It is easy to prepare your car for sale but for some reason many people don't bother to! Here is 10 golden rules to selling a car and getting more cash when you close the deal. These are all legitimate common sense proven tips. So rest assured there won't be any 'Sawdust in the gearbox' or 'Tell the buyer to look into your eyes' tips!
- Make sure your car is clean! Don't just wash it, suds means bucks!
Give it a proper clean, get the cotton buds into the air vents, steam clean under the wheel arches. Clean it like you have never cleaned it before!
Paint the wheel trims or wheels and tyres. Take stickers, garfields, furry dice etc. off the windows. Just because you like them your buyer might not! Even if you are selling a project or damaged car,let the buyer see what they are buying. Get all the rubbish out it (boxes etc.) It really will add value to your car.
- Speculate to accumulate! You would be amazed how many people will pick up on a new pair of wiper blades or a new set of number plates. Fix any minor faults too. Broken switches, bent aerials, missing caps or trim etc. can all be picked up on ebay or down the local breakers yard for peanuts. £10 spent wisely will add hundreds!
- Service the car! If your buyer brings an 'expert' round they may glance at the oil or air filter. A well maintained car is a better bet than a neglected one. A new set of spark plugs and a dose of fuel cleaner can restore lost performance. How embarrasing would it be if the buyer heard the fanbelt squeal when they started it for the first time?If you take the car to a garage they will report any faults (or at least they should!) so you can let the buyers know or have them fixed (and let your buyers know!)
- Be honest! After years of selling cars I have realised it is far less hassle to tell prospective buyers of faults rather than leave them to find them. If you tell your buyer 'The radio doesn't stay on the station' or 'The rocker cover leaks' for example they will respect you and trust you more.
- Give the customer information overload! Know how much the car is worth, exactly what model it is, why it is better than (insert rival car here), what size of engine it has, has it had any work done? Are those the original wheels? Put yourself in the buyers place and think of what they will ask and what sort of people will be interested in your car.
- Take plenty pictures! Especially if you are selling your car on ebay. Inside, outside, engine, doors open, boot. Everywhere you can think of. If it has a full service history scan it, long MOT? Scan it too! Receipts for engine rebuild etc. Just make sure they are good pictures. No-one will laugh at you if you have to take the pictures again but if your car looks blurred/too dark/too far away people will!
- Get your figures straight! Know exactly how much you need to make. Don't be pushed into dropping your lowest price. This is easier on Ebay as you can always set a reserve. The golden rule here is be honest with yourself. If your car isn't in first class condition you won't get that price. If you are advertising it in the Autotrader etc. set the price at the guide price. This gives you a bit of leeway should the buyer negotiate.
- Things to avoid on ebay! Think carefully about selling for friends/relatives. You undertake any liability should the car break down 5 miles down the road. The angry buyer will not care who you were selling for when he leaves a negative. Avoid phrases like 'the car is advertised elsewhere, I reserve the right to remove it for sale at any time' as everyone knows what you mean is 'If no-one bids I will spit the dummy and advertise it in Tescos' If you want a fixed price, put it on as a buy it now. If you want a bit of fun, auction it. Don't put it on at 99p unless you are confident it will reach your minimum price.
- Be organised! Have all the documents, history, receipts etc. together so that you can answer questions quickly. If you stick them all in a folder it makes the car look a bit more cared for.
- Don't do anything stupid! Sounds obvious but you would be surprised how many people let dodgy buyers '...just have a run round the block' Can you imagine what you would say to the police on the phone?! Also, no matter how much they ask, don't let them drive the car unless they are insured. Some motor traders will have trade insurance but the guy down the road looking for a car for his wife won't! If anything happens its your car!