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For whatever reason, you’ve decided to sell your vehicle, and of course, you want to get the most money you can out of it.

The first thing I like to do when selling a vehicle is to try and put myself in the mindset of the person who might want to purchase it from me. For instance: is my vehicle just basic transportation, or is it a cream puff that should fetch top dollar? This question will dictate my approach when selling a vehicle.

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No matter what approach you take, keep in mind that your vehicle is only worth what someone will pay for it. You have to try and see things from the buyer’s perspective. They don’t love your vehicle like you do, and they don’t have a sentimental attachment. I recommend thinking of the vehicle as already being sold. This will help take emotion out of the equation, which may help you negotiate the best price.

Finding a good price point is key to getting interest in your vehicle. Price it too high, and you won’t get any interest. Price it too low, and you could lose a lot of money.

I think a good stepping-off point is the ‘book value’ of your vehicle. There are several companies that do this. A simple Google search or app may provide this information for you. Once you have a base price, you then need to assess the condition of your vehicle. Be honest here. If the vehicle is in ‘fair’ condition, list it as such and price it accordingly, less than the average book value. A vehicle in Good or Excellent condition will be worth more, but if a buyer comes expecting to see a vehicle in Good condition only to find that it’s in Fair/Poor condition, it will not only make them feel like you wasted their time, but it could also cost you the sale.

Once you’ve established a fair price point, add 15%-20% to your listing. People want a bargain, and if you’re able to negotiate during the sale, they will walk away feeling like they got that bargain, and you will likely walk away with the ‘bottom dollar’ that you’re looking for. If you list a vehicle only for what you want out of it, it’s not likely you’ll ever see that price.

Always be as up front as possible about the vehicle you’re selling. Don’t try to hide or cover up problems. You can either have the issues repaired, or you can let the seller know what those issues are before they purchase it. You can also reflect this in your price, either by lowering it to cover the cost of the repair, or raising it to have the repairs completed before the sale.

Trust me, you don’t want an angry buyer coming back because you left out the important detail that the engine has a major issue that could cause it to fail soon.

IMG 8068Clean and detail the vehicle before you take pictures for the sale. People judge - and purchase vehicles - based on appearance more than anything. If your vehicle is shiny and standing tall, you’ll get the most interest. More interested buyers means more chances you’ll get the best price.

When you take pictures of your vehicle, do it with the least distracting background possible. Don’t take a picture in a parking lot with a lot of other vehicles. Have fun with this. Take your vehicle out to a park or other open area where you can really showcase what your vehicle has to offer. Do a ‘photo shoot’. Take 3/4 views of both the front and back. Take shots of the engine compartment and the interior. Also take shots of anything you feel is special about the vehicle. This will impress buyers and they will come calling.


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If you kept a log, or have receipts for the repairs and maintenance of the vehicle, present them to the buyer. This adds provenance, reinforces your care of the vehicle, and can increases the chances you’ll get what you’re asking for.

Lastly, don’t appear to be too eager to sell. Buyers can sense this and it often turns them away. Just be matter of fact and up front. Answer any questions they might have and provide them with all the information you can about the vehicle. Remember that they’re looking for a deal. Make them feel like they’re getting one. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you left a little room in the price, great, you can use that to close the deal. If you have to move a little past it, that’s OK. You can either accept the offer, or wait for the next buyer.

In fact, in my experience, the best way to sell someone something, is to tell them they can’t have it. If a buyer is beating you up, just mention that the vehicle is still available to other buyers who might not feel the same way they do.

In summary, be honest. Not just with the buyer, but with yourself. You’re 

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selling a used vehicle. To you it might have sentimental value, but to the buyer, it’s just another vehicle they’re looking at that day. Try to keep that in mind so you don’t hold out too long. If you do, you may never sell it.

Good luck!

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ETCG