Selling your car today is a different experience than it was 10 or 15 years ago, thanks to the tools available on the Internet. Online appraisal tools and Internet classified ads have made the process faster and more convenient.
Edmunds.com has an in-depth 10-step guide to selling your car, but this article condenses the selling process into five simple steps that can help you turn your used car into cash in the shortest time possible. You can also print out this article and use it as a checklist to keep you on track.
1. Research and Price Your Car
Picking the right asking price can mean the difference between getting multiple calls right off the bat and having your phone not ring at all. In order to come up with an effective asking price, you’ll first need to find out what the car is worth and how much other people are asking for similar cars. The Edmunds used carsection has an appraisal tool that you can use to get a True Market Value (TMV®) private-party price. This figure is adjusted for a number of factors including mileage, condition, options and the region in which the car is being sold.
Next, search for vehicles similar to yours at online classified sites such as AutoTrader.com, Craigslist andeBay Classifieds. This will give you a better idea of the price range for your particular model and whether the number you had in your head is in the ballpark. Then, use the same technique you see at department stores to price your car competitively. In other words, if you’re thinking of a $20,000 asking price, list the car at $19,900. Finally, be sure to leave a little wiggle room when setting the price. Ask for more than what you actually want to get for the car and keep in mind that people tend to negotiate in big chunks ($500-$1,000) rather than small increments ($100-$200). Set your price accordingly.
An alternate method would be to take your car to CarMax for an appraisal. CarMax’s offer is good for seven days and you can use its estimate as a baseline for your asking price. Or if you’re comfortable with the offer, you can accept it and save yourself the rest of the steps.