How to Sell a Used Vehicle

ny-car-10307129357204368kAt first this sounds like a topic unworthy of a blog post but I disagree. Recently I was involved in a conversation with my best friend about the purchase of a motorcycle. He stumbled across a seemingly good deal and was telling me about it. Unfortunately, the deal did not come to fruition for a couple specific reasons. These are reasons I feel are worthy of a blog post. With this I can try to inform those of you selling used automobiles about the mentality of the buyer. By following these simple to understand rules you may be able to unload your automobile faster and with less headache.

Rule #1: Be Ready to Sell

There are many occasions where people advertising a vehicle have not officially made up their mind to sell. This could be a result of sentimental attachment, financial obligations, or a host of other reasons. Regardless of your reason you are not doing yourself or a potential buyer any good by advertising before you are fully committed to making the sale. This also applies to the handling of any title or lean issues affecting the vehicle. Make sure the paperwork is in order to make a quick sale.

Rule #2: Price Accordingly2178-1267446234zl7h

I understand everyone wants the most out of their used vehicles but some features are not capable of price fetching. Some basics are:

  • Damaged Wheels – Even if only one of the wheels are damaged the cost of those wheels will not be recouped in resale. Many times custom wheels are discontinued, making finding a replacement practically impossible
  • High Miles – You can exclaim all you want about how good the car runs at 250,000 miles but we both know it does not have much time left and therefore will be reflected in the offer
  • Peeling Paint – There is something to be said about getting from point A to point B with no mechanical issues, but there is also something to be said about looking good while you do it.

I am sure there are quite a few things which could be added to this section but I think you are getting the idea.

Rule#3: Good Communication is Key

If you are selling a vehicle then you are the one gaining the profit. As such, it is your responsibility to communicate respectfully and be ready to show the vehicle within reason. You are the salesman, so think about the people you do business with and subsequently do not do business with. Understand their attitude and behaviors and act accordingly.

Rule #4: Be Accommodating

fan-of-dollars-1455043122puqThis refers to making a deal. In the process of making a deal there are a variety of things a buyer is factoring into the negotiation which you should be aware of and prepared for. Some of these are:

  • Price – The BIGGEST mistake a seller can make is to say the price is “firm” or “non-negotiable”. These two phrases will turn a buyer off immediately. Buyers of used automobiles are assuming the price is negotiable. There is no steadfast rule about the extent of negotiability but I think a good rule of thumb would be to never over-price a vehicle by more than $500. Of course this may be adjusted given the overall value of the purchase.
  • Payment Option – Be ready to cut a quick deal if the payment is in cash. Buyers with cash act in the belief they are making things easy and secure for the seller and should therefore be rewarded slightly in pricing.
  • Pick-up / Delivery – Similar to the cash concept, buyers willing to remove the vehicle from the property immediately are acting in the belief they are making things easy for you and are expecting to be rewarded slightly in pricing. The flip side would be if the buyer is requesting to store the vehicle with you for a specific period of time or that it be delivered to their residence. Both of those options do not necessarily warrant a price discount.
  • Needed Repairs – Any necessary repairs, although possibly already reflected in the asking price, may still require negotiations in pricing. This category does not necessarily have to equal a suggested repair cost told to the buyer.

Rule #5: Do Not Make Assumptions

This is the last rule and possibly the most important to follow. Selling a used vehicle can be difficult. However, making assumptions about your buyer has the power to lose a sale before it ever gets started. Do not assume you know what the buyer is like simply because of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, or anything of the like. Also do not make assumptions about your potential buyer based on social class, income expectancy, or any other social category. Each buyer is different and as such should be treated accordingly.

Final Thoughts


It would be easy to see how this set of rules could be applied to buyers as well as sellers since the basics of them would be the same. It is my intention for everyone to use these simple rules as a way of understanding both sides of the used car arena. I believe that a better understanding of the process will assist everyone involved in making the act of selling/buying a car as painless as possible.


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