By Leslie Vander Baan, Vice President, CarBuyCo
Not too long ago, the process of successfully selling a car was driven by luck and lots of hard work. Whether you were placing a classified ad in the paper or taping a “for sale” sign in the window of the car, it was all about doing the legwork and hoping the right potential buyer took notice.
Fortunately for many seniors, technology has made this labor-intensive process largely a thing of the past. From new online sites and services, to mobile platforms and applications, to call centers designed to help you through the process, technology is making it easier than ever for seniors to sell their used cars quickly and without hassle at a competitive price. At the same time, for those who enjoy doing the legwork themselves, the information available online can give you an edge.
Information is power
Through technology, we have greater access to information, making it easier to do your homework and better understand your vehicle’s value. There are a number of free Internet and mobile app-based options that consumers can use to accurately determine the value of their vehicle and a competitive asking price. Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) are two well-established and trusted websites that provide vehicle value, and there are a number of other innovative new car sales services that mean helpful information is only a few clicks or a phone call away. While technology does give us a leg up, sometimes nothing beats talking to an expert.
However you get your information, today, there is no excuse for not setting (and getting) a competitive price for your vehicle.
While the volume of used car sales for the first four months of 2013 was the highest it has been since 2002 (according to Black Book), used car prices are also beginning to drop for the first time since 2010. As a result, adequately preparing your car for sale is critical in this competitive market.
While some of the old-fashioned steps definitely still apply (improve your car’s “curb appeal,” use a professional detail service, clean out the trunk and the glovebox, and remove debris from under the hood, etc.), there are some areas where technology can help.
With services like CARFAX (carfax.com), it’s easy to provide a detailed history of your car—in addition to assembling and sharing your car’s maintenance history. When selling online, it’s critical to include great photos (pick a sunny day, use a good angle and keep the background clean).
While technology provides us with a much wider range of options to connect buyers and sellers, it is still important to understand your target audience. Dealers, individuals and online purchasers all have different priorities and triggers for value. Some issues are essential to address prior to sale for all buyers: fixing a check engine light, buying new seat covers for a damaged interior, removing stains and fixing all lights (brakes, turn signals, etc.). Depending on the buyer, it may be worth removing door dings, investing in a professional detailing service, or removing window tinting.
For individuals—especially if you’re selling online—the visual first impression is often most important. Dealers and consignment buyers are more interested in the maintenance history and functionality. For online purchasers—including internet- and mobile-based car-buying services—it is even possible to skip the firsthand inspection and instead use FaceTime or a similar technology to conduct a “virtual” inspection.
This technology allows us to choose our priorities: Do we want to sell our car quickly? How long are we willing to wait for the best possible price? How much time and money do we want to invest in the process? Everyone’s needs are different, but technology gives us a multitude of options and many new opportunities.
Wherever you are in the process of selling a car, technology can help you do it faster and more effectively, all from the comfort of your couch! The bottom line is that seniors who take the time to get comfortable with the online resources available will have a distinct advantage when selling their cars.
Leslie Vander Baan—a nationally recognized expert in automotive value—is vice president of CarBuyCo, a no-hassle, guaranteed solution for selling used vehicles. The company’s quick and easy process allows potential sellers to quickly get a quote for their vehicle (either through CarBuyCo.com or live over the phone: 877-309-9222), which is then finalized with a virtual or quick in-person inspection. Wherever you are in the country, CarBuyCo can come to you for a fast, convenient sale..