In the first part of this piece we saw how important it is to make a used car look as a attractive as possible before offering it up to potential buyers. Now we will look as some further steps to take to make sure that your pocketbook gets the maximum padding as compensation when saying goodbye to a once-trusted companion.
Sweat the small stuff
Charlie Vogelheim, one-time editor of Kelley Blue Book, told MSN in a 2010 interview:
“You should fix any broken items that are easy to replace, such as lenses and headlights. You don’t want to give a buyer a reason to not buy your car.”
Body work can get expensive, however, and when selling as-is, one has to weigh the investment against how much it will legitimately raise the value. That is a difficult determination, and may depend much on personal judgement.
Dings and dents
Paintless dent repair is much less costly than traditional body work, however, and will do much to improve the look of areas marred by small dents and dings.
Plus, said Vogelheim, in the case of multiple mars, a package deal can be struck:
“If you have multiple dents to repair, you can negotiate a deal to repair several dents at the same time for less than it would cost to repair each of the dents individually.”
If a credible body repair job is not possible without spending a prohibitive amount of money, however, Vogelheim suggested getting an estimate for the repair job and using that information in negotiating a price.
Check the tires
Even if selling the car privately as-is, it is important that the tires have a good amount of tread still on them. It is especially important when selling the car to a dealer because, as we saw in part one, the cost of replacement tires may be deducted from your trade-in.
Gather the paperwork
Here’s where being a fastidious car owner who keeps meticulous records of every maintenance transaction pays off. Everything helps, from oil changes to tire rotations to major repair jobs. A thorough history of the vehicle’s service will be especially helpful if you are selling the car yourself. But it also won’t hurt in getting the top dollar for a trade-in from a dealer. Of course you only have what you have, but collect them together neatly and keep them in the sparkling clean vehicle.
If you have them, the original keys and owner’s manuals will also help make your car more attractive to potential buyers.
Determine the car’s worth
Knowing the market value of your car helps you determine what is fair to ask for it and which offers are worthy of your consideration. This information, once coveted by used car dealers alone, is available now to anybody with online access. Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds Online both list the going value of used cars on their sites. After consulting both services, it may be wise to also check the ads in your vicinity to see if the figure you determined is in line with what local dealers are charging.
It will still be hard saying good-bye to that old road buddy of yours. But at least you will be happy knowing that, because of your extra effort, you at least didn’t get short-changed on the deal.