11 Tips for Getting Your Car Ready to Sell

Posted by: Dan on 1/09/2016

Category: General

11 Tips for Getting Your Car Ready to Sell


Selling a car is something we all will do multiple times in our lives, but there is often little information out there about just how to do it. We had such a great response to our previous article on this topic, that we felt it was high time for a second installment.

This information may be especially helpful since the car sales industry has no shortage of competition. With 18.4 million registered vehicles in Australia, there are plenty of transactions each year between buyers and sellers, so taking the time to ensure you car stands out in the pack is essential.

Here are 11 tips for getting your car looking its best and ready to sell.

1. Set a budget

Selling a car means you need to spend money to do so. That may seem a little strange at first, but just like a home often needs a few improvements before a sale, your car likely will as well. So even if your car looks and drives great now, you need to set aside some money to bring it up to sale standards. The exact cost will vary depending on your vehicle, but just be sure you have something set aside for some small improvements.

2. Give it a good wash and polish

Sounds obvious, right? A wash is usually the first thing someone thinks of when looking to sell their car. But while your skills with a garden hose and sponge may be sufficient for day-to-day maintenance, if you’re trying to sell your car, it’s worthwhile to consider a professional wash and polish.

By doing so, you can ensure that those easy-to-overlook patches of dirt and grime are taken care of, and you may even find that previously ‘permanent’ stains can often be removed.

3. Clean the interior

After a polish, the interior is next. The interior condition of the car is even more vital to your car’s sale than the exterior. This is because, while a new owner may love the look of the car’s bonnet shining in the sun, they’ll ultimately be spending the majority of their time behind the wheel. This means any dirt, stains, or damage needs to be addressed.

4. Fix minor imperfections

Whether on the inside or the outside of the car, imperfections can be an issue from a sales point of view. You don’t need to go all CSI and obsess about the minor details, but at the same time, ask yourself, “Would this [problem] give me a bad impression of the car?” If you’re set to advertise your car as being in “mint condition” or “like new,” you need to ensure that it looks that way.

5. Be upfront about any imperfections

Notwithstanding the desire to sell your car and make a profit on it, the reality is that most drivers do some minor damage to their car while they own it – and many potential buyers understand this. For buyers who just seek a car that goes from Point A to Point B, a small chip or dent may not be an issue.

But what is vital throughout the sales process is that you’re upfront about any problems the car has. Not only is failing to do so against Australian Consumer Law, but it’s also just bad business. If someone comes across an imperfection that you didn’t tell them about, they’ll worry about what else could be wrong with the car. So always be upfront and honest, and there will be no unpleasant surprises for a potential buyer to encounter.

6. Get new tyres

Tyres are your car’s shoes – and good shoes are important. Just like a man wearing a nice suit can ruin the look with a bad pair of shoes, buying a new set of tyres for your car can be critical to its appearance. It can also affect its sale price. You may pay out upfront, but you’ll likely more than make up for it in the purchase price someone is willing to pay, given the car’s overall appearance and condition.

7. Throw in some extras

Speaking of tyres, if you have some spares around that are still in good working order, it’s a nice touch to include them in the sale. Although there are a wide variety of uses for your tyres around the house and garden, you’ll likely find that your new car uses a different kind of tyres than your old one did. And in turn, the seller you buy your new car from may give you a new set of tyres – so be sure to make your old set part of the deal.

8. Get it serviced

Selling your car and then getting a call to let you know something has gone wrong is a nightmare situation. It can also be a potentially serious situation from a legal point of view. Be sure you protect yourself and do the right thing by getting the car serviced before the sale. Not only is this documentation you can show to a potential seller to give them peace of mind, it also protects you against any issues that may arise later, given that your car had a clean bill of health prior to sale.

9. Get all your documentation in order

Along with getting your car serviced, be sure you’ve got all the necessary documentation for your vehicle. From its service history, to previous sale documents – and even the car manual, so your new buyer knows exactly how to get the windscreen wipers working – having good documentation means a better sales price for you.

10. Get great photos of your car

In this day and age of online listings, it’s essential that you provide some great photos of your car. Most buyers will decide whether or not they want to even consider your car based on the photos you provide. Make sure you get both exterior and interior close-ups and distance shots. If your car has any obvious flaws, it’s also smart to show potential buyers images of the damage up front. Also make sure to show off any desirable features your car has, like a navigation system or sweet sunroof.

Picking a place to snap a good photo will depend on where you live – it's really hard to get a picture with Uluru as a backdrop if you live in Sydney – but just pick somewhere bright and open. If you can find some sunshine, a beach, or green trees to include in the background (as long as it’s not too distracting), all the better.

11. Have a negotiable price in mind

When you get ready to sell, you should have an ideal and acceptable price in mind. Unless you’re selling a rare vintage classic, it’s unlikely your resale price will skyrocket beyond market value. You’ll likely get low offers from some potential buyers, too. So, be sure you’ve got a ceiling – and a floor – in mind before you go to sell.

What other tips do you have for getting your car ready to sell? What’s worked for you in the past? Let us know in the comments below:

Image: Pixabay