5 Tips for Selling a Used Car

Selling a used car can be a stressful experience. Whether it’s your first time or your fifth, there’s no denying that selling your vehicle comes with various challenges and unexpected obstacles on the way to a completed sale. 

Fortunately, there are some steps private sellers can take to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. 

Photos, Photos, Photos.

The pictures you attach to your listing are potential buyers’ first impression of your vehicle. Many listings tend to have subpar photos, whether that be due to bad image quality and lighting or a lack of photos in general.

For the perfect set of pictures for your vehicle, make sure both the exterior and interior are sufficiently clean and not noticeably filthy. Of course, cleaner is always better. We recommend having your car detailed prior to listing it, or at least giving it a wash.

When taking photos, ensure proper lighting to make the vehicle stand out and appear as clean as possible. Avoid having a lack of lighting or parking the car in the shadows, as this can make the features of the vehicle harder to see and stand out less against the other listings.

Location matters as well, which is why it may be worth it to take your car to a park or other scenic area rather than taking photos in your driveway or along the street.

It’s also imperative to have a wide range of photos (inside and out), otherwise, potential buyers may assume you are trying to hide a certain portion of the vehicle from them. Try taking them from multiple angles and distances, and choose whichever ones look best from that portion of the vehicle. 

You don’t need to be a professional photographer, but clear and well-taken photos will always be better than the opposite when trying to sell.

Photo of BMW M3 from the front

Be Honest

It can be tempting to conveniently leave out a few notes on the condition of the vehicle, and while that might help you get more buyers to reach out and want to see the car, the real problems come later.

When the buyer does eventually find the issue, it makes the whole vehicle seem less desirable. If you’re hiding one issue, who’s to say you’re not hiding many? Not only is it detrimental to the person you’re selling to, but it will hurt your chances of getting your vehicle sold. 

This isn’t to say you should write a novel on the mechanical and aesthetic condition. Too much information of any kind poses the risk of driving away buyers. Keep your description detailed, concise, and honest.

Hail damage on the roof of a car

Small Fixes Make Big Differences

While it may not be worth it to carry out the more major repairs before selling, it’s a good idea to make some small changes to make your vehicle seem worth a little more.

From fixing fogged headlights to a new cabin air filter, these services are relatively cheap and can add significant value to your car. Even something as simple as popping in loose trim pieces can land you some extra cash from your sale. 

Foggy headlight
Matsukawa, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Remove Personal Touches

While customizing our vehicles with stickers and other personal touches can make the car feel more representative of ourselves, it can also do the exact opposite for others. It’s always a good idea to remove what aesthetic customizations you can before selling. 

So peel off those bumper stickers, and follow up with some adhesive residue remover to make your car look as good as new. 

Stickers on the back of an SUV

Pricing it Right

The price will almost always be the number one concern of buyers, which is why pricing your vehicle right is one of the most important steps in the selling process. 

It’s of course a good idea to know the market value of your vehicle, which you can find out on Kelly Blue Book. These prices aren’t set in stone but will give you a good foundation for what other examples of the same make and model are selling for with similar features and condition. 

It’s usually beneficial to price your vehicle slightly over what you want for it, maybe even by a few thousand depending on the vehicle. This will give your buyer room to negotiate without making you lose out on the true value of your car. 

Allowing your prospective buyer to get a pre-purchase inspection at a local repair shop can go a long way in building trust and showing full transparency about the condition of the car. 

Toy car sitting on stacks of coins

Maintenance & Repair at Borst Automotive

Whether you’re fixing up for your vehicle to sell or just need some repairs, the ASE-certified technicians at Borst Automotive have the expertise to properly service your vehicle. Call or schedule an appointment at any of our four locations today!

Borst Automotive is here to help when you need it. Give us a call, schedule an appointment, or stop in today!