There are many things to take into account when you’re getting ready to sell your car, but few of them are as important as the initial asking price. You want the most you can get for your car, but you don’t want to drive away potential buyers by asking too much. How do you find the balance that’s right for you? Rather than just picking a number out of the air and writing it on the side window, follow the simple steps below to help you set a realistic and competitive price for your ride.
Use a pricing guide. There are several good pricing guides and tools on automotive websites out there. Their value estimates will vary a little, and will depend on the condition of your car, about which you need to be honest with yourself. They can also help you decide whether to sell your car to a dealer, which is usually an easier process, or to a private party, which usually means a higher sales price. One more point – try to come to terms early on with the fact that sentimental value does not translate into dollars, and that you’re not going to get all the money out of it that you put into it.
Leave room for negotiation. Once you’ve found out what you can reasonably expect to get for your car, keep in mind that no matter what your asking price is, your buyer is most likely going to want to negotiate. Bump up your asking price to allow space for you to negotiate down a little, and still get the price you should for your car. In that same vein, if you don’t get any interest in your car at your starting price, you’ll have room to lower it without feeling too much of a pinch. Selling a car (or buying one) has always been a bit of a game, but it’s one that both sides can win.
Know your current market. Many factors can influence the price you will get for your car, as well as the time it will take to sell, especially if you sell to a private individual rather than a car dealer. Fluctuations in gas prices, for example, will make gas-sipping (or gas-guzzling) cars more or less desirable. Similarly, you’ll be able to unload your convertible quicker and for a higher price when the weather is warm, compared to the middle of winter. It’s also a good idea to look at local used-car listings, to see what comparable cars are selling for. This will not only help you set a realistic price, but it will give you the confidence to turn away the unrealistic low-ball offers you might get.