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Selling Your Used Car

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Selling Your Used Car

Levi Quinn
March 31, 2011

Levi Quinn

Parting with your car can be as difficult as saying goodbye to a dear friend. Over the years, you have spent hours sitting behind the wheel, bonding with your vehicle, sometimes even naming it. Unfortunately good things cannot last forever and, as much fun as you have had with Stanley, Big Bertha, or Fred, it may be time to move on to your next automobile. While the process could be a bit intimidating, selling your used car can actually be much easier than you think. The key is to market your automobile well and to be educated about its true value. The following tips will help you accomplish these two tasks and sell your used car with confidence.

• Crunch the numbers. You may have a ballpark figure that you think your car is worth, but in order to sell it you must know exactly how much you can expect a buyer to pay for it. Overpricing or under pricing your vehicle can deter buyers, so make sure that you have an accurate asking price. Kelly Blue Book is a great place to start your research, as it has a wonderful website with great resources to help you determine the value of your vehicle. After fixing a base price, consider any upgrades that you have made since purchasing the car and alter the price accordingly. Likewise, decrease the value if there are any mechanical or cosmetic issues, such as the need to replace the breaks in the next few months or deep scratches in the paint .

• Realize that this is not personal. After spending so much time with your car, how can you not think it is worth the world? Unfortunately, sentimental value does not translate into dollars, so be careful to ensure that your emotional attachment to your car does not impede your ability to come to a fair price.

• Get the word out. You won't be able to find a buyer for your used car if no one knows that it's on the market. Several different marketing options are out there for private sellers, from newspaper ads to websites that cater to automobile sales. These resources can get information about your car in front of thousands of prospective buyers. By listing details and including pictures you can find serious buyers through these marketing tools.

• Be persistent. If you know what your car is worth, as you should, do not settle for less than its value. Many buyers may try to get something for nothing, since they may think that purchasing a used car from a private seller instead of from a dealership will be easier, but if you are confident that you are asking a fair price be patient and keep looking for someone who sees the value in your used car. However, if you have a good, solid offer, do not try to hold out in hopes that another buyer will come along and offer more.

Selling your used car can take some time, but if you follow these tips you will be able to get a great value for your vehicle.

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