How To Sell Your Car Fast And For More Money

used cars for sale bethany missouriIf you’re looking to sell your car or trade it in for an upgrade there’s a few things you need to consider first.

By following these proven best practices for selling your car you’ll be setting yourself up to get maximum value without spending weeks waiting around for the right buyer.

If you skip any one step you’ll be leaving lots of money on the table.  Follow each step closely and you’ll end up selling your vehicle fast and making more.


First, Decide What Route is Best For You

  1. Sell it to a private party
  2. Sell it to a dealer
  3. Trade it in for a New or Used vehicle

Let’s take a quick look at the 3 options and the advantages and disadvantages of each.


  • Sell it to a private party

If you have a high mile vehicle worth anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 this might be your best bet.

Selling to a private party gives you the ability to ask a retail price for your vehicle and potential to make the most money, if you sell it fast.

The main drawback of selling to a private party is the time it can take to find the right buyer.  If your vehicle is worth more than $10,000 you’ll be competing with used car dealers who offer financing options, extended service plans, and a reputation of reconditioning vehicles before selling them.

In this price range it’s tough to compete unless you want to offer to foot any repair bills that may arise after you sell the vehicle.


  • Sell it to a dealer

If you need to sell your vehicle fast, then selling to a new or used car dealer is by far your best bet.  Some franchise dealerships will write you a check on the spot for above wholesale book value.

For example, Pettijohn Auto Center in Bethany offers a free service for any vehicle owner where they’ll complete a full appraisal and give you a cash offer for your car even if you’re not looking to buy.

The main benefit of selling to a dealer is not having to deal with the hassles finding a buyer, waiting for payment, and making sure all the correct paperwork is completed and correct.

That being said, any new or used car dealer will offer you a wholesale price for your vehicle, not retail.  They’ll typically use a book value like Kelley Blue Book or NADA Blackbook to determine what your car is worth.

They’ll also figure in the reconditioning expense to make your car front-lot ready and looking like new in the eyes of a customer.


  • Trade it in for a new or used vehicle

If you’re looking to upgrade to a new or used vehicle, then this is your best bet.  Especially if you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle.

Many dealerships will allow qualified buyers to trade in the vehicle and include what they currently owe on a new loan.  This way you have one monthly payment rather than scraping up cash to pay off your vehicle before you go to sell it.

Once you’ve decided which option is best for you, the next step is to get your vehicle ready to sell.  


How to Get Your Car Cleaned And Ready To Sell

Once you know your goal, the next step is to do some basic prep to get the car ready to sell.

The goal here is NOT to make your car perfect or spend a bunch of money fixing every dent, ding or scratch.

The goal is to make it presentable, not perfect.

You want to make sure the car will appeal to any buyer whether that’s a dealer or an online buyer.  We only get one chance to make a good first impression.

The better your car looks, the more confident the buyer will feel about the condition of the car.  A clean car shows that you’ve taken good care of it over the years and that it will make the next driver a great car as well.

A complete detail is the one thing you can do that will give you the biggest bang for your buck when getting your car ready to sell.

You can either detail the vehicle yourself or have it done by a professional.  Either way it’s important to vacuum all the carpets, seats, wipe down the dash, all the doors and soap and wash all the exterior of the vehicle.


Do you know what your car is worth? Here’s 3 ways to quickly check the value

Before you set the asking price for your vehicle, we need to do a little market research.

  1. Get it appraised by a dealership who offers a free appraisal service (Pettijohn Auto Center offers free appraisals plus a free CarFax report regardless of if you buy a new vehicle or not).
  2. Check the book values publicly available online, or blackbook are two of the most popular and trusted values.
  3. Research what similar cars are selling for online.  Look at local dealer websites and used car listing sites to determine what the retail price.  But realize, the retail prices you see online are for fully-conditioned used vehicles.

With all this information you’ll have a good idea of what is a fair price for your vehicle.


What to do if you owe more than the vehicle is worth

If you don’t have the cash available to pay off the vehicle, then your best bet is to trade it in and finance the next vehicle.  In many cases, qualified buyers can trade in the vehicle and add the outstanding loan balance on the trade-in to the new car loan.

If you’re selling to a dealer (or trading it in for an upgrade), start here.


How To Limit Your Risk and Make Sure You Get A Guaranteed Fair Value For Your Vehicle

Before you post your car online or sell it to the first interested buyer, it’s a smart idea to have a cash offer in hand.  Even if you don’t plan on selling, you’ll have a real idea of what someone is willing to pay for your specific vehicle.

When you bring your car in for an in-person appraisal at Pettijohn’s you’ll have the flexibility to choose from the 3 Selling Options we talked about earlier.

  1. Sell it to a private party
  2. Sell it to a dealer
  3. Trade it in for a New or Used vehicle

Once you have a real offer you can decide the option that’s best for you.  If you need to sell it fast, you can accept the offer. If you’d like to upgrade you can trade it in.  And if you want to see what it would bring on the open market you have a good starting point for what the vehicle is worth.


3 Big Benefits of Getting Your Car Appraised At Pettijohn’s

When you bring your vehicle in an experienced appraiser will go through a quick checklist with you to get all the basic information.  We’ll ask about the vehicle’s history, check the tires, and do a quick inspection inside and out.

Get a Real Offer to Purchase Your Vehicle

You’ll receive a real offer to purchase your vehicle in 30 minutes or less.  At that point you can decide to take the offer and sell it, trade it in toward a newer vehicle or try and sell it yourself for more.

Get a Free CarFax report on your vehicle.

Our partnership with CarFax allows us to pull the CarFax on any vehicle as long as we have the VIN number.  We’ll run the history report and show you the copy.

Financing Options & Huge Selection if You Decide to Trade

If you like the offer and decide to trade it in for something newer you’ll have many financing options to choose from.  We work with dozens of banks to get you the best rates and best financing terms available on in stock units.


How to Schedule Your Free Appraisal at Pettijohn’s In Bethany

Click this link to schedule your free appraisal.  We recommend scheduling 24 hours in advance to make sure someone is available to appraise your vehicle as soon as you arrive.

Before we can generate your offer, here’s what you’ll need to bring.

  • Your car’s title and/or payoff information.
  • All titleholders should be present for the appraisal.
  • Current valid registration as proof of ownership.
  • State-issued photo identification for all titleholders.
  • All keys and remotes.  If any original keys or remotes are missing it could affect your offer.

To schedule your free appraisal start here.