Prepare your vehicle for the Sale
Once you do your research and determine your car’s value, and more importantly, what your car is worth to you, you can prepare to sell your car. First thing, CLEAN YOUR CAR. You are throwing away money if you try to sell a dirty car. NO ONE wants to buy a gross car. At the very least wash, wax, vacuum, and wipe down the interior of your car. For goodness sakes, please make it smell nice. No one likes to smell your old Taco Bell burritos and wet dog. When I say at least, I mean that is the very least you should be doing. You should do more. If you want more money, do more. It is hard work to detail a car. Shampooing carpet, buffing, engine cleaning, and wheel cleaning is hard, but worth it. You can do it yourself, but you can also pay to have it done. Be ready to pay $100-200 for the cleanest your vehicle has been in years. If your floormat are gone or in terrible shape, replace them. They are usually cheap and can make a nice first impression for potential buyers. Now, that your car looks and smells good you can move on to the next step. Second, check your fluids and have them replaced if it is time for it. People will check the oil and transmission fluid during a test drive. If it is low or smells burned it will be no deal. If your transmission fluid is low buyers will assume the worst. Third, get your vehicle repaired. Few people want to buy a vehicle that needs an immediate repair. Those that will buy a vehicle in disrepair will only pay well below what it is worth. New tires and current regular scheduled maintenance are worthy investments also. People will generally pay for the convenience of not having to do those things to the car they just bought. If you are going to buy new tires buy the cheapest ones Discount Tires sells for that vehicle. They will look good, function better than the old ones, and come with a fully transferable treadwear warranty. You can usually recoup 100% of the value for tires and big maintenance.
Prepare yourself for the sale
Gather all of your records you have on the vehicle. If you had every oil change and repair done at the dealership it may be worth paying the $40 for a Carfax or Autocheck. If you were not great at regular oil changes and had your buddies do all of the repairs, it’s probably not worth your time. Write down all of the repairs and service you can think of. Seriously, write is down… you will forget otherwise. FIND THE TITLE. Don’t try to sell a vehicle without a title in your hand. If you can’t find the title it is pretty easy to get a replacement… much easier than trying to get it after you have already accepted an offer but realized you lost the title in your last move.
Now, your car is ready and you are ready, so let’s get this car listed online. Don’t pay for listing your car online. Use free services like Craigslist and Facebook. If you absolutely can’t sell it on a free site consider moving to a paid site. The key to a good listing is brutal honesty. This isn’t online dating, you can’t post a dishonest ad and try to sell it on charm. Brutal honesty starts with lots of great pictures. Use your cell phone ONLY if it has a good camera, if not use a real camera… you might have to borrow one from an old person. Take pictures of everything, I mean everything. You can add 24 pictures to Craigslist, so take 24 pictures of your car. Take pictures of both sides, the front, back, wheels/tires, trunk, backseat, front seats, center console, doors, electronic controls, instrument cluster, engine, and any cosmetic flaws the car has. Next, write a brutally honest and detailed description of your vehicle. Include everything you can (you did write everything down, didn’t you?), from repairs to specs to what you love about it. Use lists to make it easy to read. Include the VIN number so you a potential buyer can run a VIN check. Price it above the lowest price you will accept so there is room to negotiate. Once you hit the PUBLISH button, you start dealing with buyers.