It doesn’t matter if you’re planning to trade in your old vehicle on a newer car at an auto dealership or if you’re planning to sell the car yourself, you’re still going to have to prepare the vehicle for sale. Experts in the auto sales industry have a lot of advice for those hoping to sell a car for maximum gain. Obviously, private sales will result in a higher return over the cash equivalent in a trade-in at a dealership, and a vehicle in good working condition will fetch a better price than one with mechanical problems. But the experts also agree that a clean car (inside and out) may also help seller get the maximum sale value.
When it comes to selling cars in America (or almost anything else, for that matter) appearances are everything. Americans have a love affair with the things they own. In automobiles, they appreciate sleek lines, a polished finish, and a new car smell – even if they’re looking at a pre-owned vehicle. So, it should come as no surprise that a clean, polished car that looks like it has been well cared for by the previous owner is going to sell faster than one that looks as if it has just returned from a spring break cross-country road trip with the members of a local Fraternity. In other words, if you’re planning to sell your car, truck, or SUV, you’d be well advised to put in a day of de-cluttering, washing, scrubbing, vacuuming, waxing, polishing, and de-odorizing. Wash and clean that vehicle like it has never been cleaned before. You can even break out the cotton swabs to get the gunk out of all the little nooks and crannies.
Areas to pay close attention to when cleaning your soon-to-be-sold vehicle include the seats (get those petrified french fries out from underneath), ashtrays, floor mats and carpeting, windows, glass, mirrors, dashboard, and instrument panel. You can hire a professional detailing company to do the job for you (and they often do a really great job), but you’re likely to spend as much as $200 for a serious clean. This usually turns most sellers off, due to the mere fact that they’re trying to maximize their cash returns on the vehicle sale so that they can put that money toward another, newer vehicle. Plus, a good scrubbing and cleaning is something you can accomplish over the course of a Saturday afternoon. Save yourself the money and put a little elbow grease into the job – you’ll be glad you did.
Here’s a helpful tip: once you’ve scrubbed your old car and polished every surface, get out the camera and take a bunch of pictures of the inside and outside of the vehicle. As it will likely never be that clean ever again, you’ll benefit from having “photographic evidence” that you can use to list your car on third-party auto sales websites.
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