When done right, selling a car privately can yield more money in your pocket than trading it in to a dealer. But that monetary advantage requires more of your time, prep work and elbow grease to get the vehicle ready for the sale. Use the guidelines below to make your used car as attractive as possible to potential buyers.
Fix It Up
Start by cleaning your car thoroughly. Wash and wax the exterior, remove interior and trunk clutter, vacuum and wipe down all interior surfaces, and clean the windows. You could have the car detailed by a professional to save time; the price can range from $20 to $50 for a simple clean and wash, or from $100 to $200 for full detailing (shampoo, wax, etc.). Remember to replace burnt-out lights or fuses and top off all fluid levels. As soon as the vehicle is cleaned up, take the time to do a thorough photo shoot for your listing, highlighting the best features of the vehicle.
Get a vehicle history report to present to potential buyers; this provides credibility and builds trust. Reports from CarFax are available on Cars.com. Other vehicle history services are available online as well.