How to Plan in Advance when Selling Your Car

plan in advance when selling your car

Selling a used car on your own can be frustrating, and especially when it’s your first time. Depending upon the availability of other vehicles like yours, along with additional market factors, you could face stiff competition and should always plan ahead for a lengthy process. According to industry experts, it takes on average 60 days for a professional dealer to sell a used car, and typically much longer for a private seller. The selling cycle itself can be stressful, filled with price haggling and countless time-consuming interactions with potential buyers. As a result, careful advanced planning is crucial when you’ve decided to sell your car outright, and there are many factors to consider. In order to facilitate a smoother and more financially-rewarding outcome, here’s some advice from the pros on how to plan in advance when selling your car.

The Importance of Planning in Advance

planning in advance is important

There are many reasons why people sell their cars, such as:

New addition to the family;

Buying a new car;

Relocation for work or personal reasons;

Financial difficulties;

Grown child moving out of the home.

As was mentioned above, it takes time, effort and careful planning to find a suitable buyer. For example, let’s say that your reason for selling is relocation to another state. If you don’t sell your car in time you’ll be stuck with transporting it to your new location, which costs money. And then you’ll have to start the sale cycle all over again, which means additional time, stress and effort. Another option is to sell the vehicle below market value just to unload it, but that could cost you hundreds, or even thousands, of hard-earned dollars. That’s why meticulous advanced planning is so important before selling your car. Now let’s explore in more detail the various steps you need to undertake.

Prepare Your Car for Listing

prepare your car

Based on input from used car professionals, here’s a checklist of what you’ll need to do before listing yours:

Determine your car’s fair market value using online sites like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds. Also get it appraised at a used car dealership.

Give it a good washing and waxing, and then detail it inside and out. It’s not a bad idea to pay a professional detailer to get it ready, which will run you $50 to $150 depending upon your vehicle’s size.

Have your car inspected by a mechanic. Make sure the oil has been changed, all systems work properly, and that the tires are in good shape. You may end up having to spend some money on repairs during this step.

Get all of your paperwork in order, including any transferable warranties, the Vehicle History Report (VHR), service records and the title. If you have the title, is it clear of any liens or salvage records? If you still owe money on the car to a lender the title will show a lien to that institution and also be in their possession.

Take pictures of the vehicle, write up a detailed listing description, and then place an ad through various sources including online websites like AutoTrader, Cars.com, Cargurus and other third party car listing websites. 

Consider the lowest price that you’d be willing to accept.

When you’ve checked off all of these “boxes”, you’re prepared to place your car on the market and meet with potential buyers. Also, it’s imperative that you don’t cancel your car insurance until you’ve signed over the title to the new owner, as you’re responsible until that happens.

So what if My Car Doesn’t Sell?

if your car does not sell

Okay, you’ve gone through the checklist above and are ready to sell your car. If you’re like most private sellers, you’ll be optimistic about doing so quickly. But in the real world, it may take a while. If you’ve already purchased another vehicle, that could mean making two car payments every month. Is that something you can afford, along with the insurance for both? What if on a test drive a potential buyer finds a mechanical issue that needs to be repaired? At that point it may not be in your best interests to invest more money in repairs considering your asking price. You’ll also have to keep washing and detailing the car during the entire selling process, and especially after it’s been driven by you or another household member. And, all those test drives will require topping off the gas tank, which costs money. If you do end up dropping the asking price, all those additional time and financial investments may have been for naught. And finally, how long you will try to sell it on your own before you give in and take it to a dealer or car buying service?

Bring Your Used Car to Driveo First!

sell your car to driveo

Even when you plan in advance, selling a used car on your own can be time-consuming, frustrating, and may end up costing you hundreds of extra dollars in the end. Why put yourself through all that hassle when there’s a better way that pays you $1,000 on average more than what you’ll get if you trade it in to a dealer? Welcome to Driveo, a transparent and easy car selling experience where no presale repairs are required, we handle all of the DMV paperwork, and where we will sell your car so that you don’t have to. Drive in with your used vehicle and we’ll quickly offer you a fair market price and immediate payment using our secure process. Car not paid off yet? No problem, because at Driveo we’ll send a prompt payment to your bank and cut you a check on-the-spot for the difference between the agreed upon price and what you owe. If this sounds like the hassle-free car selling process that you’re looking for, one that will also put more money in your pocket and restore your peace-of-mind, then stop by Driveo in San Diego first or get a quote online in minutes from the convenience of your couch!

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