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The Northerner

Selling a used car involves more than being a swindler

Josh Blair

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Josh Blair

One thing that’s worse than buying a used car is trying to sell one. It can sit in your driveway for months, take up space and all you get in return is low-ball offers.

This week, learn some of the essential tips on how to sell a used vehicle.

Hopefully these tips will help sell your car for a reasonable price and get that old jalopy out of the driveway.

Determining the price

The obvious thing to do when selling a car is to ask more than what you are willing to sell it for. That way you can negotiate to your desired selling price.

But this method can backfire. If you ask too much it might scare away potential buyers.

Also, with a number of online auto classifieds you can enter a maximum price when searching. This makes it easier for your ad to not be seen.

When setting a price, make sure it is not outrageous.

Check the Kelley Blue Book, Auto Trader and local newspaper classifieds for the same car you’re selling. This should give you a range on what that particular make and model of car sells for in your area.

Remember, a car is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

Advertising the car

The key to selling anything is advertising. Edmunds.com, a consumer automotive information Web site, lists the following as “main markets for advertising used cars:” online classified ads, daily newspaper classified ads, weekly shoppers, business bulletin boards and word of mouth.

Edmunds.com also recommends putting a for sale sign in the window of the car. You want to let as many people as possible know the car is for sale. Even if someone isn’t interested in purchasing it, they may know someone who is.

Maintaining the car

Although it may be the first time you’ve done it, wash the car. Nobody wants to buy a dirty car, plus it’s common courteousy. Take it through the local car wash, vacuum it and dust the interior. A clean car looks more valuable and nobody wants to wash a car after they purchased it.

Most likely, if you are selling a car you have already purchased another one. It is important that you don’t let the old car sit. Go start it every few days and let it idle for about 10 minutes.

If you can, drive it around the block every few days. Lots of problems can arise if a car is not started and driven regularly. How embarrassing would it be if a potential buyer came to look at the car and it wouldn’t even start?

Some potential buyers may want to have their mechanic check out the car for any potential problems. While this is smart on the buyer’s behalf, this can be a disaster for the seller. Edmunds.com warns that a mechanic can find all sorts of repairs on an older car.

This doesn’t necessarily mean these parts are broken or need to be fixed soon. The repairs might be superficial.

The best thing to do in defense of this request is to take the car to a mechanic before you sell it, then have a handy printout of the things they checked.

That way there’s no reason for buyers to take the car to their own mechanic.

Negotiating the deal

Even though you are selling a used car, don’t act like a used car salesman. The most important part of selling a used car is to be honest. Nobody likes getting swindled.

If you know something’s wrong with the car, then tell the potential buyer. You wouldn’t want someone lying to you about the condition of a car. It may bring the price down, but it’s the right thing to do.

Although you shouldn’t lie about the condition of the car, you can be deceptive in other ways. Tell the buyer a lot of people are calling about the car and a few have already taken a look at it.

Make sure they don’t have time to sleep on it or they may talk themselves out of buying the car. It’s like salespeople say, “The customer doesn’t know what they want, I do.”

Selling a used car can be a hassle. With the right techniques and a little luck hopefully you can rid yourself of one in less than a week. Just make sure to lose the plaid suit and Burt Reynolds moustache.

E-mail questions to Josh at ImgladImnotagirl@yahoo.com

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The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.
Selling a used car involves more than being a swindler