Five tips to get the best price for your car

Selling a car can be a daunting task for older Aussies, especially in 2022 when traditional in-person sales are moving online.

The movement towards digital has drastically accelerated due to the pandemic. According to the Allied Market Research team, the online vehicle buying market is projected to grow to $720 billion by 2030. 

With used car prices at an all-time high due to a host of pandemic-driven factors, including global semiconductor chip and vehicle supply chain shortages, it’s never been a better time to sell a car.

Yet with the rapidly changing pace of technology and the growing trend for dealers to shift services online, many older Australians don’t know where to start when selling a car.

Here are five key tips for seniors selling their car, whether you’re tech savvy or not!

Know your vehicle’s worth
The first and most important step when selling your vehicle is determining the sale price. Many online valuation platforms can be found via a simple google search. Websites such as carsguide.com.au and redbook.com.au offer free valuations enabling you to view an estimate of your vehicle’s selling price. For a valuation, you’ll need certain details such as your car model, make, brand, year, mileage and vehicle body type.

If you don’t have a computer, you can reach out to a local used-car dealership to do the valuation for you. It’s recommended to go to at least two dealerships to ensure you are getting the accurate market price for your car.

Read: Car companies failing cashed up Aussies

DIY repairs versus a mechanic
There are small things you can fix yourself that go a long way in a car sale. Replacing old floor mats, hub caps, painting over scratches as well as buying new seat covers can enable you to get a better price without spending too much money.

If your car hasn’t been serviced in a while, it’s best to have a mechanic inspect it. Buyers are known to be turned off by worn tyres, squeaky brakes, burned bulbs and cloudy headlights. Your local mechanic can identify repairs that are necessary and those you can leave for the next owner. Be careful to not go overboard with cosmetic repairs as this might not equate to a higher sale price.

Gather vital information and records
Collating all your vehicle documentation is vital when going to sell it. Important documents include your service history, maintenance record (a list of repairs on the vehicle), and if you’re selling your car privately, a bill of sale to transfer the car to a new owner as well as a release of liability.

If you need to source copies of this paperwork, you can enlist the help of your mechanic, a family member or trusted friend.

Vehicle makeover
You don’t need to spend big on making your car look a million dollars. First, make sure you remove all clutter from your car. Second, give your car a good clean.

You can visit a car wash, pay a professional car detailer to make it look brand new, or you can spend time with the family and watch your children or grandchildren wash the car for some quality entertainment.

Having a clean car always helps to increase the sale price, as dealers and buyers may assume the dirt is covering imperfections and make a lower offer.

Read: If you’re buying an EV to save money, will you?

Car photo shoot
You will need to take some high-quality photos of your vehicle for the sale. This can be done on a smartphone – or if you don’t own one you can enlist the help of a family member, friend or neighbour. Take well-lit, high-resolution photos of the car’s primary features (body, interior, odometer, rear) as this will be the main way to attract buyers if selling online.

Decide how to sell the car
Selling your car privately or to a car dealer have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

Selling to a dealer: Selling your car to a dealer is the easiest and most hassle-free way to dispose of a car. Online used car platform Sell2Dealers is a convenient, low-cost and risk-free service, where you simply list your car for a small fee and registered dealers around the country will make an instant offer. Once you have signed up, you can sit back and let the dealers bid away. After the sale is made, the dealer takes care of the rest.

You can also take your car to a local dealer to sell it for you. Be aware that the longer your car sits in a car yard, the higher the commission the dealer will take due to storage fees.

Read: Are smart cars creating dumb drivers?

Selling privately: Private car sales platforms like carsales.com.au and autotrader.com.au allow you to create an advertisement for your car online. Once you have listed it, you will receive messages from potential buyers who will be interested in an inspection. 

You are more inclined to secure a higher sale price selling privately than to a dealer, yet this is a more time-consuming process as it involves face-to-face meetings and negotiation with potentially many people before you find the right buyer.

If selling your car online is too daunting, there is always the age-old strategy of putting a for sale sign on your car with a phone number. In this current market, where used cars have turned into mini assets, you might just have someone drive past who wants to pay top dollar for your car.

Desmond Sanborn is the CEO and founder of online used car platform Sell2Dealers

Have you sold a car privately? Why not share your tips in the comments section below?

Written by Desmond Sanborn

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