3 Things to Consider When You Sell Your Car

How do I sell my car for the most money?

We are in the business of selling used vehicles and in order to sell used vehicles we have to buy used vehicles everyday. In fact, we have an entire team dedicated to doing just that. Everybody wants to know how to sell their vehicle for the most money but everybody avoids asking the people who know how to do it the best. As part of the Key Auto Group, we feel it is our responsibility to be a resource for our community. We are going to make it as simply as we can and tell you just how to get the most money for your car, truck, or SUV.

What factors into the value, and why do I care?

There are hundreds of factors that go into getting the absolute most for your private sale. You will read online that it’s all about washing your car, replacing remote batteries, and presenting the vehicle properly. Those are actually minor things, and though they are good moves, they are not what you should focus on.

a funny car wash photo, not a carwash in NH, trade value not affected

There are few that are most important, let’s highlight those first.

  • Condition and Book Values
    • Why they are important: The lower you price your vehicle in relation to NADA Trade value the more likely you will have a customer for your vehicle in a more timely fashion.  Most consumers will need financing, If the banks and credit unions will not lend them the money, they can’t buy your vehicle. In the Northeast, most banks and credit unions will finance up to 100% of the NADA Trade Value, and that of course depends on the buyers credit score and other financial factors. Also, remember that it’s important to read the fine print when establishing your NADA Trade Value, there are 3 different levels that vary based on the condition of your vehicle, they are Rough Trade, Average Trade, and Clean Trade. Rough Trade means your vehicle is in need of repairs mechanically or cosmetically and that could be as simple as new front brakes or a coffee stain on a seat. Average trade will generally mean the car needs little repairs and has the normal wear and tear. Clean Trade really means the car is perfect, it has no mechanical needs, is in perfect cosmetic condition, and generally looks like the day it was purchased. As you may have guessed, most consumers who have owned their vehicle longer than 3 months have a vehicle in the range of Rough Trade to Average Trade.  It is also important to factor in the strength of your Carfax report and provide as detailed a history of service records as you can.
  • Time Matters
    • If there’s one thing our Group knows about cars, trucks, and SUVs it is that they go down in value. Don’t believe us? Remember the NADA Trade numbers discussed in the bullet point above? Check the Average Trade Value of your current vehicle today, and then check it again in 31 days. You will likely see a drop of value somewhere between $200-$400. Wait a month to sell your car and the offers you are getting will go down. Wait another month, and they will go down again! If you get a reasonable offer as soon as you post your vehicle for sale on the side of the road or on a private sale website, it’s not uncommon to feel nervous and maybe think it’s too good to be true but you need to have the courage to sell your car as soon as that opportunity arises.
  • Convenience
    • Don’t make the experience of selling your used car about hiding the vehicle condition or pressuring someone into buying the vehicle. At the end of the day, you need to be able to sleep at night and know that a fair deal can be reached for both sides. It’s convenient to get a fair deal done with a buyer who is ready to take ownership and can guarantee you immediate payment. It’s not everyday or even every year that you have to go through the process of selling a car, it can be daunting and it can be stressful because it will feel like a new thing every time. Don’t waste you time and don’t stress about it, strike a deal and move on with your life.

Where do I start?

  1. Determine the condition of your vehicle (likely, Rough to Average) and determine a ballpark value using a trusted guide such as NADA.
  2. Determine how long you are willing to wait to sell the car. Write down the date and stick to it.
  3. Find the specific paperwork you need to complete the transaction with a seller. We recommend working with a professional to guide you through the process of selling your car privately.
  4. Sell your car and move on with your life.
  5. Share this post with a friend.


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