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How to Prepare to Sell Your Car: 3 Easy Tips

Published Apr 15th 2020, 12:00am by Kaeli Gardner in Featured Articles

There are so many factors you have to consider when you’re preparing to sell your car. Sometimes it can be hard to keep everything straight. But selling your car is a big deal, and it’s important to get prepared beforehand.

This quick guide will walk you through three quick tips that can help make this process as simple as possible. Let’s get started.

#3 - Preparing to Sell Your Car? Start with Your Paperwork

When many people are preparing to sell their car, the first thing they do is clean the car until it is completely spotless. This is probably not the best way to start, but we’ll talk more about that in a minute.

A more practical approach is to get your paperwork in order first. If you don’t have a title or a certificate of title, then you won’t be able to sell your car until you get one, so start here.

If there is still a loan on your car, the title is likely on file with the lender. If you own your car outright, but you lost your title, you’ll need to apply for a replacement title from your state. If you have your title ready, great - you’re ready for the next step!

This is also a good time to gather up all of the maintenance records you’ve kept for your car. Document any oil changes, scheduled maintenance visits, tune ups, repairs, and aftermarket upgrades. The more documentation you have, the better.

#2 - Get a Copy of Your Vehicle History Report (VHR)

If you’ve ever bought a used car, you know that it can feel like a risky proposition. You don’t know how well the car has been cared for. You don’t know if it has been in an accident. There’s a lot you don’t know.

In the past, you had to accept the current owner’s word about the car’s history. But today, vehicle history reports, or VHRs, take much of the guesswork out of buying a used car. As a seller, you can use your vehicle history report to put buyers at ease and give them an objective source of information about your car’s history.

Sharing your VHR with potential buyers will build trust, and can even help you sell your car faster.

#1 - Get Your Car Spick and Span

If you start preparing to sell your car by cleaning it, weeks can go by before you’re actually ready to make a transaction. And guess what happens as those weeks go by? Of course, your car gets dirty again.

Cleaning your car should be the last thing you do before you take photographs and start talking to potential buyers. Your advertisements will be more impressive, and when a buyer shows up, your car will actually still look like the photos.

When you clean your car, you want to clean every possible nook and cranny including your trunk, wheels, and doorwells. Try to make everything look as new as possible. A dirty car is a red flag for used car buyers, but a shiny clean car has the opposite effect. Many buyers prefer a cleaner car over other cars in the same price range.

What is Your Car Worth?

Believe it or not, determining the right asking price can be the hardest part of preparing to sell your car. For some people, this is even harder than gathering up all of their paperwork, getting a VHR, and cleaning the car!

Several popular internet sites offer a “book value” calculator. These can give you a decent estimate, but there are often huge gaps between different sites. This causes a lot of confusion when two parties are referencing two different estimates that vary by thousands of dollars.

If there are similar cars for sale in your market, they can be used as a guide to find your car’s value, but there are a lot of pitfalls with this approach as well. Although two cars might look the same, they can have different options that impact their value by thousands of dollars. And any private listing might have an unrealistically low (or high) asking price.

The best way to get the right asking price for your car is to get a professional appraisal. There may be a vehicle appraiser in your area that will appraise your vehicle for as little as $100. Or you can use an online service like The Appraisal Lane to get a free appraisal over the internet.

We hope these tips help you sell your car as quickly, and easily, as possible!

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