Selling Your Car? How to Get a Better Price

Whether you’re putting your car on the market for the first time or you’re a veteran auto salesman, getting the best price for your vehicle can always be a bit of a gamble. From cosmetic details to technical tune-ups to picky buyers, every auto sale faces its own unique set of obstacles. We’ve outlined some simple solutions to help get you across the finish line with your wallet full -- and your nerves intact.

Don’t Be Overconfident

You may think your car is perfect, but its next owner may not appreciate the fact that you have to nudge the clutch just so to get it to shift back into fourth gear, or that the passenger sun visor doesn’t quite flip down all the way. If you price your car too high you might not sell it at all—but if you price it too low you’ll lose money. According to Kelley Blue Book, a respected automotive research company, owners tend to overestimate the value of their car and set their starting price too high, leaving little room for negotiation and turning off potential buyers. Look up your car’s Blue Book Value to get a sense of what price you should expect to get, and check it on a weekly basis to ensure your vehicle’s value hasn’t dropped (or risen!) with changes in the marketplace.

The Devil is in the Detailing

You’ll get a better price for your car if it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor. Give your car a serious facelift before you put it back on the market! Steam cleaners offer a superior way to get cars pristine, without the trouble of shampooing or spot cleaning with a variety of chemicals. This is one reason why professional detailing companies rely on steam cleaning to restore auto interiors.

Selling Your Car? How to Get a Better Price

Photos courtesy of Northwest Auto Salon

For further instruction on how to remove stains and odors from interior surfaces, eliminate salt dust, deep clean leather surfaces, and even clear out air vents check out our car-detailing guide..

Invest in Tune-Ups

A little investment goes a long way when it comes to reselling your car. Spending money to fix obvious flaws like worn tires or a dented bumper can drive up your car’s re-sale value by thousands of dollars and attract more interested buyers. Less noticeable defects may take a professional eye to catch, so you’ll want to have a mechanic look over your car to spot any faulty parts or worrisome signs. Even if you don’t have the budget for repairs, you don’t want buyers finding an issue themselves and fighting you on the price. Plus, you can earn extra brownie points (and dollars) by just showing up to a sale prepared: change the oil, top off the gas tank, and bring your car’s service history records. It’ll demonstrate that you cared for your car properly and may give you leverage to push for a higher price.

Create an Unforgettable Ad

Even if your car is in mint condition, a poorly written listing may cause buyers to pass you by. Luckily, when it comes to online marketplaces like Craigslist, the bar is pretty low. Many sellers fail to include even the most basic of information in their ads—mileage, manual or auto, VIN, smoking history—giving you a serious advantage. Be honest and detailed: include everything you think a potential buyer may want to know about your vehicle, even if it means calling out broken or faulty parts, along with plenty of photos. And, if your listing turns into an in-person sale, make sure to dress the part and show up ready to negotiate like a seasoned professional.