How to Sell Your Car Fast and Still Get the Best Price

Experiencing a COVID-19 credit crunch?  Maybe you’ve reduced your hours, changed jobs, your kids have flown the coop or you need some quick cash for another reason? You could very well be considering the best way to sell a car.

Whatever your motivation, when you’ve made the decision to sell your much-loved road warrior, you want to do it fast. With minimum fuss and maximum price.

We’ve all heard the horror stories. Cars taking months to sell online. Sales being way down due to the economic downturn. Back and forth with buyers who waste your time by standing you up or by making insulting offers.

With travel within – and between – many parts of Australia still restricted the ‘best way to sell a car’ challenge has stepped up a notch. But if you have to sell, you have to sell, right?

There’s no doubt the whole process can be daunting, if not stressful. With a little prep and know-how it doesn’t have to be! Keep reading as we share the best ways to sell your car quickly as a private seller – and get the price you want.

How to Sell Your Car Fast: Make It Irresistible  

There’s nothing like the thrill of driving away in a new (or near new) car. It’s sparkly and clean, it smells divine and it’s a delight to drive… Well, that’s the dream, right?

Many people will be looking for bargains in this climate, looking to take advantage where they can. How do you make them think they’re getting a good buy?

The secret to enticing such buyers (and others), yet still getting them to pay top dollar, is to tap into that feeling of scoring a near-new car for a great price.

A little time and money spent cleverly can add hundreds or even thousands to your sale price and speed up the sales process.

Make sure your servicing is up to date

The first thing a buyer will delve into is when your car was last serviced, what repairs have been made in recent times and what your logbook looks like. Be transparent about all these factors to potential buyers. Have the paperwork ready to show.

Car servicing workshops are still open and won’t be as busy at the moment, so get your car in now if you need to give it a health check.

Sanitise your car

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is an important step in reassuring buyers that you’ve made every effort to keep it clean and safe for them to drive. Some detailers are already offering this as part of their detailing packages. Ask if yours will too.

You could even go so far as to complete an infection control training course and upload the completion certificate to your sales page. Give your buyers confidence that you have their health interests at heart.

Get it professionally cleaned and detailed

Don’t waste time hauling out your own vacuum and breaking your back climbing through the car. Get a pro with the right equipment to make your floors, seats, trim and glass shine (if you’re selling it yourself online then do this before you take photos). Car washes are still open. Can you take action now to go the whole cleaning hog?

You might even be able to negotiate a deal given their custom has likely dwindled. A squeaky clean car is a key selling point now more than ever.

* If you’re worried about staying healthy while out and about, or when allowing potential buyers to make contact with your vehicle, read our tips on managing the mix of COVID-19 and motoring.

Create that new car feel with a subtle fragrance

A subtle spritz with some light fragrance can help your potential buyer feel like you’ve looked after your car. But beware: an overpowering air freshener can make them feel like you’re hiding something.

It’s like that time your aunty smothered you in a hug after bathing in Red Door. *shudder*

Remember to finetune the exterior

Hazy headlights? Dull rims or paint job? Need old decals or stickers removed and scratches or paint chips repaired? Ask your detailer about this or get a specialist to help. Just like selling a home, every little tweak makes a difference. It means the buyer doesn’t have to do it themselves.

Even tiny improvements like making sure your tyre pressure is at its optimum level or checking the oil level is the right height may have an impact.

Give it a spruce under the hood

As well as making sure it’s roadworthy and the service history is up to date, it’s best to fix any smaller pressing problems that might pop up in the next service for buyers.

Replace hoses, timing chains/belts, repair chips in windows, top up window washer, coolant and batteries (and clean off any corrosion). Much of this you can do yourself. The aim isn’t to hide anything, but to address any niggling concerns that might drive down the price

Perhaps you’re keen to self-isolate until the pandemic is completely over. Use all the tips we’re providing you as a checklist for everything you can action now and will need to action once you’re ready to head out again.

