Getting rid of your pride and joy is never easy. At least Jalopnik readers have a to-do checklist for selling your car with as little fuss and as much profit as possible.
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These aren't the only ten things you need to do in order to get your car sold, but this list is a good place to start if you don't want to constantly have to undercut your price or stare at an unsold vehicle taking up space in your driveway that could be used for your next purchase.
Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker
10.) Get it inspected
Suggested By: benmoo
Why: Find out what's wrong with your car with a professional inspection. You will know you're not selling anything dangerous, and you can fix any small problem with your car.
If you try and sell your car with lots of small faults, the buyer has more negotiating power over you.
Photo Credit: The Hamster Factor
9.) Clean it like it's never been cleaned before
Suggested By: ChibiBlackSheep, consistently inconsistent, Brian1321
Why: A clean car will sell faster and for more money. Clean out the inside to remove all your old wrappers and gum and look for any incriminating evidence of your own life. Hit these target areas for the interior:
Seats — treat the leather/vacuum the cloth.
All the glass in the car
Armorall the dash
Get a steam cleaning if you smoke in the car.
For the exterior: clay the paint, wash the car, and then wax the car. Check out this good video series that covers all of these steps.
Photo Credit: Colin Bewes
8.) Get great photos
Suggested By: Superkiwizorro, maximum_sarge
Why: Your crappy digital camera from 2004 is not going to cut it and neither is your smart phone. If you really want your car to sell, take ‘show' quality pictures of the car.
Find a bright, pretty location and use a nice camera. Take pictures all the way around the car. Take pictures of each part of the interior. In fact, it's not a bad idea to rent a camera or even hire a professional photographer if your car is nice enough.
Photo Credit: Philip Ray
7.) KBB vs Local Craigslist patterns vs Setting your price
Suggested By: Xelmon
Why: How do you know how much to list your car for, and how do you know if someone is totally low balling you?
Make a price comparison sheet.
Start by checking the Kelly Blue Book value of your car. Then check the prices that cars like yours are going for on your local Craigslist. There can be a big difference between these two estimates. Finally, put all of these prices down on paper and set your own price. When a buyer comes and is haggling with you on price, you will now have something concrete to back up your own value.
Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk
6.) Get someone to proofread your ad
Suggested By: SolamenteDave , Eyaare
Why: Even professional authors need editing. Very little makes a person trust an online listing less than ALL CAPS TEXT WIT TONZ OF SPEELING ERRORS.
If you're not a good writer in the first place, getting your friend in marketing to write the ad has proven quite successful.
Photo Credit: Craigslist
5.) List your car on a specialty forum
Suggested By: 900turbo
Why: Online enthusiast forums provide you with a ready group of interested, informed potential buyers. It will be easier for enthusiasts to understand the value of your car.
Photo Credit: AlfaBB
4.) Tell your friends you're selling your car
Suggested By: manifoldengines, wanting for time
Why: You'd be surprised how often people sell their cars to their own friends and relatives. This also saves you from having to deal with tons of lowballing strangers.
Photo Credit: Misha Bittleston
3.) Be brutally honest
Suggested By: Earthbound And Down, 1995droptopz
Why: Do not try and hide any problems with your car. If you pretend it's a 100-point show queen, any buyer will immediately lose trust in you when they spot all the rusts, the scrapes, the weak A/C, and every other little weakness.
No matter what, your ad should include these details:
# of miles
Any major damage
Any failed parts
Any positive qualities unique to your vehicle
New parts you have recently installed
Price and your state of negotiation
Photo Credit: Garret Voight
2.) Get a bill of sale
Suggested By: Slacks, Brazzzzzle
Why: The legalities of selling a car vary from state to state and can be confusing. Let's break it down.
A bill of sale is not required by all states to legally transfer ownership of your car, but it makes the sale explicit by identifying what car you're selling, and conditions attached to the sale, and the agreed price.
Your state may probably require you to go through the DMV. A state-by-state breakdown of what forms you need can be found online, here. Fill all this out before showing up to the DMV, lest it turn into a horror story.
A bill of sale should include:
Your name and address
The buyer's name and address
The vehicle identification number (VIN)
Year, make, and model
Date of sale
The phrase "sold as is," unless you have agreed to something else
Your signature and the buyer's signature
Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks
1.) Cut the cord
Suggested By: ClayW
Why: Once you're done sobbing and drinking the pain away, you need to remove yourself emotionally from your car. You will get a better price, and you will sell your car faster, as reader ClayW explains.
As soon as you put a "For Sale" sign in the window, pretend that it's no longer your car. You can't be too particular about who wants to buy it or what their plans might be for your baby — You're going to sell it to the first person that shows up with cash and then you're going to forget about the car.
Don't hold out for the well-heeled buyer that's going to continue your restoration and/or baby your baby. Don't worry about whether or not it's going to get regularly cleaned and waxed. Don't make the guy promise to send you pictures in a year.
The car is gone, man.
Photo Credit: Chauncer