5 Simple Steps for Selling Your Automobile


Content provided courtesy of USAA.

When it's time to find a new home for an old ride, these five steps can help make your transaction a smoother one:

  • Perform an assessment. Often we get used to a broken mirror, torn upholstery or a small oil leak, but those problems can lower your car's value. Painstakingly document everything broken, nonfunctional or unsightly. Then decide what should be fixed to get top dollar.
  • Fix what's crucial. Before selling, it's ethical to make sure the vehicle is safe to drive. This means checking any safety features such as air bags and inspecting brakes, tires, steering components, suspension and drivetrain to make sure they're all in order.
  • Make it shine. Give the car a thorough cleaning — carpet, upholstery, dashboard, storage bins, glass, trunk, under the hood, wheel wells, rims, tires and, of course, the body. You'll want it looking good for photos, and a clean car sells for more than a dirty one.
  • Get it listed. Use TrueCar or a similar website to develop a list price, but build in about 10% on top of what you really want — buyers love negotiating.
  • Close the sale. Consider lowering the price if the vehicle stays on the market more than two weeks. Be sure to have the title in hand. You'll need to document the mileage and sign the back in order to transfer the title to the new owner.
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