Eventually, and for any of many reasons, you will probably need to sell your car fast. You might sacrifice some money in exchange for a fast sale, but such is the price of quick results. Whatever the circumstances, we have some tips to help get that car out of your driveway.
Get yourself set. You can’t sell it if you can’t show it. Be available for people to see the car, and if you can’t always do it, ask a friend or family member to jump in. Make sure you check local regulations regarding the sale of a car so you don’t encounter problems after the deal is done. Have the title in hand, as well as any paperwork confirming the loan payoff if applicable. A clean car is much harder to sell then a dirty one. This is the easiest fix and makes a huge difference. But don’t just wash it, make sure it’s detailed. If you have the money to do so, take it to a professional, but you yourself can do a decent detail job. Just make sure the car is waxed, vacummed, the dust is all wiped off the dash, and spend some time cleaning the details of your car. For example, when you open the door, look around the frame. Dirt builds up there, and that’s one of those little things that when clean make a car look almost unused.
Fix obvious problems: Many states won’t let a car pass inspection with a “Check Engine” light on. Any lights on the dashboard are a big warning sign for a potential buyer. Even if you know it’s something stupid, that’s all the more reason to get it fixed. Same with slow power windows, squeaky breaks, bad windshield wipers etc… Get that little stuff fixed that a non-mechanic would spot easily.
Figure out your price. Compare your car honestly with others like it for sale near you. Look up the private party value online–not to be confused with the retail price values you’d expect at a dealer. Set a price that will make your car stand out from the others, and even still, be open to the idea that people will still try to knock down the price regardless.
Get the car ready. When you’re trying to sell fast, extensive detailing might not be in the cards. Give it a good wash and wax at least, and give the interior a good once-over. If you don’t have time or funds to correct all maintenance or mechanical bugs, at least list the items.
Put it out there. Take some good photos outside and in, and post them with your ad. Free classifieds are the go-to websites for fast sales, but don’t rule out paid sites like eBay. Have a For Sale sign in the window whenever the car is parked, even at work or while shopping. A Facebook post, Tweet or YouTube video might net a buyer who wouldn’t have seen your car for sale elsewhere. Asking friends to spread the word can also work well.
Roll with it. Be flexible and creative, since motivation doesn’t have to mean desperation. Consider partial trades if your situation allows it. Don’t get offended when someone inevitably throws out a ridiculous offer. Watch out for offers to pay in installments or by personal check as these are often red flags for problems. Just don’t get so caught up that you forget to check an interested person’s license and ride along for the test drive.
Be honest: Being up front and honest is the best way to get people’s trust. A lot of people look at who the previous owner was as much as the car itself when they are buying. Buyers are very suspicious of hidden problems, so if you point out the little ding right away, that shows you are honest and are probably not hiding a huge problem.
Finally, be patient! Some people try to sell their car for a week and then just trade it in. Sometimes it takes a little time for the right buyer to come along. Set a time goal in advance, and stick to that goal.
Try a dealer. Local dealers are often on the lookout for fresh inventory, and now online and national dealers are doing it, too. You might be offered a price in the neighborhood of trade-in value, but that’s the reality of sacrificing dollars for the convenience of a fast sale.