Prepare now for getting onto the market. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

Pre-Prepare Your Paperwork

As mentioned earlier, paperwork is key. Check the laws in your state or territory to see if you need a roadworthy certificate to sell your car or transfer its ownership. If you do, you’ll need to arrange an inspection and fix any mechanical issues that prevent it from being roadworthy.

Potential buyers will definitely want to see any most if not all these facets:

  • Logbooks and service records over the life of the car
  • Receipts for recent items purchased (such as tyres)
  • An estimate on the cost of comprehensive insurance and running costs
  • Receipt book/template ready to accept their payment

TIP: Did you know PD Insurance offers an ‘Exclusive Driver Discount’ for sole owner-drivers of their car, and an ‘Early Shopper Discount’ for people who get a quote with us before their existing policy expires? Could be worth a mention. 😉

After all, if they’re a keen-bean ready to buy your car today, having the paperwork ready can mean they will finalise the deal sooner.

Get the Best Price: Knowledge is Confidence

A little bit of research can give you the confidence to stand your ground when someone makes a less-than-ideal offer.

We recommend you:

  • Search the Redbook database for your make and model and note down its trade in and private sale prices.
  • Compare those trade-in and private sale prices with cars that have similar odometer readings on the big car sales sites (Carsales, CarsGuide, Drive, etc).

Once you have a good idea on what the going rate is, decide on:

  • Your ideal price, and
  • The lowest amount you’re willing to accept.

That way, when someone haggles and gets pushy with you, you’ll feel confident in your decision to say yes or no.

Best Ways to Sell Your Car: Perfect the Ad

When you’re deciding on how you’ll sell, there are lots of options. Unsure what’s best for you? Your situation will guide you on the best way to sell your car.

Listing your car online can be an attractive option because you have the reins. However, it can take a little longer because you need to make time for test drives and inspections.

But you can often get a better price selling privately because you’re dealing directly with the buyer (not a third party who wants to add their costs on before selling).

The trick is to write a good ad, one that includes:

  • Odometer reading
  • Trims and specs (engine type, key features, paint colour)
  • After market additions (rims, stereo, performance boosting additions, etc)
  • Any remaining warranty
  • Registration info (when does it expire? The further away the better if possible)
  • Service history and any issues/faults
  • Why you’re selling and how the car’s been used
  • Clear photographs of the (shiny) front, rear and sides of the car, plus the boot, engine, dash and interior including seats. Also include candid close-ups of any damage such as dents and scratches

The most important tip for selling your car? Be honest.

When selling privately, there are lots of free/low cost places you can list it online. But you also have a lot of competition – so getting the ad right is crucial. Check your competition and see what they’re doing then do better than them.

TIP: Respond to each enquiry quickly or your potential buyer might move on.

Negotiating Tips for Nervous Sellers

Your buyer has inspected your car, taken it for a test drive and now it’s time to put your serious face on and talk dollars. #adulting

Your buyer already knows the list price based on your ad, so expect their first offer to be at the lower end of what they’re willing and able to pay.

The best way to negotiate is not to do it at all. Once your buyer makes an offer, simply say yes or no. Then resist the urge to fill the silence. In the heat of the moment, your mouth can run away on you.

If they counter-offer afterwards, you might decide to do the same. But keep the talking to a minimum and don’t budge more than $500 at a time. Keep your predetermined price range in your head and if you decide to stop, tell them that’s all you can do.

There’ll always be another buyer.

At PD Insurance, we offer a range of discounts for all kinds of car lovers. Did you know that we can help you and your buyer, get the best deal on your comprehensive car insurance? Whether you’re a safe driver, opt to pay annually or are the only one who drives your car – a world of savings awaits you.

Over to You – Best Way to Sell a Car

What other tips do you have when you think about the best way to sell a car? Have you used some of these tips to speed up the process? We’d love to hear about them.

Leave a Comment

How would you, like to proceed?

How would you, like to proceed?