How to get more money by selling a used car

With all the resources available online, selling a used car has never been easier, and the market for your old car will be huge as there is always someone out there for whom your car is a perfect combination of desire and budget.

Easy though it seems to be, there is a fine art to selling a used car and making the right amount of money. Here are some tips which will help you maximise your gains when selling your car.

Keep the car clean

Nothing turns off a potential buyer than finding a dirty car. Make sure your car is in a pristine condition, such that it offers an inviting environment for the buyer as soon as they see it on the driveway.

The better your car looks, the more valuable it will appear. It is well worth waxing and polishing the car to a showroom shine before taking pictures of it for sale.

Scratches and dents are going to be a real turn off, and the better you can diminish the sight of any bodywork issues, the greater your chance of a profitable sale.

The impression a buyer gets from the sight of your car will also impact how well they believe the car has been maintained over the years – an unclean vehicle conjures thoughts of poor servicing and a low level of general care.

Concentrate on the interior

Potential customers are very smart and will check the car thoroughly, examining every inch of the interior as well as checking the outside – a dirty interior is going to turn off all except the most desperate of buyers.

It is imperative that you hoover the entire car, including carpets, mats, seats and doors. Wash out all visible stains carefully and towel dry every surface to ensure you do not leave streaks anywhere.

Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices which can hold dust and debris that is hard to clean but very easy to ruin a sale if seen. Every minor touch you add will enhance the beauty of the car.

If you can afford it, it is worth having the car professionally valeted in order to bring it to a showroom level of readiness before putting it up for sale.

Check the tire pressure

Before you sell your used car, make sure the pressure on all the tyres is at the recommended manufacturer level.

Check the features of the car

Go through all of the car functions and make sure it is all in perfect working order. If anything minor doesn’t work, then take the time to have it fixed as a few pounds spent here can be multiplied in value once the car sells.

Make sure you pay attention to:

  • Air conditioning – it should be fully working and smell pleasant.
  • Stereo – whether factory fitted, or subsequently upgraded, make sure the car music system works well and all speakers can be heard.
  • Clocks – make sure this works and is set to the correct time.
  • SatNav – if you have any inbuilt technology, check the settings, clear any saved locations and reset it to factory defaults if possible

Repairing anything that doesn’t work is well worthwhile, as a buyer is going to be put off if one of the car’s features is missing – worse if it takes up visual space in the cabin and can’t be used.

Replace windscreen wipers

A full set of windscreen wipers is only a few pounds and if they have been on the car for any length of time they could probably do with being replaced.

Having a clean windscreen both when the buyer turns up, and after they have tested the wipers is really important – the last thing you want is for them to turn on the washers to find it leaves an ugly smear across their field of vision. It’s a small touch that can reap rewards.

Check the car’s vital fluids

It is easy to check the levels of all the liquids that help run the car:

  • Engine oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Transmission fluid
  • Radiator coolant
  • Windscreen wiper water
  • Power steering fluid

Check your user manual or online videos for a guide on how to check your car’s fluids and make sure everything is up to standard.

Not only is this going to help for a smoother test drive, but it also will show good maintenance on the vehicle and improve confidence in the buyer’s mind.

If you feel unable to check all the fluids yourself, it is worth taking the car to a mechanic and having them run over these details prior to a potential sale.

Be ready with the facts

Make sure you have all the car paperwork on hand and readily available. Your car VIN number allows for a relatively easy online check and it is worth saving your buyers the effort by performing these checks yourself and printing out the results for them to see when they visit.

This will add huge layers of trustworthiness in you as a seller and is likely to guarantee a sale.

If there is something in your car’s history that may flag as a problem, make sure you are honest and disclose this both in your advert and when discussing the car with the buyer. Hiding an issue could cause a lot of trouble soon after the sale.

Look for comparable current sales

Visit a site like Autotrader and check out the details for other identical cars. Analyse all the relevant details and work out a comparable price to value your vehicle.

Fix the price of the car

There are many online services that will help you fix the exact value of your car. Use this in line with your personal research to make sure you advertise your car at a level which is appropriate.

Remember, that even if you feel your car is in a much better condition than others on the market, a high valuation will harm potential sales.

You have to reach a compromise between the price you are willing to sell and the speed at which you wish to make the sale.

Organise the papers of the car

Make sure any registration transfer documents are to hand and can be completed immediately if a buyer shows interest.

Making someone wait once they have decided to buy could turn them away at the last minute. Be organised and it will be appreciated.

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