Why Can’t I Manage to Sell My Car?

Black and white "FOR SALE" sign in the back window of a red vehicle

Selling off your used auto – beloved or not – is rarely an easy or enjoyable task. Whether your difficulty lies in inspiring interest toward your car in others or simply getting over the emotional barrier of separating with your beloved beater, the process rarely gets easier as time passes. It’s best to sell quickly and for a good price, to reduce stress on you as the seller and to make sure your car is in the best possible condition to be shown

If you’ve had trouble getting your old car off your hands and now you’re thinking “Why can’t I sell my car?,” don’t fret – the problem is not without its solutions. By keeping just a few simple guidelines in mind, you can get that used car you’ve got for sale out the door and in the hands of a brand new driver.

Here are some of the most common classic mistakes car buyers make when trying to get rid of a used vehicle. If you’re a savvy seller, keep these in mind as you go about your business:


Does Your Car Look Presentable?

There is no over-exaggeration of the importance of curb appeal for a used car. Driver’s don’t just want a car that look nice and like it’s going to run well, but also something they’ll be happy displaying in their driveway later on. This means minimal visible damage, easy visibility from a high-traffic area, and – most importantly – a clean exterior.

If a car seller isn’t even willing to keep the car for sale reasonably clean and presentable for sale, then what else can the consumer expect him or her to have cheaped out on? In the eyes of your potential customers, a less-than-perfect exterior is a sign of deeper, more serious problems. For any smart buyer, this could (and should) be a turn-off.

That’s why it’s critical to keep your used vehicle looking great – visibly clean, easy to see, and generally inviting. If it looks like you’re trying to hide something with a dirty exterior – or that you simply don’t care enough to keep your vehicle dirt-free – then you can be sure the customer will look elsewhere for his or her next vehicle.


Can’t Hide A Bad History

It’s the 21st century and, arguably, secrecy is dead. This is especially true of automobiles, whose unique Vehicle Identification Number can be used to track accidents and service record no matter where you’re living. This means that if your car has been totaled or needed serious repairs in the past, the consumer can almost definitely find out – and choose to not buy from you, depending on the severity.

That’s why it’s best to just be upfront about what your used vehicle has been through and to price it accordingly. Keep in mind that a buyer must consider the cost of future repairs when buying a used car and, if it seems like your vehicle has needed extensive repairs in the past it could hurt your chances of finding a buyer willing to take it.

The worst thing that you can do is try and lie about your vehicle’s history, or try to cover up a prior accident. If the customer looks up your car and discovers that you have lied, your positive reputation with this buyer – and, potentially, with other buyers in the area – could be ruined, and could set your efforts to sell back quite a bit.


Is Your Price Right?

One of the most powerful – and least understood – advantages to being a private car seller is the ability to set your own price. This is actually a huge leg up as a seller, as you can competitively match or beat the prices of other offers for similar vehicles in your area at your discretion. In some cases, you may actually be able to get more than what a dealer would offer simply for the convenience of buying from a private party.

That being said, it’s important to be able to gauge your price and set it at a reasonable amount for your used vehicle. Set too high a price and you’ll scare off potential customers looking to save money, who will simply look elsewhere for a used vehicle; set your price too low and it will seem suspicious, as though you’re just trying to pawn off the car for some unspoken reason.

Make sure your used vehicle is competitively priced – not too high, and not too low. Remember, you’re trying to get a good deal, and maybe make a little bit of money if you can – but you still have to sell the car first to get there.


Might Not Be Reaching The Right Customers

How you advertise your vehicle for sale is critical to who you’ll be reaching; if you want to attract the right customers, you need to advertise in the right way.

This means a few things, including but not limited to expanding your advertising beyond the “For Sale” sign in the windshield. Posting an ad online is a good way to both broaden your scope of potential clients while also containing your results to a specific geographical area. This is just good marketing, as it most directly targets those customers most likely to be looking for the kind of vehicle you’re selling.

The same rules for cleanliness and visibility still apply online, probably because it’s actually critical to have good quality photos of your vehicle to accompany your ad. These can be as simple as amateur cell phone photos but need they need to be there, and they need to clearly show your vehicle from all sides. Would you ever buy a car without seeing it first? Probably not, and the same is fairly universal among buyers – so try to expect it, and use it to your advantage.


Do You Really Want To Sell It?

Sometimes you’ll hear about someone who’s trying “desperately” to sell their used car, only to find out that seller has been worried about what kind of buyer will be taking it, and how good they’ll treat the seller’s “baby” after it’s gone.

This is just foolish. If you’re trying to sell a car, you need to lower your standards and trust your buyer. Once sold the car is out of your hands, and so it’s important to make that mental separation prior to seeing it drive away with a new owner.

If you’re not mentally ready to handle your car actually being bought and taken away to anyone that makes you a good offer, then maybe trying to sell your used car isn’t the best idea. Holding out for a “good buyer” is a surefire way to not sell your car, and so it’s important to keep an open mind and focus mainly on just getting your used car out the door.

These are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying (and failing) to sell a used vehicle By adhering to these standards, however, you give yourself a much better chance at successfully selling off that used car in no time.