Avoid Common Mistakes when Selling Your Car
Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Eng, Lynn, Alma and 1 other
There are many good reasons why a glossy, flawless and brand new car is something you would want. However, before going out ogling and inspecting the newest lines in the market, there is one thing you need to do without much fanfare: Dispose the outmoded car sitting in your garage for some cash that you can use to partly finance the unit you are planning to buy.
If you have done this before, you may have developed the skills and the subtleties necessary to sell secondhand cars without losing a cent, and maybe even make some profit on the side. If this is your first time, watch out. If you are not careful, you stand to lose a lot of money when you commit costly mistakes. Ironically, even professional car vendors of used cars stumble once in a while. If you want a fair return on your investment or you would like to make some profit from the sale, you need to avoid the following common mistakes when selling your car.
- 1 Pricing the Car - How much is fair?
- 2 The Where and How of Advertising
- 3 Timing Your Sale
- 4 Looks and Appearances Matter
- 5 Protect Yourself from Scams
- 6 Legal Mistakes
- 7 Selling Skills
- 8 Tips, Tricks, and Warnings
- 9 Questions and Answers
- 10 Comments
Pricing the Car - How much is fair?
- 1Don't get shortchanged by selling to a car dealer. Of course car dealers are helpful and will offer to take the problem of selling your car off your hands. Take note, however, that car dealers will never pay you your actual car's worth. If you just want to get rid of your car fast and do not mind losing a thousand dollars for convenience, then go ahead. Otherwise, sell it in the open market.Advertisement
- 2Don't set the price too high or too low. Opting to sell your car in an open market can net more cash than selling to a third party dealer or a trade-in. Get your car valued properly. Too high a price can deter car shoppers, and pricing too low can make you lose money. To determine the fair price for you and the buyer, check out credible sources - NADA Guide or the Kelley Blue Book - that monitor second-hand car prices.Advertisement
- 3Don't overvalue price guides. While you need these to help you fairly set the price of your used car, remember, these are just estimates. There are many other factors that can influence the price of your car - mileage, upgrades, kind of usage, etc. A good approach is to look in several price guides or cite sources when doing the research for the price of the given model or make. If you are internet savvy you can also see what your car used car sells for online.
The Where and How of Advertising
- 1Don't advertise in rarely read websites, newspapers, etc. Advertising is your strategy to send out the information to your target buyers. Using the wrong site can only cost you money, and yield slow or no results. If you're selling a special kind of model, seek out sites/media frequented by enthusiasts and hobbyists who know cars. Consider getting the most exposure for the least cost through packages and deals on websites that yield successful results. A site that allows you to upload images with links can help you engage your potential buyers and is therefore, a good strategy.Advertisement
- 2Don't put out an amateurish ad that doesn't read well. Even if your car is a great buy, no one will know about it unless that is conveyed in an ad properly. You need an ad that will capture attention and spark interest. You can effectively tell your story and grab attention with a well-written ad. To get the most from your ads, be as detailed as you can in regards the car's history and features. Seek professional help to have an ad that is worth a second look.
Timing Your Sale
- 1Don't sell the car when times are hard. Selling your car during certain times may be more difficult, such as in winter, or times people may be strapped for cash. Always remember that the month in which you will be selling your car is always important. Take note of the weather (gloomy days are not conducive for road tests) and the payment schedules of bills and taxes.
Looks and Appearances Matter
- 1Don't overlook the importance of good photos. Pictures can definitely paint thousands of words and spark myriad thoughts. Don't leave out car details when taking pictures. Use them to your advantage. Since taking pictures using digital cameras is cheap, take as many as you can to have more options. If you are advertising online, images are a great way to attract buyers.
- 2Don't try to sell a dirty car. People like to buy things that look new and clean, even when buying a used car. This makes them sleep better knowing they made a good buy. A dirty car is a blatant reminder they are buying something old and perhaps unreliable. Take time to clean your car inside and out to be able to take impressive pictures. Fix things that will merit attention, but will not really cost much. A good-looking used car can easily impress buyers.
- 3Don't waste money on non-priority repairs before your sale. This is a very personal decision. Which do you think you should fix first? Many would go for the exterior, as this is what will be caught in the pictures and what buyers will see first. Others may choose to go for those repairs that keep the car in good running condition. People like to buy new-looking cars, but they would not want to buy a car that needs much mechanical fixing. It is good to attend to both in moderation. Seek help from a professional.
Protect Yourself from Scams
- 1Don't put yourself vulnerable to fraud. You are looking for interested buyers and that makes you vulnerable. Unfortunately, not everyone who asks is a legitimate buyer. There are so many ways you can be conned. The bottom line is not to part with your car during test drives, but only after receiving payment. If it is a check or money order, validate that its funded first before letting the buyer drive away with your car.
- 1Don't enter into an oral contract because these are still contracts. A contract need not be in writing to be legally enforceable. Even verbal agreements may also be considered contracts. Your promise is as good as affixing your signature to a contract, so do not make any promise that you can't keep.
- 2Don't just sign a contract without fully comprehending the stipulations in the contract. You cannot just back out after you sign a legal document because it is a legally enforceable document. If you are entering into a binding agreement or you made a bad deal, consult with a lawyer first. You can always hold a dialogue with the buyer first and hope that kinks can be ironed out without an expensive and prolonged legal procedure.
- 3Don't sign a contract with someone else unless you want to be stuck with them. The other person becomes a co-owner whose rights must be recognized in the process. This can complicate certain matters during the sale. Ask a lawyer to better protect yourself in the eventual sale of the car.
- 1Don't mishandle the sales pitch. If you are selling a prized car, it is perhaps natural to expect that the car will sell on its merits. However, remember that it is not always like this with all cars. Do your own research to be familiar with the pros and cons of the model that the prospective buyer must have likely researched. Thinking ahead and being prepared can help you pitch a stronger position.
- 2Don't be too pushy. Talking it up to the point of overselling is a big no-no. If you appear too desperate, buyers will be doubtful and you may stand to lose them. Be casual with your sales pitch and techniques. If they can see that your car is a good buy, they will close the deal without much prompting. Just be honest and ready with information, and after the sale, stop talking.
- 3Don't rein in the sale because you dislike the buyer. In marketing, you sell even to your enemies if they can afford it. His or her cash is as good as anyone else's money. If you dislike the person because he or she makes the negotiations difficult, try and treat it like any transaction. If that fails, then move on to the next buyer, but not before a good try.
Tips, Tricks, and Warnings
- Know your goal and stick to it. Don't let yourself get sidetracked with too many diversions during your "Meetups" or when presenting your facts/history of the car. If you want to carry on chit chat to build a connection with the buyer, do that after you have gotten all selling points across.
- A trustworthy proof of condition is powerful. Pre-purchase inspections done by credible local dealers can go a long way. It is inexpensive, but it sends a strong message of reliability to your buyer.
- Take note that selling cars takes several steps; mistakes can happen anytime in the process. Blunders can cost you money in so many ways. Selling may also involve legal aspects that can complicate the process and your life after the sale. Mistakes may also be an offshoot of your naiveté if you are a total neophyte.
Questions and Answers
My car has no insurance. Will new owner need it?
My car has no insurance, so when I sell my car (privately) to someone, can they take it for a test drive?. Also, will they need insurance on it when they have purchased the car and drive off?
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