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7 Tips for Selling Your Car

Selling a car, however, is not as easy as selling your old cellphone. Just as the car-buying process comes with its own set of tips and mistakes to avoid, so does the process of selling your vehicle.

To get the most value for your vehicle, protect yourself from fraud, and help make the transaction as smooth as possible, before you put your car up for sale take heed of these seven important tips.

1. Know the Car Market

This means knowing your competitors and having a good idea of what others are selling their similar cars for. Peruse online car listings and check out what other vehicles of the same make and model, and similar age and mileage were listed for.

If you’re willing to take the extra mile, seek out some competing vehicles for sale and take them for a test drive yourself. That way, if a potential buyer asks why your car is being sold for $1,000 more than the same model down the street, you can explain this discrepancy – for example, the competing vehicle has a brake issue, and that’s why the seller is pricing it lower.

2. Make Sure the Price is Right

When you’ve taken a look online for similar vehicles and what they are selling for, it’s time to figure out the price point for your own vehicle. When coming up with your price tag, consider your cars’ mileage, mechanical and cosmetic condition, any modifications, special features, and the trim level of your vehicle.

Keep in mind that if you have an in-demand vehicle, and you price it correctly, it will sell quicker than an older, uncommon special interest vehicle.

When you set your price, make sure you leave some wiggle room for flexibility and negotiations – you wouldn’t want to miss out on a serious buyer for just a few hundred dollars.

3. Use the Internet to Your Advantage

Knowing which online resources to use to advertise your vehicle is key – according to research conducted by Carfax Canada, “80% of car buyers shop online, and 39% believe online sources are the best for researching vehicles.”

Use the world wide web to your advantage by listing your vehicle on websites like Auto Trader and Kijiji. Be sure to take clear, high-quality photos of the outside and inside of your vehicle, and list details like make, model, mileage, age, and all other pertinent specifications.  

4. Pump Up Your Car’s Curb Appeal

This includes giving it a thorough cleaning, both inside the interior and on the outside. Use a vacuum to thoroughly clean the inside of your car and wash the outside (either by hand or with a carwash).

Another option is to hire a professional detailer to clean and detail your car completely, from the inside out. Professional detailers only cost $130 to $150, and it gives you a great selling point to add in your advertisement. To potential buyers, a clean car is a well-maintained car, which translates to more value for you.

Besides making your car more aesthetically pleasing, you’ll want to make sure you’ve taken care of the car’s routine maintenance (including oil changes and any routine services). You can even get your mechanic to look at the vehicle to make sure everything is in good shape and then issue a report on its condition – which you can use as a selling point with potential buyers.

5. Beware of Crooks – But Watch for Serious Buyers

When it comes to selling your vehicle, you want to be cautious, without being paranoid. That’s why it’s a good idea to vet your buyers by speaking to them over the phone before any in-person meetings take place. This will give you a better idea of their intentions, rather than communicating exclusively via email or text message.

Take special care of what types of questions potential buyers ask – in general, legitimate buyers will be curious and ask specific questions pertaining to your vehicle, before wanting to set up a meeting. Scammers may act more disinterested, and be eager to set up an in-person meeting sooner.

What’s more, keep safety in mind when meeting your potential buyers – always meet in a public place, and tell a family member or friend about the meeting.  

6. Ensure Payment Before You Sign Over the Title

To help protect yourself against fraud, you’ll want to make sure that the buyers pay you before you sign over the title of the vehicle. Ask for payment by cash or certified check/bank draft to help combat fraud.

Avoid agreeing to a payment plan unless the buyer is a family member or good friend – this can make things complicated down the road if any issues arise, so try to ensure a full payment when possible.  

7. Finalize the Sale

Once you’re finalizing the sale of the vehicle, you’ll need to complete the transfer of ownership, and record the mileage on the vehicle, as well as the buyers’ name and address. At this point, both you and the buyer must sign and date the transfer of ownership. You, the seller, should keep the license plate, so you can return it to your province’s Ministry of Transportation for a partial refund. Or, if you’ve bought a new vehicle, you can possibly register the plate with the new vehicle.

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Whether you’ve upgraded to a bigger car for your growing family, are leaving behind your wheels for a city subway system, or myriad other reasons, many drivers would like to trade in their car for cash at one point or another.

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