5 tips for selling your used car quickly

5 tips for selling your used car quickly

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Gone are the days when you need to plaster your car with "for sale" signs and park it along the busiest road in your neighborhood so it could be seen by the maximum number of people. With the dawn of the Internet came online car sales.

But selling a car doesn't just involve posting a picture and a price and then leaving it at that. Selling a used car is neither an art nor a science, but there are scientific steps that can be taken artfully.

Here are five tips for getting your used car listed and sold quickly.

1. Know the market and set a competitive price

You'll want to set the price low enough so people will inquire about your car, but not too low that you'll cheat yourself.

It's also a good practice to see which cars in the market are in high demand and at what prices they are going for. Adjust accordingly for your car as it compares to the others.The first place to look for finding an appropriate price for your car is Kelley Blue Book. All you need to do is choose the year, make and model of your car, and KBB will come up with a range of prices that are pretty typical for cars like yours being sold in your area.

However, don't settle with the price that KBB gives you. In an article on ABC News, Enjoli Francis wrote that "sweet spot is usually best between 97 percent and 102 percent of blue book." So open up that calculator app on your phone to set your price.

Bonus tips: Autotrader.com recommends you state the reason you're selling the car. Edmunds.com also suggests you use the buzz phrase "must sell." Even though you already know you want that car gone, this phrase will show your sense of urgency, which could be a good thing.

2. Err on the side of too many details

Information such as the year, make and model of your car are obvious picks, but what about its fuel efficiency, remaining warranties, extra features or mileage? Include all of those. Along with the necessary items, consider adding some of these details as well:

  • number of owners
  • VIN (for Carfax purposes)
  • title type
  • power locks, power windows, power seat
  • type of transmission
  • specific color
Bonus tip: DON'T WRITE ANYTHING IN ALL CAPS. It makes it look as if you're screaming. Don't use exclamation points, either. Write in full sentences and use proper punctuation. People are more likely to buy if the listing looks more professional.

3. Clean your car so it's prepped for its close-up

Although some sources will tell you to spend upwards of $200 to get your car detailed, that expense may not be worth it to you. However, in an article on LifeHacker, Lauren Fix, a spokeswoman for Car Care Council and self-proclaimed "Car Coach," said that getting your car detailed may end up adding $500 to your car's final price tag.

But if you don't want to invest that much into having someone else detail your car, roll up your sleeves and do it yourself. There are plenty of sites, like this one from AutoBlog and this one from Consumer Reports, that share tips on going it alone and detailing your car yourself.

Bonus tip: Clean and vacuum your car. The breakfast burrito wrapper from two weeks ago shouldn't be there anyway.

Bonus bonus tip: Park your car on your lawn and wash it there. The runoff will water your lawn with a nice soapy drink. Win/win.

4. Take some extra time on your photos

The cars with ads featuring pretty pictures are the ones to go first. In addition, listings that include both interior and exterior photos are likely to be the first to sell.

Autotrader recommends that you use up every photo spot you have. "If a website allows five photos per ad, use five. If it allows 25, use 25. Photos sell cars. Take advantage and upload every photo a site permits."

To make sure you're getting good shots, think about the details:

  • straighten the steering wheel when you snap a photo of it
  • take your photos in the evening with the sun behind you
  • take pictures from every angle: front, rear, side, diagonal, high, low
Don't forget to include pictures of

  • the odometer
  • the trunk
  • each individual seat (a bench seat counts as one seat)
  • what's under the hood
  • door panels
  • dashboard

5. Make your post go viral

As unlikely as it is for your car listing to go viral, you can try for it. If you create your listing on KSL Cars, for example, you could share your post on all of your social media profiles.

In the ABC News article, Francis recommends putting your listing in at least three different places. Rather than creating three separate listings, make it easy on yourself by taking the link from your ksl.com listing and post that.

With over 6.6 million page views on KSL.com in November 2015 alone, listing your car on KSL Cars will give you great exposure and the best chances to sell your car quickly and easily.

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