Selling your car is sometimes a harsh lesson in depreciation. We buy a car for one amount and then, when it comes time to sell, we are shocked by how much the car's value has plummeted (even if we buy cars that supposedly retain their resale value).
If you want to sell your car and get as much as you can for it, here are some ways to increase the resale value of your car.
1. Take care of the dings, chips, and scratches.
Even cars that have been thoroughly loved by their owners end up with a mystery scratch or a chip in the glass. These small blemishes may seem insignificant but they can leave a less-than-ideal impression in the potential buyer's mind, forcing that buyer to wonder what else might be wrong with the car. For a small investment, you can quickly and easily have those minor blemishes removed or filled.
2. Get the car detailed, inside and out.
Don't just take your ShopVac and give the car a quick going over. Instead, spend the money and have a professional car detailer go through the car and vacuum out everything. They'll get into all of the crevices and hiding holes that you would have never thought to go. Invest the money and you should see a significant return on investment. One car owner reported to me that he spent $50 on detailing and was able to get $500 more than similar makes and models. Make sure the car is washed and waxed outside, too.
3. Sell with smell.
Steal a page that real estate professionals have been using for years: Smell sells. During an open house, many real estate agents will bake cookies or leave out oranges and lemons to freshen the house. In your car, skip the standard (and harsh!) pine car freshener and go for something that is more comforting – vanilla or musk. Don't get the cheap ones that smell like your weird aunt and uncle. Instead, get the good stuff that really smells like vanilla or musk.
4. Advertise to capture attention.
When you open the newspaper, you see standard ads for cars. "4 doors, 5 speed, white" or "granny-driven". Boring! Make your car stand out from the crowd. One 4 wheel drive seller insisted that his truck was manly enough only for someone with a mustache while the owner of this middle-class sedan "boasted" about some of the standard features on his car.
5. Present the car.
Here's a closely-guarded secret that car dealerships use to sell more cars. Instead of just showing you the car, the present the car. They make it a slightly bigger deal: The car is not just parked, it's positioned. The keys aren't just in their pockets, there's a special room for them. No, you don't need to set up a special room for your keys but you can make your car seem more significant by treating it significantly.
6. Throw in a bonus.
Include something as a free gift, such as a first aid and safety kit. It won't make or break the deal but it will help you to appear extra generous to the potential buyer, and that makes it harder for someone to negotiate with you.
While you've owned your car, it's been depreciating. Now that it's time to sell it, you can recapture some of that depreciation with these quick tips!