Thursday, February 2, 2012

Increasing Your Profits When Selling Your Vehicle

It is long overdue. The ole SUV has got to go. It really wasn't a difficult decision; it needs a few repairs we don't want to bother with and it eats gas like I breathe air.

How can I get the most profit from  a fuel sucking SUV in a tough economy, especially when the price of gas is literally going up on a daily basis? Can I sell it and make a fair profit at the same time?

Try these steps:

1) ASSESS WHAT YOU HAVE... I took a very realistic look at the vehicle. It's 12 years old, it needs a repair I don't want to bother with and there are condition issues that come with a vehicle of this age. On the positive side, the leather upholstery is beautiful and in great condition, it is fully loaded and the little nitpicky things are easily fixed. You have to have a neutral eye when assessing your vehicle. To the prospective buyer, the car you bought when you 'made it' will just be one of many used cars out there to look at. Do not take it personal.

2) RESEARCH....Gather your vehicle's mileage, make and model information and hit the internet. The most common sites to use are  and  Pick one or maybe both and use an average of the two values if you prefer. Be very realistic regarding the condition of your vehicle. Try to look at it as if you're the buyer, not the seller.

3) SET YOUR PRICE..... I used the prices from my research and realistically chose the mid range price. Too high and you run off people. Too low and there's no room for negotiation. If you don't know where to start, look through your local advertisements and newpapers for a general starting point.

4). CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN....As in squeaky clean. As in QTip clean. The first day I removed all the trash, receipts, cup lids, toys and goldfish crackers (I'm  blaming the kids).  Next, I cleaned out all the storage cubbies and glove box as well as removed all personal items such as ear buds, first aid kit and the like. I cleaned every single surface and then began putting protectant on all appropriate surfaces and, finally, used a leather conditioner on the upholstery. This continued into the second day. I wasn't kidding about the QTips. I used those for cleaning inside the air vents,  hex nuts, grooves, nooks and crannies. Interestingly enough, once you start cleaning air vents and vacuuming upholstery, some of those, um, 'smells,' will dissipate.  Just like no one wants to buy the 'cat pee house,' a buyer will be turned off by a vehicle that smells like onion rings or cigars. Don't forget to clean windows and mirrors. Your car should shine as if it were brand new.

5)ADVERTISE... Tell friends, use Social Media, the noteboard in the breakroom and local newspapers are all excellent ways to get the word out. Ebay and Craig's List are also good choices.  Be a little creative. Perhaps you could briefly park your vehicle somewhere during peak time to maximize your exposure. How about near a high school during the hour the students are getting out of school. Or maybe in a parking lot near a busy intersection during Friday Going Home traffic. Just be sure you aren't breaking any ordinances. Place a sign with basic info and a contact phone number and cross your fingers.

6) NEGOTIATION IS YOUR FRIEND.,,, Here's what I mean. Our vehicle is valued at $4200. That isn't a fortune but it is definitely not pocket change. My rock bottom price is $3000. I know it needs a repair for about $650, for which I do have a written estimate and I will disclose to any buyer. We decided a fair price would be $3500. That covers the cost of the repair and there is still room for negotiation. If I get a buyer that is definitely interested and wants to do some bargaining, I can still drop the price by $1000 to cover the known repair and any incidentals while still selling it for $3200. I get the money I want and the buyer feels like they've negotiated a fair amount below the original asking price. I will admit I want the full $4200 but it ain't gonna happen. Would you pay full price then turn around and pay for a repair? Me neither. Be knowledgeable about what is a reasonable amount to ask for and be willing to negotiate. I'm not going to let all that cash walk away because I'm being hard headed over a few hundred dollars. Look at it this way: I need $3500 but $3000 is better than NO thousand.

6) GET YOUR DOCUMENTS...Have your auto title, copies of the book values and anything you think you will need to sell your vehicle and keep in in one handy spot. You may also want to do a Google search on an easy and proper Bill of Sale as well as what your State requires for private auto sales.

Now that I've spent four days cleaning, scrubbing and organizing the paperwork, I will be placing a FOR SALE sign on the old girl.

I'll keep you posted.

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