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Essential tips for selling your car

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If you’re thinking of selling your car, you may decide to go to a dealer. While selling or trading in to a used car dealer can take a lot of the leg work out of it, selling your car yourself will net you a much higher price – and with these tips, you’ll have a buyer in no time.

The Price is Right

It can be tempting to want to recoup the cost of your car when you’re selling it. This, coupled with the nostalgic feelings we have for a car that’s seen us through years of life, can lead to overestimating the value of a used car. You know what they say: as soon as your car rolls out of the dealership, it starts depreciating in value. An unrealistically high price can scare buyers off.

To find the right – and most realistic – price at which to set your car, do some research. Head over to used car sites such as Car Sales, Cars Guide, and Auto Trader to see how much your model in a similar condition is going for, and then price yours accordingly.

Keep It Clean

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so get your car looking spick and span. Clean out the interior thoroughly, making sure to vacuum out all the nooks and crannies, and give exposed areas like the dash and centre console a good wipe down. You’d be surprised how dusty these areas can get even in cars that are used every day.

Give the exterior of the car a thorough wash, and finish off with a polish to get the finish gleaming.

If you’re time poor, or not sure what to do, consider taking the car in for a detailing service or having a mobile car detailer come over to give it a thorough once over. While these services incur costs, a hundred dollars spent may end up netting you a greater profit when you sell the car.

If you decide to do it yourself, check out our guide to spring cleaning your car

A Photo Finish

When selling your car online, the photos you upload will be the first thing that gabs a potential buyers attention, so putting in a bit of extra effort when photographing your car can really pay off.

Once your car is sparkling and clean, choose a clear and sunny day for your photo shoot. If you have a nice yard, drive way shots can work, but it can also be worth heading out to a nice spot such as a beachside carpark or a nice green area to photograph your vehicle. When someone makes a purchase, whether it’s a car or a soft drink, they’re unconsciously purchasing a life style, so show them your car at it’s best in a great location and you’ll get those clicks in no time.

You don’t need fancy cameras to take great shots. Most modern smart phones have suitable cameras, just make sure to take photos in landscape rather than portrait. Include photos that are well framed, showing the car completely and from all angles. Include interior shots as well as exterior shots, and include front on as well as side on images.

Don’t try to hide any imperfections or damage – and never photoshop your images. Present your car as it is, at its best.

Keep Your Description Clear and Concise

Okay, now the fun part – writing up the description of your car. Keep it clear, concise and honest. Potential buyers will be reading a lot of vehicle descriptions, so don’t write a novel or you wont hold the buyer’s attention.

Make sure to include the make, model and variant, year of manufacture, engine and transmission details, major options, odometer reading, and the car’s general condition.

If your car’s history makes it particular attractive, such as only having one driver or only being used for local driving, highlight this in the description.

Be clear and honest about any imperfections or issues the car has.

Always proofread your ad before hitting submit, as spelling errors may cause potential buyers to take you less seriously. If you’re not sure, type your ad up in Word or a similar program, and run the auto spell check feature.

Show Me The Money

When it comes time to swap your car for cash, the safest methods of receiving payment are via bank cheque or cash. Never accept payment through PayPal or a Western Union Money Order.

Regarding the change of ownership forms, consult your states authority for the correct paperwork to make sure you cross all your ’t’s and dot all of your ‘i’s.

Armed with these tips, you’ll have buyers for your car in no time!


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