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Selling Your Car Part III: Getting the Most from a Private-Party Sale

Published Apr 2nd 2007, 8:10pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Heatherconary_small by Heather Conary
When you buy your next car, you might think about trading your older one in to a dealership.  While this is convenient, and may be the best option for you, it can be more lucrative to sell your car as a private party.  Using the same process and techniques that dealerships use to sell cars, you can make sure you get top dollar for your investment!

In Parts 1 and 2, we talked about how to get your car in tip-top selling condition and getting your information organized and ready!  In Part 3, we’ll talk about taking great photos.

To get a printable checklist to walk through Part 3: Taking Photos of Your Car, visit

Camera Taking photos of your car is when having it cleaned inside and out will pay off.  Great photos are a key to selling, particularly if you list your car online or post fliers.  Try to get as many of the following shots as possible.  You want a buyer to be able to feel like they are seeing the car in person, even if they are only seeing photos of it.

·    Front seats (taken across from the open drivers door)
·    Rear seats (if applicable)
·    Dash (taken across from the open drivers door)
·    Close-up of instrument panel / odometer (make sure the mileage shows clearly)
·    Any enhancements you noted in Part 2
·    Any wear or problems you noted in Part 2

·    ¾ view from front driver’s side (from all four corners if possible)
·    Front view
·    Rear view
·    Side views (from both sides)
·    Tires
·    Any enhancements you noticed in Part 2
·    Any wear or problems you noted in Part 2

Trunk, Engine & Underneath
·    Trunk
·    Spare tire
·    Engine compartment

·    Extra sets of tires
·    Photos of keys
·    Owner’s manual

Tips for Great Photos that Work
·    Try to take your photos on a cloudy day.  Taking them on a sunny day will cause shadows and glares.
·    Aim for good lighting.  Taking photos late in the evening, when it’s dusky, or early morning, when the light is low, tends to make photos hard to see.
·    Use a good camera.  Do not use the camera in your cell phone for these photos – you want them to be easy to see, good quality photos.  If you have to borrow a camera, do it!
·    Try to take your photos without items in the background.  Taking photos of your car with another car or people in the background can be distracting.  Using trees or a garage door can be a good backdrop as they are not distracting.
·    Make sure photos are clear and easy to see.  Blurry photos are not helpful to potential buyers.

Coming Up

Stay tuned for Part 4, where we’ll talk about doing your research and setting a price!

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