The car market is currently witnessing an unusual trend: high demand and low inventory. This state of supply vs demand means it’s a great time to put your car on the market, especially since the chances of a sale are more likely. Used cars are selling 29% higher in February 2022 than in January 2021, according to Kelley Blue Book.
But selling a car can be a stressful task – and there are a lot of items to take into consideration. For instance, you may be asking: Do I have the right paperwork? What should I fix on my car prior to selling it? Do I have the car listed for the right price? Can I trust the person who is buying my car? Should I sell it through a brick-and-mortar dealership or an online auto reseller company like Carvana?
In 2020, nearly 30% of vehicles were sold online, according to Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners. In comparison, in 2019 only 2% of car sales took place online. To help make the process a bit easier, here are a few tips to follow when selling your vehicle.
Get Your Car Ready to Sell
No matter your car’s age or how many miles it has been driven, first impressions make a substantial difference. Giving your vehicle some TLC can be a financially smart decision. A thorough cleaning can increase your car’s value by 10%. This includes:
- Washing the car
- Depersonalizing it (e.g., remove any bumper stickers, plate frames, decals and other additions)
- Vacuuming and refreshing the interior, per AutoTrader.
In addition to cleaning, if possible, be sure to fix any broken parts that are within reason. Edmunds provides several helpful tips to give your car “curb” appeal from touching up scratches to blackening your tires.
Once your car is cleaned up, snap a variety of high-quality photos from different angles. Modern smartphone cameras have extremely powerful lenses, so there’s no need to invest in an expensive camera nor book a professional photoshoot. These photos will be used to market your car on the car selling platform of your choice, such as CarMax, Facebook Marketplace or Autotrader. When taking photos, it’s important to be honest and not try to hide any major blemishes, according to Edmunds. Also remember to pay attention to the setting of the photo. For instance, a photo of a car in a parking lot in daylight will do a much better job of selling than a photo of a car in a dark garage.
Market Your Car Online
The next step is to gather all the vehicle’s paperwork, including documents, accident reports, appointment receipts and other important information the buyer should be aware of.
After all the above steps are completed, it’s time to put your car up for sale. The process generally entails the following steps on most apps and websites:
- Set your price: How much do you want for your car? If you need guidance in setting a price, Kelley Blue Book can offer a reasonable estimation of what the car is worth. You can even search for others who are selling the same make and model to give you a better idea. Prices can change from month to month, so pay attention to the market.
- Fill in the details: Upload your photos and write a thorough description of the vehicle. Explain why you are selling the car, what work you have had done to it and any serious issues the buyer should know about. Transparency will go a long way when it comes to closing the deal, especially when a potential buyer wants to come to check out the car.
As a rule of thumb, do not negotiate with potential buyers via email or phone, since these modes of communication can potentially put you behind in the negotiations. It’s important that you start on an even playing field.
Always meet with potential buyers in-person in a safe, public location during the day — with someone else accompanying you, if possible. AutoTrader shares several tips that ease the negations process, including being objective, knowing your car’s value and showcasing your paperwork.
Selling your car can be a daunting process, but with intuitive tools and platforms at our fingertips, the process can go smoothly. If you have questions about changing over your car insurance after you sell your vehicle, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.