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By Remar Sutton, Consumer Spokesperson
Dealerships just love it when you trade in your old vehicle. Why? They give you "wholesale" for it or less. Then, they sell it "retail" it to another customer. Even if they sell it to an auction or wholesale broker, they still make money on it. Selling trade-in vehicles is an important profit center for most dealerships.
Why should the dealership make that extra money? Why not pocket that money yourself by "retailing" your car to an individual rather than trading it? You may particularly wish to consider selling your vehicle if it's older but nice and reliable. Many people are looking for very affordable, but reliable transportation. So you can take a vehicle that a dealer might give you just a few hundred or thousand for and make more money. Both you and your buyer can come out ahead. Of course, you can also do well selling a newer vehicle.
Here's the way to sell those wheels yourself.
If you have a desirable vehicle, have determined competitive asking price, and have written a good ad, you're ready to field inquiries from potential customers.
When a potential buyer is ready to make an offer on your vehicle, prepare to negotiate. In fact, the shopper may have been throwing out hints or asking questions about price and your willingness to dicker or come down while they look at and test drive the car. In the Wheels 101 Buyer's Guide, we show you as a buyer how to take control of the bargaining. Smart shoppers for your vehicle will try to do that, too. But you are now the seller. You want to keep control of the negotiations, too. That's why it's important that you know the value of your vehicle, your payoff (if any), the minimum price you will take, and the profit you want to make.
Warning: Particularly when selling your vehicle online (though it can happen in face-to-face sales), you must stay alert for fraudsters. If someone agrees instantly to your asking price, then says they want to send you a certified check or money order for more than the price (an overpayment) and have you send them the balance, say "no sale." This variation on the "Nigerian Scam" has spread widely. In another variation, they may ask for your checking account number so they can "wire the money" to you. Instead, they will steal your money and possibly your identity. Your best protection: If any one wants you—the seller—to give them—the buyer—money or your personal financial information, don't do it. Also if you are considering using an escrow service, check the service out thoroughly, do not automatically accept the one proposed by the buyer. Unfortunately escrow scams abound, too.
When you agree on a sale price, take the following steps to seal the deal and transfer ownership of the vehicle.
You decide: on average, fifty percent of the people who try to sell their car themselves succeed, and those usually make at least a thousand dollars more than if they had traded it. How hard do you work to earn a thousand these days?
Personally, I've always enjoyed the transaction. My favorite happened many years ago when I owned a noble set of wheels named, Catfish, a mud-brown American Motors Gremlin. (I said this was many years ago!) I had purchased Catfish used when I unexpectedly needed some nonfancy, reliable transport for a little while. If I had traded Catfish in, a dealer would have paid me $100 if I was lucky. So I advertised Catfish myself. A nice lady who needed reliable—if somewhat funky looking—transport was delighted to get the noble Catfish for about a hundred or so more than I paid for it. Moral of my story: It doesn't hurt to try selling your car yourself and you too might wind up with a great "fish tale."
©2013, FoolProof Financial Education Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
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