Selling Your Car for the Best Possible Price

Selling your vehicle can be a confusing process. The good news is that if you sell your car or truck in a smart way you can make more money than you might expect and avoid many of the common pitfalls that hurt amateurs trying to sell their vehicle. Here are some useful tips for how to make the most when selling your used vehicle.

Avoid Dealers

Selling your vehicle to a dealer is simpler and faster in terms of the paperwork and the process, but there are very good reasons not to do this and to do a private sale instead. If you sell to a dealer you are going to get less than your vehicle is worth, often significantly less. The job of a dealer is to profit from the sale so there is no way that a dealership is going to offer you an accurate or even fair amount for your car considering their own best interests. The job of a dealer is bargaining and negotiating, so thinking you can go in and get a great price on your car or truck is naïve. Avoid a dealer if possible.¹

Don’t Repair Before Selling

It might seem like a bright idea, but repairing your vehicle before selling it is not worth your money. Repairs cost a lot and generally don’t boost the value of the car for the equivalent amount that they cost you to do. Being honest about the repairs your car needs is always a good idea, and seeing exactly how much they may cost will help you determine a selling price, but actually having the repairs done is a hassle and a drain on your wallet that is almost never worth it in the end when you actually sell it.²

Create a High-Quality Listing

Regardless of which platform you are listing your vehicle on, it’s important to have high-definition photos and an accurate, engaging description if you want to attract interest and make a good sale. Any modern smartphone is more than good enough for a few high-quality photos of your car or truck’s interior and exterior. Just make sure to clean it out first and have a neat background: professionalism counts. In terms of the description, keep it short and sweet – and accurate. Look up manufacturer descriptions and reviews to make sure your description shows that you know your stuff. Nothing leads to someone being taken advantage of like a potential buyer sensing they don’t know much about vehicles.³

Juggle Offers Instead of Jumping for the First One

When you get an offer that exceeds your expectations it is an excellent idea to accept it. However, when you are fielding various offers that fall just around or below the asking price, it is a good idea to juggle various offers and not always take the first one. Like a salesman on a lot, you need to be a negotiator who finds the best price for your vehicle and is not over-eager to sell. Know your vehicle’s value and negotiate accordingly. Don’t be afraid to hold out for a better offer.²

Be Honest About Downsides

While you want to present your vehicle in the best light possible and highlight its positive features, you should never lie or omit to mention any issues it has. Whether that is just a minor amount of paint damage or the fact that the brakes are worn down or it needs an oil change soon put that detail in your listing. Your honesty and attention to detail creates a bond of trust between you and the potential buyer and shows that you are not trying to hide anything or take advantage of a buyer in any way.³

The Importance of Price

There’s no denying that pricing your used vehicle is extremely important. Price too high and you will drive away potential buyers; price too low and you will get far less than you actually deserve. The solution is to price in the middle, slightly above the minimum that you will take for the vehicle so that you have some room for negotiation. Use a service such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book to come up with a fair price and take into account mileage, vehicle condition and age when determining a fair price. In addition, take a look at other sales of similar vehicles. What are they asking? Price yours around the same amount if it is in similar condition.³