There are a number of ways to sell a vehicle, but many prefer a private sale to trading it in at the dealership. You can choose whom you sell it to, and specify your terms. Rather than dealing with a massive company, you can make the sale person to person, on your own timeline.

When selling privately though, it can be difficult to know how to get the best value for your vehicle. Rather than cheat yourself out of the transaction you deserve, use our tips for getting the most out of a private car sale. Knowing what to look for, how to list the vehicle, and even how best to prep your vehicle can make the difference between a hasty sale and a mutually satisfying transaction.

Stay Up To Date on Your Vehicle’s Value

When people set out to buy a car, the first thing they do is research. Even for private sales, the person you are selling to has likely looked at the value of vehicles like yours and made their own judgements about what it is worth.

To avoid being lowballed, car owners should do their own research on the market value of a vehicle like theirs. Look at the year, make, and model of your car, and find prices of like vehicles. Then take into account mileage, rarity, and even the area that you are selling it in. These qualities can paint you a vivid picture of what you should be getting for the vehicle.

Go into your sale knowing the market value of your vehicle, how much you paid for it, and the lowest you would go. This way, you will be prepared to counter their offer with facts and information that support the value of your car.

Pay Attention to Detail

There are a few major things you can’t change about your vehicle. The year, make, model, and mileage are all set in stone. But making a sale isn’t just about those factors. People often buy based on impulses and feelings. They are convinced to spend a little more when sitting in the drivers seat just “feels right.”

Wash and polish the cars interior and exterior before giving a tour. Use air freshener and be sure the glove compartment and console are cleaned out. You can even shine your tires with the best tire shine picks on the market. Details like this can help a hesitant buyer to settle with your higher price.

All of these steps help the buyer to see that even if the vehicle is older, it has clearly been well cared for over the years, and is sure to look this great even after another five years goes by.

Bring It In to the Shop

Getting your car into the shop might feel counter intuitive. Why spend cash on repairs when you are about to sell the thing? Well, being able to boast new tires, spark plugs, and a recent oil change can help sell the vehicle for a higher price. Getting these things done along the way too leads to less wear and tear on the vehicle.

A private buyer who knows something about cars can easily appreciate the care that has been taken over the years. Even inexperienced buyers though love to hear that there are “new” parts in the car.

Post a Professional-Looking Listing

The listing is the first place a potential buyer will see your vehicle. If you want top dollar for your car, it is important to really sell it with descriptive imagery and appealing photos. Nothing tanks a sale faster than poorly lit photography of a run down vehicle.

Use a professional camera to get high-resolution. You want lit photographs of your vehicle in front of an attractive background. Be sure to capture both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.

On the listing itself, give your buyer a taste of what the vehicles value is. Talk about the paint job, the design of the car, and the specs. Remember what attracted you to the car when you first bought it. How did the salesman market it to you? The next important factor in listing your vehicle is what platform it is listed on. The typical choice is Craigslist, but if you do a bit of digging, there are many digital publications and platforms that are used by car enthusiasts. Using one of these specialized sites can help you make the sale faster than word of mouth.

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