Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Selling a Used Car

There’s no perfect way to sell a car. But even though there’s no guaranteed blueprint for a quick and easy sale, there are some things you can avoid that may deter buyers and make the process harder overall. Here’s a quick list of ten wrong turns to avoid during the process of listing, selling and closing the deal:

Unrealistic Expectations: If you go into the process thinking your car will sell overnight, you may end up disappointed. If you’ve priced your car in the average to high range, it may take longer to sell. So, set your expectations accordingly—the average used car spends several weeks online before the right buyer comes along.

Incomplete Description: Take full advantage of the Vehicle Description area on your ad by telling the story of your car. Why are you selling? How many owners? Be up front and honest about these details.

Low Quality Photos, or Not Enough: Buyers like to see detailed photos of the car from various angles, as well as interior photos.

Slow or Unfriendly Response to Inquiries: Tye Frazier, Autotrader.com Customer Adviser, recommends channeling your inner salesman. “Always sell the car to every caller… you could be talking to the one person who wants to buy the car.”

Inflexibility: This could mean inflexibility with regard to price or even meeting for a test drive. In the end, your asking price is entirely up to you, but most buyers will expect you to work with them.

Dishonesty about Price or Vehicle Condition: If you quote them a different price or they see something that was inaccurately depicted in the ad, they will be immediately suspicious. This is a turn off for buyers.

Lack of Knowledge about Your Car: Be an expert about your car. Anticipate the questions you’ll receive and be ready with quick, knowledgeable answers.

Dirt and Grime: Your car’s outward appearance makes a big difference. Buyers will be impressed if you get your car looking its best, but beyond that, a dirty car might make a buyer think that it has been improperly maintained in other ways.

Incomplete Paperwork: A buyer will be reassured to see that you have all your paperwork in order, especially if your car has had any major repairs in the past. Again, even if you’re not actively trying to be deceptive, a buyer may think you are if you can’t fill in all the blanks of your car’s history.

Fraud: Perhaps the worst pitfall of all is dealing with a dishonest buyer. There are many schemes out there, and awareness is the best defense against them. Find out what you need to know to avoid internet fraud.

Andrew Golaszewski is a staff writer at Autotrader.com.

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