You’ve known it’s time to sell your car for a while, but you’ve been putting it off because you just didn’t feel like dealing with it. Now you’re ready to make it happen and you’re hoping to get some good money for it, but there are 4 things other than price you need to consider when selling your car. This article explains what those things are and why they matter.
Why You Should Consider Things Other than Price When Selling Your Car
You’re sitting there on the couch watching your favorite TV program, but you’re not really enjoying it. The problem is the voice somewhere in the back of your mind saying it’s time to sell your car and get a new ride. It started out very quietly at first, maybe a month or two ago. You were starting up your car and it took a couple tries before it got going. You didn’t think much of it at the time, but a voice in your head said it might be time to consider getting a new car.
A week or two later you were picking up a friend you hadn’t seen in years. When your friend got in the car and said, “Wow, you still have this car? You’ve been driving this one forever,” you realized it really had been a long time. That same voice in your head said, “See, everyone else seems to know it’s time to sell your car.” The voice has been growing louder and more insistent, and now even you agree. It’s time to sell and you hope you’ll get a good offer. But to be successful in selling your car, you need to think about things other than price.
If all you think about is price when selling your car, you could end up wasting a lot more time and energy than is worth it. You might experience all kinds of hassles, headaches and stress. You could also end up getting scammed or even putting yourself in harm’s way if you’re not careful. The worst combination of all is when you experience some or all of that and still end up getting far less money for your car than you were hoping for. A better approach is to take a little time to consider all the things other than price that matter before you decide how you’re going to go about selling your car. Below are 4 things to keep in mind that don’t have anything to do with price.
Among the things other than price, time is the one people underestimate the most. If you focus only on getting the highest price possible when selling your car, you’ll probably try to sell it privately on your own. After all, everyone says private sales fetch higher prices on average. But everyone also knows that time is money in today’s world, and if you want to be successful in a private sale, you’ve got your work cut out for you because it takes a surprising amount of time to do it right. Here are 10 different pieces of the private sale puzzle that each take up your precious time:
Repairs: You don’t want to put a lot of money into repairs, but if you don’t take care of a few of the obvious things, potential buyers will be turned off. And yes, you have to be totally honest and up-front about the condition of the car so you don’t wind up getting slapped with a lawsuit from an unhappy buyer after the sale.
Cleaning: Your car has to be as spotless as possible to attract buyers. Dirty cars don’t sell. You can do this yourself, but to get the interior and exterior looking like new, you’ll have to shell out the cash for a professional detailing job.
Photos: When you look at any dealership site, you’ll see the series of photos of each vehicle you should take. More is better in this case, typically at least 20. If you look at the Auto City inventory page, most of our listings will have 26 photos!
Copywriting: Then you have to write up a detailed description of your vehicle in a way that will appeal to potential private buyers. This is harder than you think if you want to do it right. You have to include all the right details and also be personable and relatable in describing why you’re selling and so forth.
Advertising: There are more ways than ever to advertise your car, both online and offline. Some of them you will have to pay for while others are free. You have to choose which places make the most sense for you and then get your listing up and running in each one.
Screening: Then you’ve got to be prepared for a flood of contacts. Many of them won’t be serious buyers, but some of them will, and some of them are just looking to see if they can scam you. You need to know how to screen these inquiries, which takes time to both learn how and then do it. If you want to learn how do this part right, see our article How to Qualify Prospective Buyers When Selling Your Car.
Showings: If you do a good job of screening, you’ll still have potentially quite a few people who want to see the car in person and/or take it for a test drive. Setting up these appointments, dealing with no-shows and rescheduling, and then the actual appointments and test-drives all eat up significant amounts of time.
Waiting: The most frustrating part of the process can be waiting for high-quality inquiries to come in, or for interested buyers to make their final decision. While everyone has heard of stories of people who listed their car for sale on Craigslist and sold it within a matter of hours, those are exceptions to the rule.
Closing: If you’re lucky enough to get to the final stages of selling your car, you have to figure out the safest way to accept a payment to make sure you don’t get scammed, which everyone thinks would never happen to them, until it does.
Paperwork: Finally, you’ve also got to make sure you do all the right paperwork and verify that the buyer does the final steps as well. One slip-up on the paperwork can mean your sale isn’t as final as it feels, which can lead to legal issues down the road for which you might be liable. Plan on at least two trips to the DMV. Learn more about the right paperwork in California in our article Selling Your Car? Here is All the Paperwork You Will Need.
While the time involved in a private sale is a serious commitment if you want to do it right, there are more things other than price to consider that are even less pleasant to deal with.
If you’re already a busy person – and let’s be honest, who isn’t – the time it takes to do everything needed just to get ready to sell your car can cause you stress. Then when you start taking all the calls and emails from people who seem more interested in wasting your time than buying your car, your stress levels will rise even more. Low-ball offers cause more stress. Shady characters will stress you out even more. So you have to ask yourself – is all this stress worth the hassles and headaches? And keep in mind that there’s no guarantee all your hard work will pay off the way you want it to. The industry average for how long it takes to sell a used car is 60 days. Shocking but true!
The number of ways scammers have come up with to relive you of your car without paying for it is thoroughly depressing. Whether it’s giving you a bad check, paying with a forged cashier’s check, or giving you counterfeit cash, you’ve got to a know a thing or two about what to look for in order to protect yourself. To avoid being scammed, read our article about Safe Ways to Accept Payment When Selling Your Car.
Getting scammed is one thing, but finding yourself in danger of being attacked, hurt or robbed is another thing entirely. While these kinds of situations are relatively rare, they do happen. Craigslist turns out to be not only one of the most popular ways to sell a car, but also one of the most dangerous. Learn more by reading our article What to Expect When You Sell Your Car on Craigslist. This is where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. There are things you can do to protect yourself from danger if you’re willing to take some sensible precautions. Find out how in our article The Failsafe Test Drive Appointment, which includes a section about staying safe.
We’re not trying to scare you out of selling your car privately on your own. Thousands and thousands of people do it every year without anything bad happening. We just want you to know what’s really involved in doing it right and make sure you protect yourself in the process. Of course, you can avoid all the hassles and headaches of those things other than price listed above if you sell or trade your vehicle in to a dealership. It’s fast and easy, but will also pay you the least amount of money. For the best combination of speed, ease and price, sell your car to a car-buying service like Driveo if you’re in the San Diego area. It’s every bit as fast and easy as a dealership, but gives you more money for your car than a dealership. Learn more about how it works and then fill out our online form to get a quick quote in minutes that is good for 30 days. We make it easy to cruise in and cash out at Driveo!