What You Need to Know Before Selling Your First Car

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Selling a used car is as difficult as buying one. If you’re selling your car for the first time, you might be feeling a little lost or overwhelmed. 

But with a little bit of research and preparation, you can ensure the process goes smoothly. 

So in this article, we’ll discuss what you need to know before selling your first car as well as tips to get the most money for your car.

5 things to know before selling your first car

Your Car’s Market Value

Unfortunately, used cars don’t have fixed prices. Just because you paid $15,000 for your used car doesn’t mean you’ll get that same amount when you sell it. 

Several factors affect your car’s market value, such as its make, model, age, mileage, and condition. Do some research on your car’s make and model to see what it’s worth and expect to get about 10-20% less than that.

The best way to conduct this research is to visit car dealerships and look at prices of similar models. You can also check online listings (find out more here) and classified ads to see what other people are selling their cars for. Finally, you can get an estimate from a professional car appraisal service.

The Auto Market’s Condition

The state of the economy also plays a role in how much your car is worth. When the economy is strong, there are more buyers looking to purchase cars, and as a result, your car is worth more. However, during an economic downturn, there are fewer buyers and your car’s value decreases.

To get an idea of the current market conditions, pay attention to news stories about the auto industry as well as interest rates. You can also talk to car dealers and ask them about the current market conditions.


Your Car’s Title

The title is a document that proves you own the car. In order to sell your car, you’ll need to have a clean title with no liens or encumbrances. If you have a loan on the car, you’ll need to pay it off before selling and receive the title from the lender. 

If you’re not sure where your car’s title is, you can usually find it in your glove compartment or with your car registration.

You’ll also need to fill out some paperwork when you sell your car. This typically includes a bill of sale, which is a document that transfers ownership of the car from you to the buyer. 

The bill of sale should include both your and the buyer’s name and address, the car’s make, model, year, VIN number, and the sales price. So make sure to have most of this information at hand before listing your car.

Your Sales (or Asking) Price

Once you know your car’s market value and have all the necessary paperwork, you can start thinking about your asking price. 

If you’re in a hurry to sell, you might want to set a lower price. But if you’re not in a hurry, you could set a higher price and try to negotiate down. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide how much you want for your car.

To get an idea of what other people are asking for similar cars, again, you can check online listings and classified ads. You can also ask people you know who have recently sold their cars.

When you do set a price, make sure it’s in writing so there’s no confusion later on. You might want to write, “Or best offer” to leave some room for negotiation.

Your Car’s Faults

When people head out to buy a used car, they tend to focus more on the faults rather than the good parts. So it’s important to be honest about your car’s faults, even if they seem small or unimportant to you. The more honest you are, the more likely you are to find a buyer who’s willing to pay a fair price for your car.

Some common faults that people bargain over include things like a bad paint job, dents or scratches, a cracked windshield, mechanical problems, and high mileage. If your car has any of these faults, be prepared to negotiate on the price.

If you’re a second owner of your car, you might be unsure of its complete history. In this case, it’s a good idea to get a vehicle history report (VHR) or a CARFAX report. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you’re being transparent about your car’s history and any potential problems it might have.

Now that we’ve discussed what you need to know before selling your car, let’s talk about how to get the most money for it.

How to get the best price for your car

Craft a Compelling Ad

The first step is to write a compelling ad that will attract buyers. When writing your ad, make sure to include the car’s make, model, year, and mileage. You should also mention any unique features or selling points. For example, if your car is in good condition for its age or has low mileage, make sure to mention that in your ad.

It’s also a good idea to take some good quality photos of your car. If possible, take the photos in good lighting with a clean background. You want potential buyers to be able to see the car clearly so they can get an idea of what they’re looking at.

Lastly, don’t forget to include your asking price in the ad. If you’re open to negotiation, you can mention that as well.

Be Careful About Worthless Repairs

You might be tempted to repair your car before selling it to get a higher price. But be careful about sinking too much money into common repairs, as you might not get your money back.

In general, it’s a good idea to only make repairs that are absolutely necessary. For example, if your car has a small dent, it’s probably not worth your time or money to fix it. But if your car has a serious mechanical problem, you might want to get it fixed before selling.

If you’re not sure whether a repair is worth it, ask your mechanic for their opinion. They should be able to tell you how much the repair will cost and how long it will take. They can also give you an idea of how much the repair will improve the value of your car.

Don’t Try to Be “Sales-y”

Buyers tend to avoid cars that are being sold by pushy salespeople. So when you’re showing your car to potential buyers, try to avoid coming across as salesy.

Let the buyer take their time to look over the car and ask any questions they might have. If they’re interested, they’ll let you know. And if they’re not, that’s okay too. There’s no need to try to convince them to buy your car if they’re not interested.

If you come off as a salesperson when selling your car, buyers are more likely to become suspicious of you. They might think you’re trying to hide something or that you’re not being completely honest about the car. They might also think that your price isn’t fair, which will lead to even more negotiating.

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John Miller

John Miller is a cars enthusiast who loves writing anything related to automobiles. He is a passionate blogger writing for innovatecar.com and other auto blogs