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How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Car

How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Car

By Matt Diehl • June 27, 2017

If you’re planning to sell a vehicle, you probably want to make as much profit as possible. With a little time and effort, there are ways to try to maximize the amount you receive.

Here are some tips to get the most money when selling your car:

Know its market value

The first step to maximizing profit is knowing what your car is worth. By determining its market value, you can calculate an asking price.

There are many attributes that factor into market value including year, make and model. Here are a few sources that can help you find estimates for your car:

Gather all paperwork

As with any sales transaction, it helps to have all documentation in order. By being prepared, you could increase your appeal with interested buyers. Some buyers might also be willing to pay more if they know a vehicle has been properly maintained.

Try to have the following paperwork collected and organized before attempting to sell your car:

  • Current title and registration
  • Insurance information
  • Service and maintenance records
  • Warranty documents

You can also run a free VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) check to offer more insight into the car’s history.

Get it serviced and detailed

A clean, well-oiled machine can be attractive to most buyers. If you’re aware of any mechanical issues with your vehicle, you could have them repaired before your appraisal. A couple hundred dollars spent in the repair shop might give you peace of mind going into the sale and avoid hassle from prospective buyers.

A meticulously clean car can be a big selling point as well. If you don’t have the time or know-how to detail a car, it might be worth the money to pay a professional. If you have confidence in your detailing abilities, here are some main points to address when cleaning a car from top to bottom:



Reminder: If you plan to detail the car yourself, don’t forget to clean out the trunk.

Be prepared to negotiate

After the preparation is complete, it may be tempting to accept the first offer you receive. However, if you’re not in a hurry to sell, you may be able to negotiate a higher price.  The art of negotiation can benefit both sides of the table, so it can pay to be prepared.

Consider the following tips when preparing to negotiate the sale of your car:

  • Establish your top and bottom price - Before you sit down with a buyer, establish your top (and realistic) price and the absolute least you’ll accept. By doing so, you can determine an acceptable price range between the two. This may also help you quickly eliminate a buyer who bids under your bottom price.
  • Compose several counteroffers - One way to control the deal is to compose several counteroffers ahead of negotiations. If you receive a lowball offer, you can counter with a higher price and note reasons such as the maintenance record and other positive attributes. By using a system of counteroffers, you can keep the price in your desired range.
  • Know when to say yes or walk - If the negotiations swing in your favor, try to recognize and act on the moment. If a buyer isn’t willing to budge on price, try to identify the right time to end negotiations and move on. When it’s time to close a deal, it should happen on your terms.

Set yourself up for success

The process of selling a car can take time, effort and patience. If you put a lot of each into selling your vehicle, you may be happy with what you receive in return. Good luck!

The information in this article is provided for general education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. It is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice specific to you the user or anyone else. The companies and individuals (other than OneMain Financial’s sponsored partners) referred to in this message are not sponsors of, do not endorse, and are not otherwise affiliated with OneMain Financial.