Top 10 things you need to know before selling your Volvo
1. Gather Information. Whether you're looking to unload your car quickly or get the best offer for it, it's smart to start with a little preparation. You need to visit websites like eBay, AutoTrader, KBB etc.. to determine your car's value to setting your asking price and getting a firm online offer.
Many people overlook this step until the very end, but the selling process really starts with rounding up your paper work. The car's title, service records and original sales paperwork are the big three.
Here's why: While you may already know the basics (year, make, model, current mileage), you'll need to know your car's style (not just a 2003 Honda Accord, but a 2003 Honda Accord LX) along with optional features like keyless entry, a CD player, leather seats or navigation system. Options can bump up your car's resale value, so be sure you have a complete list. If you want to see if you missed anything, check your original sales documents or the window sticker.
Finally, gather up as many maintenance receipts as you can find. "These days, regular oil changes are an even better indication of good upkeep than tune-ups," says Dan Ingle, Kelley Blue Book's Vice President of Vehicle Valuations and Industry Products. "If you changed your oil every 3,000-8,000 miles, in keeping with the manufacturer's recommendations, that's a good signal to a buyer that the car has been cared for."
If you don't have your service receipts, ask your dealer, regular mechanic or oil change center if they can print a statement that summarizes your visits. This kind of information reassures a buyer that the car is in good shape, which can help you get a higher price.
2. Condition. Know your Volvo's condition. You may think your car "drives like new" and shines like a baby seal, but its value will depend on its actual condition, so you'll need to be both knowledgeable and realistic about it. Owners tend to overestimate the value of their car, which can lead to unrealistic expectations. If you ultimately set your asking price too high, you'll probably have more trouble selling it. Consider going to your mechanic for an assessment. He/she can identify problems with the engine, plus things you may overlook, like a broken tail light or features you don't use. A pre-sell inspection can be worth the investment because: You'll arm yourself with the information a buyer will find if they do their own inspection. A recent inspection will put buyers at ease and may even head off a buyer's need to have the car inspected on their own
3. Trade or Sell. Once you know the true condition of your car, the next step is to decide whether to sell it yourself or trade it in to a dealership -- since the value of your car varies depending on which method you use. There are pros and cons to each option:
Why Trade It In?
- Fast and convenient
- No costs for listing and selling
- No personal calls/emails at home
- Pay less sales tax on your new car
Why Sell It Yourself?
- Negotiate directly with buyers
- Usually get more for your car (about 15-25% more)
- No dealer overhead cost
4. Increase Value. Whether you sell your car yourself or trade it in to a dealer, you will want to do the little things - and maybe fix the big things - to boost your car's value.
- 1. Lights -- Lights are generally inexpensive to replace, and they're important to a buyer. "A quick stop at the auto supply store and a Phillips screwdriver, and you're usually in great shape," says Ingle.
- 2. Windshield chips/cracks --The cost of repairing a windshield is usually less than the amount that buyers will mentally knock off the price if you leave the damage as is.
- 3. Brakes -- If you're selling a luxury vehicle, new brakes are worth the cost. For non-luxury cars, it's only a deduction of $100-150 from your asking price.
- 4. Tires -- Buyers are advised to check a used car's tire treads to get a sense of overall wear and tear. If your treads are worn or uneven, at the very least replace them with some matching used tires (as little as $30-$40 per tire), otherwise the buyer will often expect a significant discount ($300-$700), depending on the model.
- 5. Dents, dings & scratches -- If you have more than four or five dings, especially if they're glaring to the eye, hire a dent wizard. "Dent removal experts can be very affordable - often charging only $100 to remove several dings," says Ingle. "You will be saving the buyer the headache of taking it to the body shop." For a major dent where a panel needs to be repaired, it makes even better financial sense to fix it, Ingle advises.
- 5. Price. If you've spent money improving your car's condition, your car's value has probably changed as well. Check your Blue Book® Value the week you're ready to sell, as this will help you price your car appropriately.
Buyers often look up the Blue Book Value of cars they're interested in to get an idea of what they should pay. As a pricing guide trusted by both consumers and the auto industry for more than 85 years, Kelley Blue Book takes much of the speculation out of determining a car's value. Our experts factor in everything from current economic conditions to industry developments to the location of the car.
However, the car's Blue Book Value and your asking price may be two different numbers. First, you want to build in a cushion for negotiating. Second, your asking price may be lower or higher than your value based on variables for your particular car.Price your car higher if:
To figure out how to price your car relative to its Blue Book Value, look at the range of asking prices for cars like yours in our Classifieds section. This should give you the best sense of what other people are asking for their cars. Look for cars in your area with not just the same make/model/style, but similar mileage and options. If there's a range of asking prices, start in the middle and add or deduct from that point, keeping in mind the following:
- Your car is still under warranty or has an extended warranty (bumper-to-bumper or powertrain), provided the warranty is transferable
- You've kept up with regular maintenance, especially if you've just completed a major scheduled maintenance, such as a 60,000-mile service
- You've purchased a new set of tires or installed new brakes
- You want to sell it quickly
- It needs a major scheduled service, new tires or brakes
- It has been in an accident
Online ads also allow you to field questions first, which will help you weed out any unlikely buyers and limit your time showing the car in person.
7. Screen Buyers. Unless you hire a broker or have a friend who owes you several favors, you'll need to meet prospective buyers and set up test drives. This can be daunting, so it makes sense to look through all the candidates online first, then call the ones that seem promising. That initial phone call is the best way to put both parties at ease.
Tip: Sell Local
- Warranty information
- Bill of Sale
- "As is" statement
- Release of Liability form (check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles)
- Any additional documents your state requires (such as Smog Certification in CA)
8. Test Drive Sell. Before the test drive, anticipate a potential buyer's questions about your car. For example, if you're asking more for your car than others in the category, be prepared to explain why. Special features, complete maintenance records, and any recent upgrades are all logical explanations of a higher price -- especially when you can back it up with the paperwork.
Don't forget: the extra effort of selling your car yourself is generally worth 15-25% more than the trade-in value at a dealer. But if you find that the process is taking too long or is more effort than you're comfortable with, you can always choose to trade it in. Or you can go the quickest route and get an instant online offer through AutoTrader.com's Trade-In Marketplace (with no new car purchase required).
9. Negotiate. At the end of the test drive, remind the buyer of the car's asking price and how "firm" that price may be. This is also the time to revisit any remaining warranty or extended protection, or whether you're selling the vehicle "as is."
10. Complete the sale. Once the buyer has fallen in love with your car and you've agreed on a price, the smartest next step is to accompany the buyer to their bank for a cashier's check. This will help protect you against any fraud. Once payment is complete, take the following final steps:
- If the car is sold "as is" - note this on the Bill of Sale
- Sign and date the Bill of Sale and have the buyer sign it as well
- Sign over the title; fill out and sign the release of liability and submit to your DMV
- Include any additional paperwork your state requires
- Make a copy of all the paperwork before handing the keys and documents over to the buyer
- Remove the vehicle from your insurance