5 Steps to Selling Your Car


Does putting a sign on a used car still attract buyers? Sure it does, says Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor of Edmunds.com. You just need to strategize. “You have to put the right information on the sign. The car has to look good and you have to think about the best place to park it,” he says.  Here’s a step-by-step plan for selling that 2002 Honda (STOCK QUOTE: HMC)  Civic the traditional way - without bothering with the Internet.

1. Show Off Your Car
The interior and exterior needs to shine, so make sure you apply some good elbow grease to get it looking as great as possible.  Beyond that, make sure you position your car in the demographic that would be most interested in your type of vehicle. For example, for low-end cars, think of resting the car near college campuses. For more expensive types, an upscale shopping district or neighborhood might be a better location.

2. Set a Realistic Sale Price
The make, model and condition of your car, including mileage, are the key variables in determining the sale price for your car.  Start your calculations by scouring fliers, the web and paper ad listings to compare prices on similar cars. You can also reference free guides like the car appraiser application at Edmunds.com, the Kelley Blue Book and the NADA Guide.

3. Get Word Out
Classified newspaper ads – the ones that still exist – are a great place to start, says Reed. Additionally, consider placing ads in college newspapers, on free bulletin boards in small shops, churches and community centers.  You don’t have to spend too much, either.  “It’s possible to sell a car for less than $100 in terms of advertising,” says Reed.  Don’t forget to tell everyone you know that you’re selling the car, as well.  Word of mouth travels fast.

4. Advertising Must-Haves

The car’s year, make, color, model, and mileage must be noted on the advertisement.  Prospective buyers expect no less. It also helps to include whether the car has a manual or automatic transmission, since not all drivers know how to drive a stick shift. As for the price, indicate whether it’s a negotiable figure or a final price.  

5. What You Can Leave Out
Minor wear and tear, a fidgety air conditioner and a broken cigarette lighter aren’t necessary to disclose in an advertisement.  Plus, considering most newspaper ads charge by the word, it’s better to keep the description concise for your wallet’s sake.  Leave the miscellaneous issues for the test drive, letting the buyer judge in person.

Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.

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