Thinking about buying a car, but you’ve got to sell your current vehicle first? Mark McCready, director of pricing analysis and market strategy for CarsDirect.com tells you how to sell your car for the maximum price:
Get your car in presentation shape
1. Clean minor exterior blemishes with a scratch remover.
2. If the tires are worn, make the investment and put on new tires. They will help the car look much better to a potential buyer.
3. Pay someone to detail your car. If your car’s engine is a major selling point, make sure to get the engine detailed too.
4. Put together a portfolio of all service records. This is a great selling point to show that you’ve maintained the vehicle.
Determining your car’s value
Do some research to determine the car’s worth. There are a number of ways to do this including comparing your car’s model and mileage with similar cars in free auto magazines you can pick up at the supermarket or drug store. You can also do this online by comparing vehicles at websites such as CarsDirect.com, Cars.com and AutoTrader.com.
“Cars Direct is a great resource both for buying and selling cars,” says McCready. The site has one of the best comparison engines around, giving consumers the ability to compare used cars and new cars at the same time. “You can also look up all kinds of options on both new and used cars,”he says.
In addition, use sites like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds and National Automobile Dealers Association Guide to further determine the value of your car. These three sites are great resources and even ask you specific questions about mileage, options and colors.
Be aware of market forces
Because of high gas prices, you aren’t going to get high market price for large trucks and SUVs as in the past. Right now, says CarDirect.com’s McCready, you may able to sell easily your older Honda Civic, Corolla or Ford Focus for a good price.
Take into consideration the time involved
Buying a car and selling a car can take lots of time. For some, it’s not worth selling their car to a private buyer just because of the time involved in fielding phone calls and meeting with potential buyers.
“The internet is great from the standpoint that you can take photos of the vehicle with the price and contact potential buyers via email,” says McCready. “If you use a newspaper or a posting in a magazine or on a message board, you are then tied to the phone.”
However, it still all depends on how anxious you are to sell your car, says McCready. “If you want to sell right away, then do as much as you possibly can,” he says, including posting a “for sale” sign on your car to a magazine ad to advertising on a site such as CarsDirect.com.
What if you still owe money on your car
Many people end up trading in their car because the current loan must be paid off before you can buy another car. Floating the difference isn’t possible for most people because they just can’t do it financially.
Another option is newfangled car superstores such as Car Max. These superstores buy and sell used cars, but don’t require you to buy a car from them. “Because they will turn around and sell your car, they cut out the middleman that a dealer would use,” says McCready.
This means places like Car Max can give you a higher trade-in amount. “They can also handle the paperwork very simply if you owe money on your car.”
However, McCready says, there are a couple of restrictions. Car Max only takes newer cars, low-mileage cars and cars that have not been modified such as jacked-up trucks. “Car Max is a great option,” says McCready. “They will give you a better price and are much easier than selling to a private party. And if you have time constraints, it’s the perfect solution.”