Auto Pilot: Selling your car could yield quite the profit if done correctly

At one time or another, you’ll probably be faced with the prospect of either trading in or selling your car.

Selling the car on your own could easily mean more money in your pocket upon completion of the transaction versus the alternative of trading it in to buy something nicer and newer. The latter certainly sounds much more convenient, but perhaps the sale of your vehicle isn’t tied to getting a new one, and you’re just trying to make some extra cash in a time of need.

So what the best way to sell your car to make the most money?

If you answered parking it in a driveway with a “For Sale” sign on it, that’s a bit short sighted since not many people will see it. You’d be better served to spend a few dollars and list it online for maximum results.

Consider that some online ads cost between $20-40, and most of the more reputable ones carry a decent duration with them. The alternative is an all too familiar and expensive route: the newspaper. Those ads are overpriced and hardly read thanks to dwindling readership.

The real selling power needs to be put in the buyer’s hands, and that begins with the sticker price you’ve selected for your car. Don’t be afraid to ask a little less if you want to get rid of it quickly. That doesn’t mean you should ask $9,000 for your car if you owe $11,500 on it. Instead, if it’s paid off, and you want to get about $4,000 for it, but it’s worth about $5,000, then set it at $4,500. This way, you have a $500 cushion to work with, assuming the buyer is going to bounce back a counter offer from your asking price.

And when you’re deciding on a price, it’s best not to over value your vehicle. Truthfully, it won’t sell quickly if at all, and you’ll be wasting money on posting the ad. The assumption being that trying to overprice your car to make the most money is wishful thinking.

The price obviously would be a moot point if the car doesn’t look the part. If you sell the car, the least you could do is clean it up, wash it, vacuum the interior and throw a fresh coat of wax on it. The car may be worth what you’re asking, but if it doesn’t look like a million bucks, the potential buyer might think you haven’t taken care of it.

If you really want to wow the buyer, show them the original receipt and paperwork, and really hit a home run if you kept records of brake jobs, oil changes or any other maintenance to the car or truck. And please, be honest. If you had a complete transmission overhaul, put that in the ad and let the person know without fail.

All of these tips will push you toward a passing grade and have you riding high when you finally see your profit.