Step 2: Car Preparation
When preparing to sell your car, be aware of smaller things you can fix easily and inexpensively. A few minor adjustments and repairs might get you a better price by making the vehicle more desirable.
Simple Gas Station Maintenance Helps
Check the tire pressures and all fluid levels. Sometimes things like minor road noise, or the steering wheel pulling to one side or the other, are caused by nothing more than improper tire pressures. Having the oil, water and windshield washer fluid at the proper levels can help avoid questions the buyer may have about car care.
Clean-up the Interior
Scrutinize the interior. Clean up the old hamburger wrappers and French fries and pick up the dirty socks left by your kids. If you aren't going to have the car professionally detailed, at least take it to a car wash and request a wax and complete interior vacuuming. If you have bumper or window stickers on the car, take them off before washing it. People may not agree with your political views or care where you went to college. These things give the car a personalized, cluttered look and detract from its value. Unless you live in an area where window tinting is generally accepted as a benefit, such as Phoenix or Las Vegas, remove the tinting. Trust us on this one; it will help sell the car.
It's important to understand that money you spent and things you have done to personalize the car are more likely to detract from its value rather than add to it, because almost no buyer will want a car that's been personalized to someone else's tastes and preferences. This includes items such as aftermarket wheels and tires and body accessories like spoilers and air dams.
Only One Chance for a First Impression
Remember that first impressions are important, and even the smallest thing that you have become oblivious to can turn off a buyer. After you've cleaned the car inside and out and topped off the fluids, check it again. Don't you agree it now looks better? Aren't you now more confident about the condition of your car? These small steps may take a little time, but they don't cost much and can make a difference of hundreds or even thousands of dollars in your final selling price.
If there is some major problem with the car, you need to fix it or accept that it will not only drastically reduce the value to a buyer, but will also drastically reduce the number of buyers even wanting to look at it in the first place. After all, would you want it?