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Smart Car Selling Tips

Posted on 09 December 2015

Whatever type of car you have, sale time is your opportunity to realise as much value from your current set of wheels as possible. It’s more than likely that you’ll be moving on to a new car, so what you get from the sale of your current car will play a big role in what you have to spend.

Know what your car is worth
Even before you put a price tag on your car, it’s important to take a look at the market to find out things like: how many similar vehicles are being sold; whether cars like yours are in hot demand or sitting on the shelf for a while; the price similar cars are being listed at and selling for; the condition and kilometers of similar cars in comparison to yours. Any and all information that you can gather that will help you pitch your car at the right level for sale.

The go-to information source is of course TradeMe, so start there. But don’t limit your search – spend a bit of time with Google and search for cars similar to yours for sale listings on other sites and car yards to get the full picture.

Price tags that attract
Now that you have a good idea about the ball park pricing of your vehicle, it’s time to settle on the price you’ll go out to market with. Always give yourself a little wiggle room – for example, if you are looking for $11,500 for your car, you might want to list it at $12,500 or $13,000. Why so much more? It’s common for people to negotiate in lumps around $500 or more so you want to have a bit of room to move.

Also, resist the temptation to get fancy with your pricing by listing $5 under the next thousand, for example $11,995, like car dealers do. Many people like dealing with a private seller and to attract those people, you want your pricing to make it clear that you are not a car-dealer.

First impressions count
At the risk of pointing out the obvious, how your car looks on the first viewing plays a crucial part in getting what you want from the sale. Of course, it needs to be clean and tidy, but if you want to give your sale the best chance for success, follow these tips:

  • Give it the wash and vacuum of its life, and if you have the cash spare think about getting it professionally spruced-up. Get into the detail – windows, wheels, dashboards etc.
  • Remove any books, bags or other personal items that you’ve been carrying around – you want prospective buyers to able to imagine themselves in the vehicle, which is harder if your stuff is in the way.
  • Have all your compliance in order – if your warrant is nearly due take it in for a new one, and while you’re there get a service and oil change.
  • Weigh up the cost of getting any dings and scrapes fixed rather than selling ‘as-is’. The cost of eliminating any distractions to a good sale could net you a much tidier sum than hoping buyers will take on the task themselves for a lower buy price.
  • Make sure you have a mechanics report ready to share with any prospective buyers. Of course they will likely want it checked out by someone else, but having a report handy is hugely helpful in getting buyers to take that next step.

Attention grabbing advertising
Put yourself in the shoes of prospective buyers – what do they need to know about your car that will make them get in contact? Don’t go overboard with unnecessary information, but rather be succinct with the detail so that they can get a good, clear picture about what is on offer, quickly.

Make sure you include all the usual information such as year, make, model, kilometers, colour, condition and then include detail about extra features of the car. Then think about how you want to convey your sale timeline – i.e. whether you are keen to sell ASAP, or whether you are comfortable to wait until the right offer comes along. You will have seen phrases like Must Sell and Or Near Offer online, which convey that the seller is looking for a quick sale and is therefore likely to be more flexible on price. Conversely, phrases like Firm and Asking Price indicate to potential buyers that getting the right price is more important than selling the car fast.

The viewing
Selling your car is as much about selling yourself as it is about the four wheels in your driveway. Like with all things in life, you will come across all sorts of people, with different questions, different personalities and different expectations. The important thing to always remember is that prospective buyers need to feel comfortable with you, to feel comfortable buying your car.

But don’t forget that this is a two-way street; you don’t have to show the vehicle to everyone who calls. Use your intuition and if someone doesn’t sound genuine on the phone, simply don’t organize a viewing time.

Here are a couple of other pointers about the viewing process:

  • You don’t have to show your vehicle at your home address. If you’d rather somewhere else, pick a meeting place for the viewing. It’s completely up to you.
  • Potential buyers will want to take the car for a test drive. Make sure you check their license and then ride along to answer any queries they may have.
  • If they want to get the car checked by their own mechanic, you can choose to go with them if you’re not sure.

Put your negotiating hat on
Most people don’t like haggling on price, but when you’re buying a car – as you’ll know from your own experiences – it is standard practice to negotiate. Depending on who you are dealing with, potential buyers will either be tentative or quite upfront when talking price.

 It’s a good idea to do some pre-thinking and be ready for questions or statements like:

“I like the car but…”; “what’s your best price”; “would you accept”; and at the tougher end of the spectrum, “take it or leave it”.  Be ready for all types of negotiators so that you can have a conversation about price that delivers the result you are looking for.

Paperwork, paperwork
So, you’ve sold your car. Brilliant. But the task is not quite complete. It is absolutely essential that you notify the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) that you are no longer the owner. Until you have severed the legal ties with your old car, you may still be liable for things like parking tickets, speeding fines etc. Once the deal is done and the money is in the bank, jump online and complete the two minute form to notify NZTA of the new owner’s details.

A little bit of time and thinking can deliver a much better sale price than simply listing your car and crossing your fingers. And the extra money available for your next vehicle will be well worth it.

When you are ready to go shopping for your next set of wheels and need a smart car loan, give the team at Online Car Loans a call on 0800 88 2000 or Contact Us Here. We’ll work through the detail with you to find the best solution for your needs.

Note: this article does not represent personal advice