What you don’t know can hurt you, especially when it comes to selling your car. Whether you’re trading a vehicle in on a new car purchase or selling it yourself, you will always get a fair price when you’re well prepared and able to use informed negotiating skills.
A trade-in is an easier, faster way to sell your vehicle, and may save you sales tax money on your new car purchase. If you plan to trade your car in on a new purchase, you should plan to get 15-25% less than its actual value. Selling the car outright saves you the dealer’s cost, and you negotiate directly with potential buyers, but you might be subjected to unwanted telephone calls and emails.
First things first
Before you begin the selling process, get your paperwork in order. Your potential buyers will respect and take you seriously if you have necessary papers and printed information before the negotiation begins. Necessary documents include the vehicle’s title. Documents that show you have shown due diligence include the original bill of sale as well as maintenance receipts and service record.
Are any parts on your vehicle still under warranty? Show your potential buyers the warranty documents. Create an odometer disclosure document for the date of the sale, if it is not already part of the title paper..
You will need a bill of sale to complete the sales transaction. Go to DMV.org to download a state-specific fill-in-the-blanks bill of sale. This is not an “official” document, but it provides a necessary record of the transaction. It is dated and includes you and your buyer’s name/address, vehicle information and sales price. Prepare an as-is statement for your buyer.
Upon completion of the sale, submit a release of liability form (sometimes called a “sold notice”) to your DMV or county clerk. The release of liability protects you if your buyer has an accident or commits a traffic violation post-sale but before the paper trail is completed. Check to see which of 3 ways is valid in your state: e-mail, postal mail, or in person at your local DMV.
According to Kelley Blue Book, sellers often over-price their vehicles, having unrealistic expectations about its actual value. Take the KBB Condition Quiz. to get an idea of your vehicle’s condition. You might consider taking the vehicle to a mechanic for a pre-sell inspection; not only will this give you an understanding of your car’s true condition, but it will offer potential buyers information they will verify if they do their own inspection. Finally, be honest in your ads and list the price and method(s) of payment you will accept. Be detailed in your description--include photos and explain why you are asking more or less than the KBB value of the car. For example:
Higher – You have an extended warranty.
Lower – It has been in accident.
AutoTrader.com offers says “Knowledge is power,” and offers these five Negotiating 101 tips for sellers.
Create a sense of urgency – Let potential buyers know others are interested.
Wheel and deal – Hopefully, you priced your vehicle high enough to allow for wiggle room. Know ahead of time how low you are willing to go, and “haggle” accordingly. When a PB offers a too-low amount, counter closer to your asking price. If he’s a serious buyer, he’ll go higher. If not, walk away.
Keep your ego off the table – There’s never any reason to be emotional during the negotiation. Explain why you priced the car as you did and be objective about your PB’s offer. “If I don’t get the price I’m asking, can I call you later?” This might be a polite way of saying no.
– You’ve done your homework and you know the true value of your car. Don’t let an aggressive buyer intimidate you; reiterate all the pros and cons that you have researched and factored into your asking price.
Understand your market – Locally, supply and demand for your vehicle may be substantially different than in another area of the U.S. You’ll have to use that knowledge to increase the urgency for your buyers or increase your own urgency in successfully selling it.
When you get a fair price with which you are satisfied and your buyer pays a price he/she considers reasonable, you’ve both made a good deal. And everyone wins.
This is a guest post from our friends at WBM of Arlington.