Top 5 most important mistakes when selling a car

When the time comes to buy a new car, selling your current car for the highest possible price is a must. Statistically speaking, a car begins to depreciate in value as soon as it is purchased in the dealership. In general, for each year of ownership, you can expect it to lose at least 5-7 percent of its value. On average, after five to seven years, the car will be worth a little more than half of its purchase price. Whether you trade-in your car or sell it yourself, there are points you need to adhere to in order to get the most money possible for your car. 

There are many mistakes when selling cars that can cost you money. You may spend too many resources on the selling process itself or invest too much in preparing for the sale. Also, not knowing the value of the car and how to negotiate properly may not lead to the results you were expecting.  

This article lists just a few of the many mistakes sellers can make. We will discuss the major ones and explain how to avoid them. Some mistakes are common when selling a car on the private market, while others are common when selling to a dealer. 

1) Not knowing the value of your car

In order to properly value your car, you need to know its market value today. Many car websites offer tools to help you value your car. The more specific information you provide to the valuation tool, the more accurate the quote will be. Valuing your car on several sites will give you a firm idea of what the maximum and minimum price might be. Averaging the results should give you a fair starting point. 

It's also important to research the prices of other sellers, not only for the same model and make of car as yours, but also for similar options. These are cars in your class represented by other manufacturers. That way you will know what alternatives a potential buyer has. This is necessary in order not to overestimate your car and not to inflate the price for no apparent reason and argument. Otherwise, you will simply not be approached.


2) Expensive repairs before the sale

You may think you'll get more money for your car if you make repairs. That may be true, of course, but you're unlikely to get back what you put into it. Expensive repairs usually don't increase the value of a car as much as sellers expect. This applies to both mechanical and bodywork repairs. 

Take an inventory of all the repairs your car needs. Get an estimate of how much each type of repair will cost. This will be a strong bargaining chip.  If the buyer wants you to lower the price more than the repairs are worth, you can provide information and make a counteroffer.

Be honest about necessary repairs or problems when advertising your car. Surprises will only irritate buyers, reduce trust, and probably prolong the time it takes you to sell your car. There is no reason to waste a potential buyer's time. Chances are they won't buy your car if they feel cheated, which means you've just wasted your own time. 

3) Lack of Pricing Strategy.

Establishing a sales price for your car is not the only step when it comes to pricing. You'll have to decide in advance how quickly you need to sell your car and how much you're willing to lower the price when haggling. If you aren't in a hurry, you can initially inflate the price a bit. 

You should also have a plan for responding to offers from buyers. What do you do if they offer less than your minimum? How will you respond? If you don't think this through in advance and develop a clear pricing strategy, you may start to hesitate during negotiations. 

4) Signing sales documents without reading them

Sometimes, even standard forms can be inaccurate. Everyone makes mistakes, but even a dealer may try to deliberately deceive in order to profit. Before you sign any documents, check them very carefully. If you find mistakes or have any questions, ask to have the contract drawn up again. Make sure any errors are corrected before you sign any documents. Remember that a few extra minutes early on can save you money and a lot of stress in the future. 

5) Accepting the first offer

Negotiating is an essential part of selling a car. Even if you are offered a price below what is acceptable to you, it is important to make a counter offer,. There's always a chance that the buyer expects you to counter and is willing to meet in the middle. Or if the first offer is lower in price than you expected, it doesn't hurt you to counter it to see what happens. 


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