Tips to Sell Your Car

Preparing your car for sale properly is key to getting it sold quickly at a good price. Whether a buyer is looking at a picture of your car online or in person, you will only have a few moments to convince them to take a closer look. So whether you choose to sell to a “private party” through a listing on craigslist, opt to trade-in to a traditional dealer, or use a full car selling service like Shift, it’s important to make sure your car looks clean and well taken care of. Here are some tips to sell your car and (hopefully) increase it’s curb appeal:

1) Clean up your car

This car selling tip may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how many cars are put up for sale without proper cleaning. Here’s what a cleaning should entail:

  • Wash & vacuum; wax is optional.
  • Clear out all of your belongings. Your entire car and trunk should be empty.
  • Wipe down your wheels, hubcaps and dashboard with car cleaning products so it looks new.
  • Clean mirrors and windows inside and out.
  • Wipe down leather seats with a leather cleaner.
Clean Car Trunk - Lexus IS
Source: shift.com

2) Consider minor upgrades

Small upgrades may be easily worth the money. You’ll be surprised how many things can be upgraded for $20-$70 that may mean you can sell the car for hundreds more. This might mean new seat covers, floor mats, headlights, or steering wheel covers — anything that will make your car look newer and more attractive. Small investments can pay off big time.

Car Inspection Repair
Shift mechanics doing a car inspection

3) Get your car checked by an ASE certified mechanic

C You’ll want to say with confidence and with a report that your car is running smoothly without any problems. This could make a huge difference for a buyer on the fence or a buyer trying to make a quick decision. It will also give you peace of mind to know this buyer isn’t going to come back a week later, fuming because something broke down or a warning light came on. You may also want to get a vehicle history report to show the buyer that the title is clean and the odometer reading is accurate.

4) Minor car repairs may be worth it

Aside from critical repairs that affect the car’s performance and mechanics, some minor repairs may be worth it when trying to maximize the sell price of your car.

Consider getting quotes to fix large, visible dents or scratches which can significantly lower the value of your car in the minds of buyers, particularly  in very noticeable areas such as the door or hood. People are more likely to be okay with scratches and dents on less-obvious areas like the bumper.

Consider other highly visible items to repair. Is your headlight broken? Is there rust from scratches that makes the car look old and worn? These kind of visible fixes can make a big difference in how a buyer evaluates your car. Generally, non-visible repairs like new brakes or tires won’t make too much of a difference in the offer price.

5) Unique Upgrades & Modifications

Keep in mind that a sleek, expensive modification to your car may seem awesome to you, but may not be what a buyer is looking for. In many cases, you will not retain the value of expensive 3rd party modifications. You may even want to consider having the mods removed if you want a larger pool of interested buyers (sometimes you can sell the parts separately, too).

This is particularly important when trying to do a trade-in at a car dealer or getting it appraised by an online service like Shift. As dealers both buy and sells cars, it needs to consider the needs of the buyer and has to be able to vouch for the modification. Thus it is not uncommon for dealers to devalue modification or outright reject cars with too many serious modifications. You may feel like your modifications are great and installed well, but keep in mind that a dealer can’t guarantee its quality and performance so they may adjust your quote.

6) Vehicle Age & Mileage

You may not be able to take back or change the age or mileage of your car, but you can be sure to sell it at the right time. Do not underestimate the psychological power of numbers. The value of your car can depreciate significantly when it hits specific milestones such as 100,000 miles or 10 years of age. If your car is nearing certain milestones, consider reducing your use of the car and selling it sooner than later.

7) Paperwork is important

Having poor paperwork can really hurt car’s sale price as well as increase the hassle of the transaction. It’s important to gather and have all your maintenance records, your title, and lien release papers ready at the point of sale. Be sure to review your documents early and correct any issues before engaging a buyer. This way you don’t lose out on a sale or be negotiated down due to the extra hassle and wait.

