros & Cons
There are several benefits to selling your car privately. Undoubtedly, if you’re unemployed or have more free time, researching “how to sell your car online” can pay some dividends for you in terms of both knowledge and understanding of how to increase the price of your car.
Pros of Selling a Car Privately
- Better pay. When buying used cars, dealerships pay discounted prices, which are frequently less than what you would receive if you decide to sell your car privately online.
- Knowledge and experience. Privately selling your automobile could prove to be more challenging than expected if you sell to an individual, but you have a better chance of learning more about the whole process as you go. Not to mention, it’s satisfying to succeed.
- Buyers are also happy. Following up on the first point, buyers would also pay a smaller amount when buying vehicles privately. Dealerships tend to put a higher margin on prices since they have to pay for salaries and rent.
- It can take a long time. You need to prepare your vehicle thoroughly, do research, and post ads online. Not to mention, you have to be available so that in case a potential buyer wants to see the car or test it, you can set up a meeting.
- Negotiation. Almost every time someone tries to sell a car privately, the buyer would find a way to negotiate. But if you’ve followed the instructions in this article, that shouldn’t bother you.
Selling Your Car to Auto Geeks: The Best of Both Worlds
When selling a car to Auto Geeks, you get the best of both worlds:
The Ease and Convenience of Selling to a Dealership. Using our instant quote feature, you can get an estimate for your vehicle today, and our team will actually come directly to you – we pick the car up from your driveway.
You Sell to Real People in Your Community. This process is fast and easy, like a dealership, but unlike a dealership, there are no stuffy business-like negotiations or lowball offers. We’re real people from your area.
You Get Private Sale Value. Because you’re selling your car privately, we offer competitive market values. It’s the easiest way to get top dollar for your car sale, guaranteed.
Start Your Instant Quote today and see what your car is worth. We’ll put cash in your pocket as soon as tomorrow.