So the time has come, and you are finally ready to sell your old car and trade it in for a brand-new model. While it sounds ridiculous to say, don’t feel silly if you are a little sad to be saying goodbye to your trusty old steed. After all, you and your car have been through a lot together – probably a lot of miles, possibly more drive-thrus than you’d like to admit, maybe even a successful first date or two. It’s easy to become nostalgic about your vehicle – especially when you consider that the average American spends 17,600 minutes in their car every year. To break it down – that’s 293 hours every single year – and that is a lot of time to create some meaningful memories.
However! The time has come to brush all that aside and dump that hunk of junk for a brand new shiny ride. Dry those tears and get ready to experience the thrill of that new car smell again. Of course, before you get yourself settled into your new car and start programming the radio stations, you need to sell your old car first. And the best way to do that is not simply to put an ad on Craigslist saying “BMW for Sale” – in fact; there are several steps you should take before even thinking about putting an advertisement out to the public. Read on to learn some common sense tips on how to sell your car and get the most bang for your buck.
First Impressions Matter
Just like your mother always told you – you only get one shot at a first impression. Believe us, the adage might be tired, but it holds true not just for first dates and job interviews, but also for selling your car. Think about it – would you be interested in paying top dollar for a car that’s covered not only with dents and dings but also in McDonald’s Fish Fillet wrappers and crushed up soda cans? Not likely. And look, everyone understands that this isn’t a brand new car coming fresh off the dealership lot – of course, there is going to be some wear and tear, that’s simply to be expected. But you will do yourself and your wallet a huge favor if you take the time to make your car look as new and well-kept as possible. This means not just taking out the trash and removing the Mardi Gras beads hanging from your rearview mirror, but it also means doing a thorough deep clean to get as much dirt and grime out of the carpets and upholstery as possible. You may also want to address any easily fixable exterior damage – a quick trip to a trusted mechanic might have a bit of an upfront cost, but those touch-ups will pay for themselves when your buyer exclaims: “This BMW for sale looks brand new!”. Cha-ching!
Honesty is the Best Policy
If you are on the fence about bringing your car to the mechanic just to touch up the paint, let us tell you a few more things your mechanic can do for you. The first is topping your oil and any fluids that are running low – a clean, full tank of oil is attractive to any buyer; after all, who wants to get into a “new” car and immediately have to take it to get serviced? Additionally, you can ask your mechanic to give your car a thorough check-up and write a report detailing the car’s condition. This not only shows buyers that you are a responsible owner, but that you are trustworthy and the car is being sold without any false pretenses. Let people know exactly what they are spending their money on, and you’ll be surprised at quickly your car can sell. Even if your car needs some repairs that you cannot cover – do not try to trick your buyers into thinking the automobile is flawless. First of all, Karma is real, and it will get you, and second of all, many buyers will be okay with buying a car that might need a little TLC. Sure, you may have to negotiate a slightly lower price point to make sure they can cover the cost of service, but in the long run, you’ll be proud of yourself for doing the right thing and being upfront and honest about your vehicle’s condition.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
All this talk about buyers, but so far no one even knows you are selling your car yet! One of the most important things you need to do when you’re disposing of your ride is to advertise appropriately – and that means knowing your audience. If your car is a family-friendly sedan with great safety features, why not post it to a Facebook group specifically targeted towards families? Or, if you prefer to go the old-fashioned route, put up a few signs at your local grocery store and perhaps even a few nearby coffee shops… you get the idea. Think of it this way: you are selling your car… where do you hang out? Most likely the person who is interested in purchasing your car has a similar lifestyle or hobby, so take those places and advertise to the best of your availability at those locations. No matter where you post your signs, make sure they are professional, clean and that the photos make your look as attractive as possible.
And sure, we mentioned Facebook, but you do not want to underestimate the power of advertising online via other channels as well. Many people have successfully bought and sold cars off of websites like Craigslist, but be sure to take smart precautions if you do go this route. Don’t be afraid to explore advertising on sites that are specifically geared towards car shoppers, such as Autotrader.com and Cars.com – after all, you know that the people browsing those websites are actually interested in buying a used car, and not just trolling through hundreds of “for sale” listing like they may be doing on Craigslist or eBay.
The last method of advertising might be the most basic, but it may also be the most effective. Simply put a sign in the window of the car saying that it is for sale along with the pertinent information (years, mileage and your contact phone number) and let the car go ahead and sell itself. This is where having a clean, dent and ding free car will become particularly important, as you’ll want to display the car in top condition at all times.
There’s No Time Like the Present
So go ahead, take a leap of faith and put your beloved old BMW buggy on the market. You’ll always have the memories, but you’ll also have a brand new ride.