If all of this seems like a lot of work or you find yourself too busy to go through the process, consider an all-in service such as Shiftthey’ll pick up your car and handle everything (inspections, repairs, paperwork, car wash and sale). Good luck selling your car!

We Expanded our Coverage Area

We know that selling a car is a big decision, which is why we emphasize a great seller experience. At Shift, there are no shady deals and no negotiation hassle. We take care of the legwork and get you a better price, which frees you up to live your best life. We’re excited to announce that we are bringing our delightful seller experience to even more areas in Northern and Southern California.

Continue reading “We Expanded our Coverage Area”

How to Sell Your Car on Craigslist — Part I

Looking to sell your car on Craigslist? There’s a reason it’s so popular — it attracts a large number of car shoppers and you can generally get more for your car than what a dealership will offer you. It isn’t always seamless, and can be downright dread-inducing if you don’t know what you’re doing. But is IS possible to avoid the stereotypical hassle and cash your check in fast. Here’s how.

Step 1: Decide How Much To Sell Your Car For
The price is a primary search criteria for any buyer, so you’ll want to pick a number that reflects your car’s worth but will attract reasonable buyer inquiries relatively quickly. This is one of the most critical factors to selling your car. There are many ways to go about determining it, but the quickest is to visit the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) website.

(Bear in mind: KBB doesn’t factor in your locale or compare live listings, so a second opinion might be a good idea.)

Once you have some figures in hand, consider your urgency, willingness to negotiate, and the car’s condition to arrive at your listing price.

Step 2: Wash Your Car
Every buyer is going to want to see pictures of the car, so before you do that, let’s get your ride looking as presentable as possible. This is important to do to sell your car quickly.

Basic car wash or a full exterior detailing? Generally speaking, how good your car looks will have an impact on how much you can sell it for, and you’ll often make up the cost of the detailing in the sale price. Ultimately, how you clean your car is up to you, but get it spic-n-span before moving onto step 3.

Step 3: Photograph your vehicle
This is one of the most important but overlooked steps when you go to sell your vehicle. Done well, good photos show off your car in its best possible light. They help set proper buyer expectations, and they make it easier to establish trust.

  • Exterior – Start by shooting the exterior in good daylight. Get multiple angles of the exterior and try not to get too high or too low. Hold the camera at a medium height and frame the car well.
  • Dents and flaws – It may be counterintuitive to take highly detailed photos of damage, but they’ll make sure the buyer knows exactly what they’re buying. If you avoid them, it’s only ammo for the buyer to negotiate during the test drive, so save yourself some time and hassle and capture the dents, tire wear, and paint chips.
  • Interior – Get good shots of the driver’s view and don’t forget the odometer and dash. Don’t forget the trunk area, which is often an important buyer consideration. Get some detail shots of the fabric or leather, as well as interesting interior highlights.

What’s My Car (Really) Worth? The Mushy, Inexact Science of Car Pricing

Step 4: Write an Awesome Description
Paired with your awesome photos, a good description and title is going to help your car stand out from the pack and ultimately sell your car faster. In the title, Craigslist will add the price and location automatically, so you should start your title with your car’s year, make, and model.

For the description, keep it skimmable. Use bullets and break out the basics (mileage, interior/exterior colors, engine details and horsepower) from the detailed features and options. Include a paragraph on its general condition, why you’re selling the car, how you used it, and accepted method of payment (cashier’s check is recommended). Feel free to apply your creativity here, but avoid writing too much.

Step 6: Create the Listing
Now you’re all set to introduce the world to your car. Head over to Craigslist.org, select your geography, and click post to classifieds > for sale by owner > cars & trucks > your neighborhood to get the process started.

Insert the title and description you’ve already written, and fill in the rest of your car’s details. Select CL mail relay (which won’t make your email public) and click publish (it costs $5 dollars).

Congratulations, you did it! Let the test drives commence.

Read PART 11: Test drives & sale