When you're gearing up to sell your car, you may be confused about how to determine the right price. Setting the right price isn't a matter of guesswork or divination. You can take a few short but concrete steps to setting a well-informed and reasonable price.
Start with a Dose of Realism and Honesty
While it makes sense to hope for the best when selling your car, it's important to be realistic about it. If you're trying to sell a 10-year-old economy car with stains on the interior and rust spots on the exterior, you aren't going to get a 2-year-old luxury car price. Are you selling a car that's popular and in demand, or are you selling a car that someone is going to buy because it's what they can afford? You may well be selling something that's worth a decent amount of money, but just having a car to sell doesn't automatically mean you are sitting on a potentially large pile of cash. You need to be realistic about what people are willing to pay for your car if you have any hope of actually making a sale.
The Limits of Overpricing
You may think that asking for more than you expect to get is a good strategy, but there are limits to the realism of this wisdom. Yes, slight overpricing can give you a good starting point for bargaining, but don't go overboard with this. Setting your price too high will immediately turn off many buyers. Some of them won't even bother to look at the rest of your listing if they determine that your asking price is too high. Remember that you're entering a competitive market. Buyers are going to have numerous options from which to choose, and if your listing price is too high, they're going to skip over it and go for something more affordable. Part of successful competition is being able to meet or best the others in your field. When selling a car, that means setting a competitive price.
Gather Value Information
Though you want to list your car with a realistic price, you don't want to cheat yourself. The right price is one that is fair for both you and the buyer. There are tools available that can help you determine a realistic and fair value for your used car. You don't have to guess, but you do have to do some research. There are many different car valuation tools online that let you type in your car's make and model along with other information, such as repair condition, in order to get an objective measure of what your car is worth. Your asking price should be close to this value. If buyers are doing their research, which you should assume they are, they will be aware of this value as well.
Have the Car Appraised
As part of this info-gathering effort, you may want to take the car to a mechanic to have it appraised. This is another thing you should assume that buyers will do, so you might as well get your own independent appraisal so you can be aware of what condition the car is in and know of any mechanical issues it may have. That way, the buyer won't be able to dishonestly try to lower the price of the car.
Look at Existing Ads for Similar Cars
Another factor to consider is how other sellers are pricing similar cars. Look at sites like Gumtree and see if you can gather any information on how other sellers are approaching the sale of cars of your same make and model. Make sure the model year is within 1 or 2 years of yours. Cars depreciate significantly over time. You don't want to set your price too much higher or too much lower than other sellers'. There are some exceptions to this; for example, if your 5-year-old car has only 10 000 kilometres on it, you may realistically be able to ask for more than other sellers who have the same model year. However, if your car has a lot of kilometres on it, or if it's damaged in some way that you don't intend to fix before selling, you'll want to ask for less than sellers who have cars in better condition.
Simply looking at what another seller is asking is not necessarily going to lead you to setting the best price. That seller may be in a comfortable financial position and simply want to get rid of the car, thus setting the price lower than what you could reasonably ask for. It is your responsibility to make sure you come out of the sale without making any major mistakes. Be honest with yourself, do your research, have the car appraised and be aware of the market. Doing all of these things will take time, but it will put you in the most informed and powerful position you can be in to sell your car.