If you’re trying to make the most money from selling your car, you need to plan carefully, especially if you’re not an auto expert. Selling your car consists of several things including cleaning up the car, making it visible to potential buyers and then negotiating the price with people you’re probably meeting for the first time.
Depending on the kind of time and attention you dedicate to preparing your car for a rewarding sale, you can either get a buyer faster than you ever imagined you would or you might end up struggling to find a decent buyer. Remember that it isn’t just about finding a buyer. Rather, what matters is finding a buyer who is willing to cover your asking price.
We had a chat with an auto expert to help you sell your car for as much money as possible with minimal stress and here’s what they had to say.
Ensure the car looks attractive
One thing that might come as a surprise to you is that people generally prefer to buy clean and presentable cars. Little details like stains, crumbs and dirt can make your car appear cheap in the estimation of the buyer. What this tells the potential buyer is that you have a poor car maintenance culture.
It is important that you give the potential buyer the impression that the car has enjoyed a good spell of maintenance under its existing owner. No matter how long you have had the car for, there are a number of interesting things you can do to make the car attractive.
Your goal should be to make the car look as nice-looking as you possibly can because a good car should actually look good.
Get the car detailed
You need to get your mind working like a dealer by getting your car detailed in order to get more money from its sale. Auto detailing is the act of carrying out a thorough cleaning, restoration and finishing of a car. Auto detailing helps you achieve an extra level of shine and polish for your car. Detailing can be performed on a car’s exterior or interior.
Getting your car detailed in Nigeria can cost you between N36,000 and N70,000 depending on where you get it done. Victor Iyagin, the quality control manager, Cheki Nigeria, explained that in detailing, your car can add N200,000 or more to your car’s resale value.
The essence of detailing is to give your car a heightened level of visual appeal by removing light scratches, paint imperfections, buffing the car, shampooing the carpets, degreasing the engine, and so much more.
You have the option of detailing your car yourself but it requires a lot of time and effort, which a professional detailer can actually do more efficiently and faster.
Replace the Floor Mats
As simple as this might sound, it is an inexpensive way to make your car worth more in the eyes of the buyer. Most people tend to forget about the floor mat. Don’t make this mistake; a dirty or worn floor mat will not do your car any favour.
Review all car modifications
Any modification or upgrade that you previously added to your car should be reviewed. This should be based on whether such modifications expertly are done and more importantly, whether they contribute to the value of the car.
Iyagin explains that you need to put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyer. “If you add blacked out rims to your car and you find a buyer who is shopping for a car with dark rims, then you’re heading in the direction of a sweet deal.
In the same vein, if you add a spoiler and you are unfortunate enough to attract buyers who refer to such cars as cans, you might find yourself stuck. It might even be the neon light bulbs you added to the car that a potential buyer might find unappealing.
You can remove these modifications; you could also mention it to the buyer and offer to give them away with the car if the buyer is interested in it. Just take a good look at all the car modifications and make decisions on what someone interested in buying your car might like.
Get the car serviced and carry out repairs
If you are not completely sure whether your car is in good condition or not, ask a trusted mechanic to inspect it, Iyagin recommends. This is the point where you want to ensure you check the oil level, and top it up if there is a need for that because informed buyers will check for burnt oil.
Make it a priority to fix anything that has the potential to negatively impact the perceived quality and value of the car. Does the car remote work? Have a look at it. If you need to replace the battery, go ahead and do so before the buyer comes for a physical inspection.
“The battery of the car’s remote control might cost as little as to replace, but the buyer does not know that. When the potential buyer runs a mental recollection of cars he/she has looked at, a non-functional car remote is something that will stick out in a bad way,” Iyagin explained.
You should make it a priority to fix the things that are likely to stick out in the buyer’s mind. The repairs should not be restricted to certain parts of the car. Take a wholesome look at everything that requires fixing and prioritise the repairs if you have a long list.
If the brakes are bad or squeal, they should be replaced. If there is a huge dent on the car that will cost you to fix, go on and fix it because it will fetch you a few more hundreds of thousands when it’s time to sell.
You don’t need to spend a fortune servicing or revamping a car you want to sell, unless it’s a critical damage that would affect the driving performance of the car. In this case, even after repairs, you should let the buyer know about the previous damage.
Gather your records
The best way to convince a buyer that the car you are selling is one that is not problematic and will give them peace for the mind is to show the buyer the car’s maintenance records.
“Even if you don’t have all your maintenance records, you should have them documented (even if you have to write them down) one way or the other. This will buttress your claims that the car is not riddled with problems,” Iyagin explained.
Keep your price realistic
Instead of going through the stress of speaking to several car dealers to find a realistic selling price for your car, use reliable tools that have been tested and trusted by car experts in Nigeria. The Cheki True Price tool is designed to provide car buyers/seller with accurate information on the prices of cars in Nigeria.
It’s important to know what your car is worth before you hang a price on it. You might add some money to your base price to account for buyers who are inclined to haggle with you.
Don’t limit your exposure
In addition to telling your friends and colleagues about your plans to sell a car, you need to list your car for sale. When you list your car on a cars-only website like Cheki, you expose your car to thousands of potential car buyers.
It is also vital to keep your listing detailed and honest. Don’t leave any feature or detail out, Iyagin advises. Don’t try to conceal the mileage or unpleasant details about the car. The last thing you want is advertising a car that looks unblemished; only for the buyer to find out that you concealed certain details during a physical inspection.
You should never assume that a potential buyer already knows everything there is to know about the car you have listed for sale. Did you know that a potential buyer might not even be searching for your car but might stumble on it because of a specific feature that you have included?
Use high-quality pictures
Never forget that the first thing that a potential buyer sees about your car will most likely be the photos of the car. You need to take as many beautiful pictures as you possibly can.
Iyagin recommends providing at least 10 images of your car; captured from multiple angles. To get good pictures, you need to use a decent camera (at least 8MP), and you should pay attention to lighting, glare and reflections. Before you capture the pictures, put yourself in the position of the buyer and ensure the car looks well-maintained.
Only sell to a dealer as a last resort
Selling your car to a dealer is easy in terms of finding a buyer as quickly as possible. However, dealers are unemotional about trade-ins as they are more interested in making the most profit from the resale of the car.
If you are looking to make the most money from selling your car, don’t sell to a dealer. The typical dealer is not swayed by the appearance of your car or the effort you have put into detailing the vehicle, Iyagin warns.
If you are personally handling the final inspection and selling process of your car, you need to consider your safety a priority. Whenever you have to meet a buyer, ensure the meeting happens at a public space.
Don’t let the potential buyer test-drive the car all alone. Also, ensure you confirm payment from your bank before handing over the car documents. “Avoid collecting cash payment,” Iyagin advised. Being that electronic banking is widely and easily accessible in Nigeria, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Selling your car doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You simply need to understand that just like buying a car, selling one is an important financial transaction and it is beneficial to be well prepared.
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