Common Selling Pitfalls to Avoid

There's no perfect way to sell a car—no magic formula that will guarantee you your asking price from a responsible buyer in a timely manner. Instead, selling your car involves making a long series of decisions that will vary based on your car, your location, and many other factors. And a little bit of luck never hurts.

But even though there's no guaranteed blueprint for a quick and easy sale, there are lots of things you can avoid that will turn buyers off and make the process harder overall. Here's a quick list of ten wrong turns you can take during the process of listing, selling and closing the deal:

Unrealistic Expectations: If you go into the process thinking your car will sell overnight, you may end up disappointed. Of course, buyers will be quick to pounce on any vehicle that seems like a steal, but if you’ve priced your car in the average to high range, it may take longer to sell. So, set your expectations accordingly—the average used car spends several weeks online before the right buyer comes along.

Incomplete Description: Take full advantage of the Vehicle Description area on your ad by telling the story of your car. Why are you selling? How many owners has the car had? Being up front and honest about these details makes a positive first impression on buyers.

Common Car Selling Pitfalls to AvoidLow Quality Photos, or Not Enough: Uploading photos with your ad is a must, but that's not the end of the story. Buyers like to see detailed photos of the car from various angles, to make sure there are no surprises when they come see it in person.

Slow or Unfriendly Response to Inquiries: Tye Frazier, AutoTrader.com Customer Adviser, recommends channeling your inner salesman. "Make sure that when you get a call, you're eager to talk to folks," he says. "Always sell the car to every caller. Even if you have ten calls in a row, you could be talking to the one person who wants to buy the car."

Inflexibility: This could mean inflexibility with regard to price, going to meet a buyer for a test drive, or any other related issue. In the end, your asking price is entirely up to you, but most buyers will expect you to work with them.

Dishonesty about Price or Vehicle Condition: Nothing turns buyers off faster than thinking a seller is dishonest. All buyers know about your vehicle is what they see in your ad, so if you quote them a different price or if they see something that was inaccurately depicted in the ad, they will be immediately suspicious. From there, negotiations can quickly fizzle.

Lack of Knowledge about Your Car: To sell successfully, you have to be an expert on your car. Anticipate the questions you'll receive and be ready with quick, knowledgeable answers. This will instill confidence in the buyer and also help you at the negotiation table. According to Frazier, "You have to stick to what your price is by sticking to the facts. You have to know what your car is worth and why."

Dirt and Grime: Your car's outward appearance makes a big difference. Buyers will be impressed if you get your car looking its best, but beyond that, a dirty car might make a buyer think that it has been improperly maintained in other ways.

Incomplete Paperwork: A buyer will be pleasantly surprised and reassured to see that you have all your paperwork in order, especially if your car has had any major repairs in the past. Again, even if you're not actively trying to be deceptive, a buyer may think you are if you can't fill in all the blanks of your car's history.

Fraud: Perhaps the worst pitfall of all is dealing with a dishonest buyer. There are many schemes out there, and awareness is the best defense against them. Find out what you need to know to avoid internet fraud.

 

Andrew Golaszewski is a staff writer at AutoTrader.com.

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