If you’re ready to sell your car, now is the time. Why? The demand for used cars has increased sharply in recent months. In fact, data from Edmunds, an online resource for automotive information, shows that the average listing price for used vehicles increased in July 2020. The research calls out several reasons for this new rise in demand as consumers adjust to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic: a renewed interest in personal travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, a shortage of new vehicle inventory, and a focus on financial responsibility. Together these trends create opportunities. Start with these 6 steps to get ready to sell your car and earn top dollar.
Here are 6 steps to get your car ready for sale to earn top dollar:
1. Know the Market Value of Your Car
There are many factors that affect an appropriate list price for a vehicle. The type of vehicle, vehicle year, current mileage and the overall condition contribute to a used vehicle’s value. For example, currently trucks and SUVs are commanding top dollar. Likewise, vehicles under 10 years old, or those with fewer than 100,000 miles are more likely to be in higher demand, and, therefore, are more likely to have greater value.
The economy is changing quickly and it is important to be informed about the latest market prices for your vehicle. A resource like Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book can help you be informed about the latest market prices and even help you get an appraisal to help determine the optimal listing price to meet your needs.
2. Start with a Pre-Sale Inspection
Used car buyers look for vehicles in good mechanical condition. Have your car inspected by a professional mechanic before you list your car for sale. You want to eliminate any hidden issues or surprises. An auto service professional will identify any service needs your vehicle might have that could affect your car’s mechanical condition or affect the listing price.
A pre-sale inspection from a trusted auto mechanic is invaluable. Buyers may not expect a used car to be perfect, but they will want it to be mechanically sound. If you are looking for a quality local mechanic to perform the inspection, Openbay, the innovative marketplace for auto repair, can help you find one.
3. Make the Right Repairs
The best thing you can do to sell your car at top dollar is to make sure your car is in good operational condition. Talk with your mechanic about the importance of each service they identify before you decide to make the repairs.
A quality mechanic will help you decide which services are most important for a vehicle’s safety and value. There may be some services you decide not to perform because they are not critical for safety, or significantly increase the value of the vehicle.
If a repair is essential to the mechanical condition or safety of the vehicle, it will be worth the investment. Additionally, plan to have the mechanic perform any inspections required by a state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) such as a smog inspection.
Finally, be sure to have the mechanic issue a report about the condition of the car. You can use this information as proof of the mechanical condition of the car during the selling process.
4. Add More Value with Simple Upgrades
A vehicle that appears well cared for is usually worth more. There are simple steps you can take to show your car in the best light. For example, for a few hundred dollars you can get your car detailed to bring the car as close to its original condition as possible from an expert like the people at Spiffy. A deep clean is especially important today, as consumers are interested in extra steps for healthy, safe environments. A car is no exception, especially when you want to sell for the most money possible.
There are other simple and affordable ways to improve a car’s appearance. Investing in new floor mats or seat covers can help a car’s interior look fresh and clean. Take the time to wipe dust and grime from wheel covers and the engine to add extra shine to your car. Removing personal items from the vehicle requires no money and helps a potential buyer imagine the car as theirs, not yours.
Pay attention to the cost of each upgrade. Focus your time and money on the updates that add the most value at a reasonable price.
5. Be Transparent about Vehicle Condition
Research and follow all rules and regulations for selling a used car. Most states have laws requiring disclosure of the condition of a vehicle. You may be required to tell the buyer if the car has been salvaged, rebuilt or damaged in a flood.
Remember, today buyers can learn about your car’s background by purchasing a car history report online.
In most states the condition of a used car for sale is considered ‘as is.’ If the car breaks down after the buyer purchases the car, you will usually not be responsible for repairing the vehicle or refunding the buyer for the sale. And, if your buyer has taken the car for an inspection, your transaction is especially protected from a dispute.
In the long run, it’s important to be transparent about a vehicle’s condition. It will make the sales process stress-free and faster to complete.
6. Prepare the Paperwork
The final step in the process is the paperwork required to transfer ownership. First, it’s important to have the vehicle title. If you have financed and paid off the car, have the lien release available. Read the title carefully before you sign it over to the buyer. Every state’s procedures are slightly different, and if you make a mistake, it may require additional forms to correct it.
You can also order a vehicle history report and show it to the buyer to prove the car’s title is clean and the odometer reading is accurate.
If possible, collect receipts and detailed records of all oil changes and maintenance work. This can verify the mechanical condition of the vehicle and help justify a higher selling price. If you’ve been in any accidents, or have had extensive work done on the vehicle, have the repair history available too.
Finally, be timely and accurate in completing all paperwork required by your state’s DMV. Following the correct process will help make the process of selling your vehicle faster and hassle-free.
A Pre-Sale Checklist for Car Owners
- Research the value of your vehicle and determine the selling price for your car using a tool like Edmunds’ appraisal tool.
- Have a quality mechanic complete a pre-sale inspection. A resource like Openbay makes it easy to work with a top-rated mechanic in your area. This article shares what to look for.
- Consult with your mechanic on what services to perform. Prioritize services that make the car safe and have the most resale value.
- Get any inspections required by your state DMV such as a smog inspection.
- Get a mechanic’s inspection report to show prospective buyers.
- Give your car extra value by cleaning and detailing it.
- Collect your vehicle’s service history to verify it’s mechanical condition.
- Order a vehicle history report and show it to the buyer to prove the car’s title is clean and the odometer reading is accurate.
- Finalize the sale of your car by fulfilling all state motor vehicle department paperwork to transfer ownership and limit your liability.
- Remove all personal items from your car before the new owner drives it away.
Are you considering selling your car? Start with Openbay to find a quality local mechanic to get your car ready for sale. Get competitive estimates, with white-glove service from start to finish.
Not ready to sell your car? Openbay makes auto repair and maintenance simple. All services are backed by the Openbay Guarantee and Openbay maintains your auto service history.