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How to get the best price for your car

By  AAMI

There's more to selling a car than just putting an ad up online. Present your wheels well and you could get more money in the bank. 

There’s an art to good salesmanship, and with many people selling their vehicles online, it’s important to make sure yours stands out from the crowd. We spoke to Shaun Wilton, carsales.com.au  Group Manager of Customer Service, to get for his top tips for selling your car online. 

1. Give it a good clean

Before you even think about advertising your car, you ought to give it a good detail so that it's looking its absolute best and you can maximise your return. “You have to put some elbow grease in and clean it inside and out,” Wilton says. “If you don't feel confident in your ability to give it a good clean, then you could go to a serviced car wash – they’ll do a great job.”

2. Put effort into your photos

It’s easy to just snap a few shots and send your ad live, but Wilton says good pictures can make all the difference to piquing potential buyers’ interest. “Take your photos on an overcast day or at dusk,” he advises. “That way you’re removing sunlight glare from the photos. Also, avoid having your car positioned half in the shade and half in the sunlight as it can make it difficult to see the colour of the paintwork properly.” 

Wilton recommends posting at least 12 good quality photos of your car online. “It's important to give a 360-degree view of the car so get a photo of the front, back, sides and front and rear quarter panels from a 45-degree angle," he says. “Stand back far enough so you get the entire car in – never cut the edges of your car off. Use your photos to highlight special features, like big boot space or the engine if it's a performance vehicle.”

3. Check your facts

Whether it’s an incorrect phone number or email address or the wrong car year, Wilton says it’s surprising how many people put up an ad that contains errors. “It’s important to understand your specs – look at your original service book for the make, model, badge and year,” he says. “It's so disappointing for the buyer if they think they are going to check out a 4WD Hilux and realise it’s actually a 2WD.” Any extra details can also help get buyers interested. “Comments in bullet points are an important way to build confidence in your buyer,” he says. “Does it have service books and a full service history? When were the tyres replaced? Are the kilometres high because it has done country kilometres? Is it a non-smoker’s car?” 

4. Price your car accurately

It might be tempting to put an extra grand or two on the sale price but Wilton says that pricing your car unrealistically high could deter buyers. “You have to be realistic – all you will do by overpricing your car is lower interest in your vehicle and extend the time it takes to sell,” he says. “You have to think, ‘What is my time is worth? Would I prefer to take three months to sell my car and have to talk to 100 potential buyers or maybe sell it for $1000 less and sell it in three weeks?’” If you sell your car on carsales.com.au, Wilton says you can use their Price Assist tool to get an accurate indication of what your car is worth.

5. Stick a sale sticker in the window

Sure, online advertising is a great way to expose your car to a large number of people, but Wilton says you increase your chances of a quick sale if people can see your car for sale in real life too. “If you are driving that car to and from work every day you are exposing it to thousands of additional eyeballs,” Wilton points out. Many online vehicle selling websites provide assets to help with this. For example, if you use carsales.com.au, they provide a for-sale sticker that allows interested buyers to SMS your rego number and get an instant link to the live advert. “You might be wondering what year it is, how many kilometres it’s done, whether it has a sunroof,” Wilton explains. “You can get that SMS back on your phone and look at the specific details of that vehicle.”

6. Share with your own networks

Buyers love to know the history of a car and to trust the seller, so it’s always worth letting your Facebook friends and Instagram and Twitter followers know that your car is for sale. “These days we shouldn’t underestimate the power of social media – it can be really effective,” Wilton says. “You also get that flow-on effect when a friend shares it with a friend.”

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