How To Sell A Car Yourself
by Pat Goss
PAT GOSS: If you own a car, sooner or later you’re going to have to sell a car. Here to give us some pointers is Kelsey Mays. Kelsey is a car buying and selling expert. Welcome to Goss’s Garage.
MAYS: Thanks for having me on Pat.
GOSS: All right, we’ve got years of service out of the old bus and it’s time to part ways. What are some of the things we do to sell our car?
MAYS: Well the truth of prepping a car for sale is that it starts the day you buy it. If you’re ever thinking of selling or trading that car in you’re going to have to make sure you keep records of everything you do in the meantime.
GOSS: Okay, so we’re going to make up a portfolio of all the records. What about owner’s manuals and so on?
MAYS: You definitely need one of those, if you bought the car used and it didn’t come with one go down to the dealership and get them to order one for you, it’ll be well worth the money you spend on it.
GOSS: All right, next step in getting rid of it?
MAYS: Well you want to make sure it’s clean before you place an ad. We’re not just talking about putting the car through a car wash. You want to make sure you detail it with a fine tooth comb or pay some people some money to do it professionally.
GOSS: Yeah, the professionals can do a lot of things that you’d never think of - really make the car stand out.
MAYS: Oh yeah!
GOSS: Okay, so now we’ve got it cleaned up, what do we do next?
MAYS: Well you’re going to want to place an ad. You can do that in the newspapers or on the Internet. You can go online and look up values, blue-book values to see what other people are paying for this car and price your car accordingly, from there you can start to take some pictures and place your ad.
GOSS: And always be realistic about that price.
MAYS: Yeah, absolutely.
GOSS: All right so now we’ve got it listed, we’ve got pictures, but you know a lot of people take pictures that are far too specific, pictures about things that only interest them.
MAYS: Yeah, your buyers don’t really care that much about the new $300 stereo you put in. They want to see things like wheels, doors, body-panels, and bumpers.
GOSS: Okay, so we want to make the pictures appeal to the mass market not to the niche market, unless it happens to be a totally niche car.
GOSS: Okay, so now we’ve got all of that done, and we’ve advertised it, we have a prospect coming to look at the car.
MAYS: Well they’ve probably given you a call first. You want to be real honest about the condition of the car and why you’re selling it. Once they show up you’re going to want to do a walk-around, and again, honesty is key. You want to show them what you think of the car, what’s important about the car, and even what the little dings and scratches might be
GOSS: All right, the road test. You can really get in trouble there.
MAYS: Yeah, always make sure you go along with them on the road test, don’t except what little collateral they might give you in exchange to take your car. You may never see it again.
GOSS: Yeah, a phony driver’s license doesn’t count for much.
GOSS: Okay, now we’ve got all of that done, what’s our next step?
MAYS: Well next step is you’re going to want to talk money, and finally when you get to the transaction; don’t accept a cashier’s check because those can be stopped by the bank. What you want is a registered, certified check from the bank. Better than a personal check, better than a bag full of cash, it might mean that they’re up to no good.
GOSS: Ah yes, so if you follow all the rules you can get rid of the old bus and do it painlessly and wind up with money you can actually spend rather than funny money.
GOSS: Thank you.
If you have a question or comment, write to me.
The address is MotorWeek, Owings Mills, MD, 21117.