How do I prepare my car for sale & maximise the sale price?

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Ok, so you’ve had your car for a while now and its time to move it on.  You know every bump, scratch, dent, rattle, stain, broken part etc. of your car, but will your potential buyers spot the same bumps and scratches?  What needs fixing, what’s worth fixing and whats worth leaving? You’ve probably already asked yourself “How do I prepare my car for sale & maximise the sale price?

How do I prepare my car for sale & maximise the sale price?

In case studies across used car Dealerships in Australia, used car sales managers know that to maximise their $ margin on each vehicle they must

  • Buy right. Ensure they pay the right price for the vehicle
  • Buy smart. Ensure they have the right range for their local clientele
  • Invest wisely. Ensure any spend on the vehicle gives a higher return or a quick sale

Well, its too late to worry about how much you paid for your vehicle or its popularity, although both are considerations when valuing your vehicle and preparing its sale price.  But what you can do to maximise your sale price is to ‘invest wisely’ on any repairs and maintenance you complete prior to sale.

How do I prepare my car for sale basics

The rule of thumb on your car-selling preparation may be obvious to seasoned operators, but to us mere mortals it can be a bit of a headache.  There are differences of course, dependent on the value and/or prestigiousness of your car, but the three simple rules to maximising your profit remain the same.  In order of priority:

Car detailing: prepare for sale.

  1. Clean your vehicle. This sounds too simple but remains the absolute biggest margin builder for selling your motor vehicle.  Where people go wrong is they spend a heap of time on the outside and just complete a quick clean on the inside.  If you really can’t be bothered, having your car detailed is a good option and typically the more expensive the car, the less in percentage terms the detail will be.  Generally though, if the cost to have your car detailed is equal to or less than 1.0% of the value, do it.  $25,000 x 1.0% = $250
  2. Wheels, wheels, wheels.  If your wheels contain scuff marks, gutter rash or scrapes, people may feel your car hasn’t been looked after.  Used car sales managers agree, gutter rash on wheels is the biggest turn off to a consumer in the buying process.  Physiologically, potential purchasers seem to believe the odd panel scratch is forgivable but a scratched wheel is a) hard to fix and b) indicates low level of care for you car.  Wheels repaired by a professional alloy wheel repairer can typically cost less than $200 per wheel for a refinishing repair or less than $300 per wheel for a full refurbishment, but the repairer will typicallyPainting alloy wheels provide their recommendation on which repair you should consider. The Wheelman’ provides both options and can be contacted on 1300 933 299, or you can text a picture of each wheel to 0490 040 409 with your name & suburb and they’ll get back to you as quickly as possible
  3. Panel scratches and dents. These are all about age/$/convenience. In other words, your potential investment should be based on the age and value of your car versus the inconvenience to you or a buyer have it repaired. The key is what you’ll get away with.  If it’s unsightly it’s worth doing.  If its easily fixed at low cost its worth doing.  But most potential buyers aren’t looking to make their initial purchase and then a) spend more money on the vehicle and b) lose the vehicle for 3 or more days to have it repaired.  They will however be accepting of minor scratches and knocks if options 1) clean vehicle and 2) tidy wheels are in order compared to the age and value of the car.

Understanding your potential buyer is also of great value in this transaction.  If its a prestige vehicle, chances are you will have a premium purchaser.  Ensuring the car is stored for viewing in an appropriate place such as a garage for this type of purchaser could be important.

Taking the right photos of your vehicle and providing the right information within your add may also make a difference not only to your sale price but to the speed in which you sell your vehicle for the price you’re looking for.

Lastly, doing your research is vitally important.  Asking too much for your vehicle will only prolong a sale to which you may never get.  Having an appropriate top and bottom sale price is therefore very important.  Working your potential spend from your bottom price is the best way to ensure your investment margin for the vehicle has been well considered.

Tips for cleaning when preparing your car for sale

Wash the vehicle thoroughly, and don’t forget inside the door sills, in, around, and under the bonnet and boot. Clean your windows inside and out and give the car a cut and polish. Inside, make sure the dash is pristine but also clean under your seats and down the side of and the back of seating cushions.  Empty the car and the boot of your personal belongings. It’s like a house, the less clutter the better.  And lastly, put a light fragrance through the car to ensure it smells ‘like new’ or at least, fresh.

So with that, we wish you happy selling.