So you need to sell your used car, and it needs to go fast! You can sell a car in a week or less if you take the right steps. When somebody is looking at your car, what kinds of things do you think they are going to want to see? Complete service records? Clean seats and floorboards? Expect it.
- Most used car buyers are looking for a reasonably priced car that's in good mechanical condition. Since they can't really look inside the parts of the engine, most people rely on other indicators to tell them what kind of condition the car is in. They might look for fluid leaks underneath the car, signs that you haven't kept up with basic car maintenance. They'll also probably check the fluid levels--especially the oil level. But they'll also observe how well the interior has been taken care of and draw conclusions about how the whole car is taken care of based on the condition of easily assessed parts--like the floorboards and seats. So, if there's one step that you don't want to take any shortcuts on, it's preparation. You've got to clean the car to showroom condition, otherwise you'll be costing yourself money.
Used car dealers may be willing to offer you cash for your car, but it's probably not going to be the best deal you can get. If you're in a huge hurry, call a few dealers and ask if they'd be interested in making a bid on your car. Don't plan on getting full value for the car, but this might be the quickest way to unload a car.
- If the price is right...
Overpriced cars don't sell very well at all. If you want the get the full book value for your car, it might take longer than you can afford, so plan on pricing the car at least 10% below its value. Use KelleyBlueBook and Edmunds to determine an approximate value for your car. Another good website is NadaGuides.
Equally important as the pricing is where you advertise your car. If you're going to sell it fast, you need to reach an interested buyer fast, so you need to do everything you can to quickly reach as many potential buyers as possible.You have several choices.
First, advertise the car in any free local publications. Many cities have free or low-cost classified ad magazines that offer an inexpensive way to reach a lot of potential buyers. Also, take a moment to create an ad on a free online classified ad site, like CraigsList.
The local newspaper might be your next best option. Advertise your car for a weekend, and you might be able to reach an extremely interested buyer.
- Post a "For Sale" sign in one of the windows of your car as well. Don't forget to list your asking price and whether you're willing to accept other offers. And of course, put down the phone number of a phone that you actually answer; many people prefer to speak to a person rather than leave a message.
- If all else fails, you might want to consider listing your car on eBay. You can create a no-reserve auction to sell the car for whatever price the eBay market thinks its worth. If you're lucky, you'll get 100% of the value of the car. Otherwise, you could only get 50% of it's value. It all really depends on how well you sell the car, and how the market views its value.