Thesis: The majority of the American population has very little, or no understanding of the used car trade. A simple understanding on when and where to sell, how to get your car ready, writing a classified ad, negotiating, and making a contract.
With consumer demand rising and supply constrained by several factors, including the tendency of new-car owners to hang on to them longer, prices for used vehicles have been climbing steadily. According to one recent study, nearly three times as many shoppers now want to buy a used, rather than a new, vehicle. (Dalglish)
In trying to find the perfect buyer, your options include: new-car dealers, used-car dealers, and friends and strangers. New-car dealers are generally eager and ready to buy. They are incredibly picky about every aspect of a car’s condition. New-car dealers will be choosy about the make and model, preferring newer models in relatively good condition.(Makower) They will pay a relatively low price for the car. Used-car dealers are also eager to buy and incredibly picky about every aspect of a car’s condition. But they aren’t very choosy about the cars they buy. However, they will pay a rock-bottom price for the car. Friends and strangers are usually eager and ready to buy. They will be much less picky, and rely more on your word for information. They will be choosy about the car, but will already be interested in the car through your ad. You will get the best price, through negotiations, but you have to work harder. The best time to sell is in the springtime when the weather turns nice. Other good times are in September when kids are going off to college; and in the dead of winter, when there is no competition.
It is possible to turn the average used-car into a saleable commodity in just a few hours. You should dress up your car, regardless of the condition you normally keep it in. You want to make it clean, neat, and even smelling nice. You must do this to the entire car, inside and out, from one end to the other. Most car buyers understand that appearance is a good indicator of how well someone treated the car overall. Nine important steps to take are: washing and waxing, painting and touching up, cleaning your tires, a thorough cleaning of the interior, gather all the important documents, steam...
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...importantly, make copies of everything you sign. The bill of sale is the basic car-buying document that records the transaction. The following should be included: the date of the sale, year and make and model of the car, state registration, VIN number, odometer reading, amount sale is for, extra conditions, and the buyer’s and seller’s names and addresses and phone numbers. Make sure that each party gets a copy of the bill of sale.
A large percentage of the population uses the automobile regularly. The majority of the population, over 90%, has little or no understanding of the car buying art. (Robertson) Many people feel that selling their car themselves can be a real hassle. But, if you can realize that you will get several hundred dollars more than what a dealer might offer you, it just may be worth a little effort and time on your part.
Dalglish, Brenda. “Better Than New: used-car prices jump as consumer demand grows.”
Maclean’s 10 Jul. 1995: 22-24
Makower, Joel. How to Sell a Used Car. New York: Perigee Books, 1988.
Robertson, C.B. How to Deal on an Automobile. Lyons: Blue Mountain Publisher, 1988.
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