Selling A Used Car For The First Time? 6 Things To Do To Prepare For The Sale

If you are selling a used car for the first time, it can be hard to know where to start and what you should do to ensure that your vehicle sells quickly and that you get a fair price for it. Here are a six things you should do beforehand in order to ensure a swift and fair sale:

#1 Give Yourself Time

The first thing you should do is give yourself enough time to sell your vehicle, especially if you are looking to purchase a newer vehicle. The last thing you want is to only have a week to sell your vehicle in order to avoid double car payments or double insurance payments.

Try to budget a couple of months to sell your vehicle. That way, you will have the time to get it ready to sell, and you will not be pressed into accepting a low-ball offer just to get rid of the vehicle.

#2 Clean Up Your Vehicle

You need to do more than just vacuum your vehicle, you need to give it a thorough cleaning. If you don't have the time to really clean your vehicle, take it to a professional detailer. However, if you do have the time, here are a few areas you should make sure that you hit while cleaning your vehicle:

  • Remove all personal items from the vehicle, including any air fresheners and dashboard decals. 
  • Vacuum all of your seats and be sure to get any debris that is in the cracks between your seats. 
  • Vacuum out all storage areas on your vehicle, such as those in the door and in the armrests. 
  • Clean the air vents; even a little hint of dust can turn off a potential buyer. 
  • Remove all the floor mats from your vehicle and vacuum them. If they are really dirty, you can scrub them down with dish soap and a scrub brush. Be sure to allow them to completely dry before you put them back in your vehicle. 

# 3 Top Off All The Fluids

Many buyers will want to check the fluid levels before they purchase your vehicle. The new owner will not want to have to take the vehicle in for an oil or transmission change before they even get the vehicle home. You should also make sure that the tire pressure is accurate.

Think of topping off and changing the fluids as cleaning under the hood. You want your vehicle to look as good under the hood as it does inside now that you have had your vehicle detailed.

#4 Fix Any Issues

Unless you are willing to offer a deep discount, you should fix any issues with your vehicle before listing it. You are more likely to get the price you want for your vehicle if the check engine light is not on or if the vehicle's brakes are not squeaking.

When you do list your vehicle for sale, make sure you include information about any recent work that you have had done. You may also want to copy all your repair statements, removing your personal information, to pass on to the next owner. One of the drawbacks of purchasing a used vehicle is not knowing its maintenance history; you can counteract this drawback and potentially make your vehicle stand out by providing a detailed maintenance history. This will help the new owner make smart maintenance decisions. 

#5 Run A Vehicle History

Use one of the popular vehicle history websites to run a check of your vehicle. This should show any maintenance your vehicle has undergone at a body shop. It should also provide detailed information about the ownership history of your vehicle. Many responsible used car buyers will either ask for this or run one themselves; by providing them with it up front, you can show that you have nothing to hide.

#6 Price Your Vehicle Fairly

If you are not sure what to list your vehicle at, use one of the blue book sales guides offered online to find out what your vehicle is worth. Or, you can ask a used car salesperson what they would price your vehicle at for a private sale. Be sure to take into account what you may owe on the vehicle as well as any recent money you have invested into the vehicle.

Once you have an amount in mind, you may want to increase it by about 10%. Most individuals shopping for a used vehicle like to bargain over the price in order to feel like they got a good deal. In order for both you and the buyer to get a good deal, marking the price up a little bit can help you both get what you want.

If this is your first time selling a vehicle, make sure you follow the tips listed above. Make sure that your vehicle is in the best possible shape, both inside and under the hood, before you list it for sale. Contact a car dealership like Bob Sight Ford for more information.