Car Buying

Selling a Car: How Can You Get the Most Money for Your Used Car?

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author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2016

If you're interested in selling a car, you're probably also interested in getting as much money out of it as you can, either to buy a new car, fund something else in your life or just add to your bank account. So how do you ensure you'll get the most money for your used car? We have some tips that can help you get every dollar your car is worth.

Presentation Is Crucial

The easiest way to lose car shoppers is in your presentation. If you take bad pictures, fail to accurately describe your car or don't even bother to wash your vehicle before you sell it, you'll find that you won't get top dollar. Simply put: presentation is crucial.

Our advice: When you take pictures, make sure to get a good shot of everything a potential buyer wants to see -- the front, back and sides of the vehicle as well as several images of the interior. Take the photos in good lighting so a potential buyer can clearly see everything in the picture. And before you even think about taking the first picture, be sure to wash the car. A clean car presents much better than a dirty one.

Once the photos are up, write out a clear description explaining everything you can about the car, from crucial details like mileage, price and features to other important tidbits such as how long you've owned it, why you're selling it and what you like about it.

Address Smaller Items

Before you sell your car, get small items fixed, especially if a buyer is sure to notice them. Are your brakes squealing excessively? Consider new brake pads. Do you have a taillight out? Replace it. Are there dents or scrapes you can easily fix by using a paintless dent-removal service or a cheap rubbing compound? Do it. Remember, your potential buyer will compare your vehicle to a wide range of others so you want yours to stand out above other choices.

You Don't Have to Take the First Offer

When you're selling a car on the Internet, you're bound to receive low offers from people who are looking for a good deal or may try to flip the car for a profit.

Our advice: Remember, you don't have to take these offers. While it may be tempting to say yes to a car shopper with cash on hand, you can always hold out for more money, especially if you don't have to sell your car right away. Be ready with a counter offer of your own, which could help you get a little more money out of a potential buyer, or just say no.

Be Diligent

Another important thing to remember: Be diligent when selling your vehicle. If you receive a call about your car, return the call as soon as possible. If someone emails asking for more information, reply as soon as you can. If you address every buyer as a serious, potential prospect, you will greatly increase your chances of finding a buyer. If you allow communication to fall through the cracks, you may lose buyers who will move on to other vehicles instead.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Selling a Car: How Can You Get the Most Money for Your Used Car? - Autotrader