Gonna sell the old car and get a new one, maybe just hoof it for a while, I dunno, but the car’s good as gone. But how much do I ask for it? Ah yes, there’s a little art and a little science in answering that question.
For the purposes of this article we’re going to assume that the car needs no body work or major mechanical repair. That creates a whole new group of issues.
Go out and take a good long look at the beast. Is the paint any good? Interior and upholstery alright? Does everything work? Is it clean inside and out or does it have a years’ worth of road grime and smell like old socks? Clean it, make it pretty as you can. Get all the fluids changed and make sure everything works and that the brakes and tires are serviceable.
Now you have to determine is how much you’re going to ask for the car. Some articles suggest the Kelly Blue Book as a guide but I’m not so sure. The KBB gives you an idea of the average price is across the country but it doesn’t tell you what cars are bringing in your market. My favorite way to get a price is by checking the local classifieds and seeing what folks are asking for similar cars. Compare apples to apples. Check out cars of your model and year and in similar condition. Keep in mind that the price you see in the add is what the seller would like to get or their starting price, not what they’re actually getting. So say I have a 1992 Miata I want to get rid of. It has 160,000 miles, looks good and is in good mechanical condition. The Kelly price is $1600 but in the classifieds nobody’s asking less than $3500. If I put my Miata up for the Kelly price it’ll be sold in less than an hour but I will have cheated myself out of $1400, assuming that most sellers are getting about $500 less than what they’re asking.
So, comparing my car to the other similar cars in the classifieds I decide I need to have $3400 out of it. I’m going to price it at $4200 and plug it in to the classifieds. I’m willing to negotiate down to the price I need, but I may be able to get more.
It goes the other way too. I see that the car I have for sale is a bit rougher than the other cars being offered. In that case I obviously have to start with a lower price to attract offers. But it never hurts to set the price a bit too high to begin with, you can always go lower. It’s tougher to start low and go up.
In the next article I’m going to talk a little about negotiation, meeting buyers and closing the deal.
From your Local Mechanics, All Tune and Lube Total Car Care. Complete Auto Repair and Maintenance.