Auto sales look very different than they did even 20 years ago. In fact, over half of consumers do most of their car shopping online now. People prefer to buy from individuals rather than large corporate dealerships, and they feel that they can score better prices this way. In fact, the used car industry is now largely handled online, and people frequently use apps or the internet to not only research cars, but walk through the purchase process these days.
While this may sound like it makes buying or selling a used car easier, the fact of the matter is that it actually adds a lot of items for people to consider during their sales or purchase process that they don't always stop to consider. Luckily, though, we've got all the information you could ever need about selling your used car (or buying a used vehicle) right here in an easy-to-read list!
18. Selling: Geography & Time Of Year Impact Pricing
Believe it or not, one item that impacts price and market demand of your used vehicle is the time of year. This is especially true if you are selling a convertible or Jeep. Also, the part of the country where you live may cause prices to be lower or higher than the national average, so be sure to compare Kelley Blue Book values with other similar cars for sale in your area.
17. Selling: Detailed Cars Fetch More Money
Whether you're selling to an individual or trading in your used car towards a new purchase, having a freshly detailed interior can make a significant difference in what people will pay for your car. In fact, it may be worth paying someone to detail the car before you take pictures or show the car to any potential buyers.
16. Selling: Multiple Selling Outlets Exist
Thanks to modern technology, you have many options to sell your car. No longer do you have to leave it in your front yard with a "for sale" sign in the window or drive it to a car lot. In fact, there are numerous websites and apps today that allow you to list your car both locally or nationally. This can often help you attract better buyers for novelty cars.
15. Selling: Beware Of Buyers Willing To Pay Without Seeing
Unfortunately, the same modern technology that makes selling your used car easier can also make it more challenging. If you're selling online, watch out for anyone who offers to buy your car without seeing it first. Not only could this potentially be a fraud alert, but it could also become a sticky situation later on. Always encourage people to meet you and look the car over before accepting any money.
14. Selling: Know How To Spot Fraudulent Payments
Via Money Crashers
Most of us know that it's best to not accept checks from people, but it's just as important to recognize other forms of fraudulent payment, too. In fact, PayPal offers a whole explanation regarding fraudulent online payments and how to handle instances where you think you might be scammed.
13. Selling: Keeping A Paper Trail Saves Headaches Later
Via The Star
Documentation, documentation, documentation! Not only should you keep great records of maintenance while you own your vehicle, but you should also keep clear documentation every step of the way with a sale. Dealerships handle this with trade-ins, but if you're selling to an individual, be sure to keep up with payments, the title, and anything else significant.
12. Selling: Accidents Don’t Always Deter Buyers
Via Fast Company
According to CARFAX, over 60 percent of people will still consider buying a used car even if it was in an auto accident. Because of this, it's best to be upfront about your vehicle's history, including any accidents or major repairs. As long as you can provide proof of repairs and the vehicle is still safe, most people won't care that you got into a fender bender.
11. Selling: Dealerships Will Always Offer Lowest Possible Price
Although car salesmen may say otherwise, you should always consider selling third party before accepting a trade-in offer from a car dealership. Dealerships will often offer less on used vehicles so that they can leave room to make money off the resale. If you're buying a new vehicle, they're more likely to cut some of the price on the new car than offer more on your trade-in.
10. Selling: Interior Shots Help
Via Digital Trends
You should always provide as many photos of your car as possible when selling online. This includes the interior. Be sure to provide shots of floors, seats, and anything else inside that drivers may be concerned about. Also, disclose things like if you smoke or frequently transport pets in your car. All of these make a difference to potential buyers.
9. Selling: Experts Recommend Selling Old Car Separate From Buying New
As we mentioned, dealerships will always offer less on your trade-in. Because of this, most experts recommend that you sell your used vehicle in a completely separate transaction from your purchase. This helps you get the most value but also avoids any loopholes that a dealership may use to get the trade-in and get you into a newer, more expensive car.
8. Buying: You Should Always Ask Questions
Whether you are buying from a dealership or an individual, prepare a list of questions to ask before purchasing a used car. You should also ask questions throughout the purchase process to make sure you fully understand everything and know the car's entire history before money exchanges hands. Once you buy, you can't go back.
7. Buying: Dealerships Require Proof Of Insurance Upfront
If you're buying from a dealership, make sure to have proof of insurance with you. Most dealerships will require this before they will complete the transaction and let you drive away with the car. If you aren't sure if your coverage will allow you to drive a car off the lot, always consult your car insurance company before finalizing the sale.
6. Buying: Check The CARFAX
Used cars often exchange multiple hands in their lifetime. Because of this, it's always best to check with CARFAX or other vehicle information agencies to be sure you get as much information about the vehicle's history as possible before you buy. All you need is the VIN number to pull this data.
5. Buying: Inspections Can Save You From A Lemon
While we all like to think we know the basic things to check on a vehicle before we buy, most of us aren't experts. If possible, ask if you can get the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic before you commit to buying any sort of used vehicle. A simple inspection can save you from buying a lemon with pricey repair costs down the line.
4. Buying: Complete A Thorough Test Drive
Although it may seem a little awkward, don't be afraid to ask the seller if you can take the car for a test drive before buying! Not only does this help you see if the car feels good to you, but it also lets you see first-hand just how the vehicle operates. A quick test drive can also help you insure that there aren't any major mechanical issues.
3. Buying: Check If It’s Still Under Warranty
Most vehicles include a manufacturer's warranty up to a certain number of years or certain mileage point. What's more, most auto dealerships sell extended warranties when people buy new cars. Therefore, you should always ask the seller if the car is still under warranty and if so, who the warranty is through and what the terms include. This could save you if the car needs a repair right after you buy.
2. Buying: Be Prepared To Haggle
Via Business Insider
Just like any other major purchase, car sales are all about the haggle. After you ask questions, take the car for a test drive, and check what similar cars go for on the market, make an honest offer on the car and see what the seller says. You never know, they might just be willing to take less than the original asking price.
1. Buying: Make Sure You Get The Title Before You Walk Away
Even after money exchanges hands and you have the keys, that doesn't mean the car is yours. You'll need to have the vehicle's title transferred into your name, which requires that you receive a clean title from the seller complete with any paperwork you need to file the title transfer. Never commit to buying or exchange money without seeing that the title is clean and not under lien!