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FSBO – 9 Tips On Selling Your Used Car To Private Parties

The last time I sold the family car, I went for convenience and had a dealer’s representative come down to pick up the vehicle. I just made a few calls and figured that I’d just take the best offer. A week later, I saw my car listed on a high traffic used vehicles website at a price $8,000 more than what I sold it for.

That’s fine with me. I went into that transaction knowing that the dealer has to make something out of it. I expected a low price for the convenience the deal brings.

But for a lot of people, knowing that they could be sacrificing just $3,000 extra cash could cause sleepless nights, let alone $8,000. That’s why there will always be a segment of car owners who will prefer to remove the middlemen and sell their cars to the next driver themselves. They might see it as a fun and learning process too.

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You could maybe be having an over-expectation by setting an asking price as high as a dealer. But surely squeezing that extra 2 to 3 thousand dollars out of your sale shouldn’t be too much of a hassle if you incorporate these tips.

1) Stage your vehicle

In real estate investing, property agents and homeowners do lot of leg work in prepping up their houses for the next prospects to see. It creates a pleasant first impression that can only score points.

This is something you should do to your car as well.

If you can’t afford it, or simply unwilling to send your vehicle to a grooming professional, the very least you can do is spray air-fresheners in the interiors, polish the leather seats, wax the body including the bonnet, polish the tires, clean the dashboard and wipe the windscreens. That pretty much settles the exterior areas that are most visible.

Next, you need to make sure that everything works. This include checking the air-conditioner, radio receiver, CD player, brakes, engine easily starts, and most importantly, no weird noises coming out from any part of the vehicle while on the road.

People buying used cars have lower expectations than buying new ones. As long as you keep the above tips in mind and execute them, you should be able to pass the first impression test.

2) Check out the market

It’s a good thing that the internet has allowed just about anybody to find vehicle listings easily. Go research what the same categories of cars similar to yours are selling at. More importantly, sieve out the ones that are never going to sell. You can do that by filtering your searches to view recently transacted vehicles which should give you a general idea what prices will easily sell.

3) Pricing your car

The biggest mistake FSBO cars fail to sell is because the owners price their vehicles as high as dealers do. Remember that you are not a dealer. So buyers generally expect your price to be slightly lower than dealers. Don’t ask the market why. It’s just the way it is.

The advantage you have over dealers is that you get more buyer interest because they think that they might be able to get a better deal direct from an owner rather than from a business-centric dealer. Don’t throw away that advantage by being stubborn with price.

4) Prepare your documentation

The most important documents to prepare are your maintenance records and the registration details. Some meticulous buyers might even request to view your identification documents to ensure that they are dealing with the car owner stated in the registration. And if you are re-assigning the car loan, the bank statements are required by default.

Don’t forget the transfer of ownership paperwork.

5) Writing your advertisement

You might want to advertise your car online or in the local newspapers. Either way, you don’t need to do anything too fancy. You are not selling a $2,000 weekend workshop here.

The important details to include in your advert are car make, model, engine cc, age, color, price. And if you are able to, add pictures. Pictures always attract more attention from eyeballs. And don’t forget to highlight special features that your vehicle has. For example, if yours is a pillarless beauty, leaving out this detail is a waste of attention catching opportunities.

6) You objective is to get people to call

Take note that you are attempting to get callers in. Don’t go into sales mode as soon as someone call you up. Take down the details of all the prospects so that you can get back to them later when you have a better idea how big the demand is.

Buyers will attempt to negotiate anyway. The possibility of selling immediately from the first contact is slim at best. Getting contact details allow you time to think through your strategy and identify who are the best prospects most like to offer the best price.

7) Invite interested parties to view and test the car

Seldom will someone buy car without test driving it. If you can get a prospect to test drive your car, you will be getting a step closer to a sale. So get those who are most interested in making you a good offer to try out the car.

On the test drive, take a seat on the passenger side and make small talk. This help to prevent awkward silences and also help to distract them from finding fault on the most minor defects. At the same time, I would advise against lying about the condition of the vehicle.

It’s probably fine to not talk about a specific issue if the potential buyer fails to ask about it. But if a question is asked concerning it and you lie through your teeth, it is a really shady thing to do. Don’t betray your honor this way.

8) Agreeing on a price

If you are absolutely convinced that your asking price is fair, stick to your guns. Often times, buyers know the value of a car as well and are just trying their luck at running into desperate seller. In these cases, they relent once they realize that the seller knows the market as well as they do, if not better.

On the other hand, if you are the party who is trying to pull a fast one, learn to recognize a fair price when one shows up. And consider closing. Because there might not be another deal on the table.

9) Exonerate yourself from liability

Finally, once the sale is agreed, make sure you do the proper paperwork and filing to transfer ownership. Surely you don’t want to be the receiver of a blind-sided liability. These days, you never know what your car could be used for. Remember to repay your car loan (if any) with the funds. You might even get a refund from your insurer for cancelling your auto insurance policy.

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