When you’re dealing with pesky and costly auto repairs on a month-to-month basis, buying a brand-new vehicle that passed a thorough inspection can lift the burden of frequent trips to the mechanic off any car owner’s shoulders. Besides enjoying a hassle-free car-owning experience, the owner of a brand-new vehicle can bask in that new-car smell for the first month or two, which is known to instill a sense of financial achievement. Some vehicle owners wait years to upgrade their bucket of bolts to the latest model, meaning you should savor the car buying experience.
However, one of the limited downsides to buying a new car is undergoing the process of selling or disposing of your previous vehicle. In some cases, your last car may have granted you years of reliable service, making it difficult to part with your investment.
When you sell your used car, you’ll want to consider several options before landing on a final decision. While you can always take the easy route and trade-in at a car dealership, the risk of a scam is inevitable. Unfortunately, some car dealers may appraise your car’s value unfairly. Despite this risk, some vehicle owners prioritize convenience over cash value and opt for the trade-in method.
If you have the time to spare in your schedule and are committed to getting top dollar for your used car, you could list an ad and try to sell it to an independent buyer. The problem with this particular option is it can be time-consuming, and it’s not always easy to find a reliable buyer. No-show appointments and constant haggling over price can become tedious over time. With these downsides in mind, it might be your best option to sell to a used car dealership.
You might feel you would be at a disadvantage right off the bat as you try to negotiate prices with a car salesperson who buys and sells cars for a living. While that’s a reasonable consideration, there are some things you can do to even the playing field. Without further ado, here are four tips on how to sell your car to a dealership.
1. Figure out what the car is worth
While you probably won’t get your asking price, you still have a right to price your vehicle the amount you want. Keep in mind that no one will value your car as you do, so you’ll need to set a realistic starting asking price.
To arrive at a fair price point, you’ll need to do some research. You can start by referencing the Kelley Blue Book, but you might want to put forth a little more effort than that. The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)’s website can also be a useful tool in this phase. For the highest selling price possible, you might want to use resources like Carfax and AutoCheck to obtain the car’s repair history. This step is non-negotiable if you aren’t the original owner.
Once you have a good idea of your car’s worth, you’ll have a sturdy foundation for negotiating a fair price. While you certainly don’t want to undervalue your vehicle, you’ll need to be realistic about the asking price to prevent averting potential buyers. You can dream big. However, to avoid crushed expectations, you should prepare to accept a lower offer.
2. Make necessary repairs
The next step on your car selling checklist would be addressing the car’s appearance and how well it functions. To score a fair price, you’ll need to ensure the vehicle is in decent condition. In the presence of unsightly dings and dents, dealers will levy a proportionate hit to the car’s value.
It would be unreasonable to expect the owner to buff every car scratch, but you’ll need to invest in enough repair work to make sure the car operates correctly. The elements to focus most intently on are tire condition, oil leaks, minor dents, damaged headlights/taillights, and brakes.
3. Clean cars sell
Anyone who’s applied for a job or went on a first date understands the importance of first impressions. Yes, professional car dealers are prone to making judgments on cars based on their appearance alone.
Because cleanliness can boost your car’s value, you’ll want to take the time to vacuum the floor mats, polish the dash, and clean out any loose trash. It doesn’t take more than an afternoon to clear a car inside and outside. Along with basic interior and exterior cleaning, a good coat of wax can also make your vehicle more attractive to potential buyers.
By investing two hours into cleaning your car inside and outside, you’ll likely reap the rewards in the form of a better price. Pay extra attention to the interior, as unpleasant smells or crumbs embedded in your console’s cracks can turn off even the most interested aspiring car owners.
4. Pin dealers against each other
There’s nothing printed in the car selling handbook that says you have to take the first offer. In all honesty, you would be doing yourself a big disservice if you accepted that first offer without hesitation.
Depending on where you live, there could be quite a few dealers in the area. Pitch your car to multiple dealers. If you receive an offer, go to another dealer and see if they’re willing to give you more money for your used vehicle. While it may seem like an underhanded strategy, it’s the harsh reality of the negotiating process. If your car is in decent shape, dealers won’t mind competing to purchase it.
Don’t settle for second best. Ensure you get the best price for your used vehicle so that you can put the money towards the luxury car of your dreams.