Properly Pricing Your Vehicle to Sell
Setting a sale price for your vehicle is like fishing. If it’s too high, you won’t get any bites from prospective buyers. If what you’re asking is too low, you won’t get the full value of your investment. Here’s some advice for when you put your car, truck or SUV on the market.
Assess the Value
It’s important to check how much it’s worth online, because you can bet those thinking about taking it off your hands will do the same. Valuation sites like Kelley Blue Book® use an extensive database to evaluate factors such as recent vehicle transactions in your area. Enter the make, model, year and mileage for trade-in, retail and private party values. Be honest about your car’s history and condition to get accurate results. Additionally, search local classifieds for similar vehicles. If you can’t find your exact make and model, look for those with comparable miles and options.
Pick a Price
By now you should have a price range in mind. You can ask for more if your vehicle is still under warranty (that is transferrable) or you have new tires, new brakes or a new timing belt. Go lower if it needs major maintenance, was in an accident, or you just want it to sell quickly.
Once you have a base figure, decide the minimum you’d accept and work up from there. Build in a negotiation cushion, because many buyers will consider your asking price a starting point for bargaining. Most sellers don’t, in fact, receive their initial offer. Letting people negotiate will help them feel like they’re getting a good deal.
Pricing can also depend on the time of year. For example, sporty convertibles sell better in the summer, while the demand for four-wheel-drive increases during the winter. If your car gets good gas mileage, promote that fact when fuel prices are high; conversely, gas-guzzling SUVs probably won’t go as quickly then. Don’t underestimate your old trucks and vans, either. Some people might want them for work or hobbies.
Finally, keep it simple. Don’t ask for $12,999.99—you’ll sound like dealer. Private buyers enjoy nice, round numbers. Just remember to set the first asking price above what you’d take so you can negotiate and still make some money. Be patient. If no one drives off with your vehicle right away, you may need to start over and adjust accordingly.