Under $2K Selling Steps
1. Decide what to repair
Let's face facts: In this price range, your car is probably an older vehicle with lots of miles on the clock. Trading the car in at a dealership would likely net you next to nothing. So should you fix it or sell it "as is"? Of course this will depend on the cost of repairs, but the selling process will be quicker and smoother if you make major repairs beforehand.
Experts say that getting a repair estimate will help determine your sales tactic. "If the cost of fixing it is half the price of what you're asking for, you may be better off selling it for less as a 'parts car,'" said Edmunds Automotive Editor John DiPietro. If repair costs are less than half the car's value but are still more than you want to shoulder, offer a copy of the estimate to the potential buyer, who can factor this into his or her decision.
You can also offer potential buyers a vehicle history report to show you're negotiating in good faith by disclosing potential problems. This can also prevent misunderstandings and problems after you make the sale.
2. Set a price with wiggle room
Determine the value using Edmunds' used car True Market Value (TMV®) appraiser, then look at what comparable vehicles are selling for in your area. This gives you an idea what your target selling price should be. But there will be some negotiating before you get to this price, so you have to add a little wiggle room.
For example, we recently had to sell one of our personal vehicles. It was an older salvage title car, but we wanted to get no less than $500 for it. When we posted it on Craigslist, we set the asking price to $900. The car eventually sold for $650.
3. Decide where to advertise
When selling a car in this range, Craigslist is a valuable tool in getting the word out. Auto Trader is a more established venue for advertising your vehicle, but the listings cost about $40 each. Since your profit margin is already pretty thin, start with Craigslist or other local free listing services, and move on to paid ads if you aren't getting results in about three weeks.
4. Create an effective ad
The more details you give about the car's condition, the more likely you are to make a quick sale. "You have an unlimited amount of space, so use it," said Susan MacTavish Best, spokeswoman for Craigslist. In the body of your ad, give all pertinent information about the car's condition. "Be honest in your description," says Best. "If it's a lemon, say it's a lemon."
Make it easy to read by using bullet points, and include photos from different angles of the car's interior and exterior. Craigslist lets you post up to four photographs, but they tend to be small. So consider posting more photos on a sharing site like Flickr and include the link in your ad.
We recommend posting only your e-mail address at first to avoid getting annoying calls early in the morning and late at night.
5. Get paid in cash
In this price bracket, asking to be paid in cash is essential since this will avoid problems with bad checks or fraudulent money orders.