It seems like everyone is running around in a panic trying to unload their SUVs these days. Maybe not our readers, many of whom have to carry around more than 5. Smartmoney recently published an article offering 5 essential tips to help sell your Seqouia.
It seems that trading in your Pathfinder might not be a viable option anymore, so if you are downsizing, this list is chock full of good advice.
In fact, gas crunch notwithstanding, I see this list as great advice for selling any car, in any financial climate:
1. Be Your Own Salesperson
Owners almost always get a better price for their car when they sell it on their own vs. trading it in, says Robyn Eckard, a spokeswoman for Kelley Blue Book. This is especially true when it comes to SUVs. Dealers already have a hard time getting rid of the used SUVs clogging up their lots. In fact, the market is so bad that some dealerships won’t even accept SUVs as trade-ins anymore, says Eckard. Even if a dealer is willing to take an SUV trade-in, they’ll likely offer the owner a price quote that’s well below market value in an effort to preserve their own profit margins.
2. Price It Right
The fact that used-SUV prices are falling fast is not lost on potential buyers. So when selling an SUV, make sure to check its current value on Kelley Blue Book’s web site. (Prices are updated every Thursday.) Then visit a site like AutoTrader.com to see what other local sellers are asking for. Just be aware that many people who list their vehicles don’t actually need to sell them. These folks often ask for a relatively high price and only part with their trucks if and when they get what they want. For owners desperate to sell their SUV quickly, consider pricing it $100 to $200 less than the cheapest comparable car in the region, says Howard Polirer, industry relations director for AutoTrader.com.
3. Advertise Online
Sixty one percent of used-car buyers start their search online, according to AutoTrader.com. So it’s critical that you list your SUV on a web site like AutoTrader.com, Carsdirect.com, Cars.com, or eBay Motors (EBAY: 28.45, -0.20, -0.69%). By reaching millions of potential buyers, web sites like these allow individual sellers to compete directly with dealerships. Since an owner doesn’t have overhead costs to worry about, he could list his SUV for less than a dealer, making his vehicle look like a bargain. And if you throw in free car shipping — a technique dealers often employ — you might be surprised at how many additional offers you get.
4. Provide Plenty of Details
To help your ad gain more traction, include as many details about your SUV as possible. Autotrader.com recommends posting at least 25 pictures that highlight the vehicle’s best features, including shots of the cargo space, fold-down seats and its general condition. And as you should with any car listing, include photos of any scratches or dings, as well as the odometer showing the SUV’s mileage.
5. Build Credibility
Finally, work on building credibility with prospective buyers. Provide them with all maintenance records and a Carfax Vehicle History Report. The vehicle history report, which costs $25, details factors that every buyer should know, including whether or not the SUV was ever in a serious accident or flood. Also, consider paying an independent mechanic to inspect the car (it should cost about $150) so buyers feel confident they aren’t getting a lemon.
One last piece of advice: Don’t get so caught up with the price at the pump that you’re willing to sell your SUV at any price. Make sure to ask for enough to cover any outstanding auto loans and the cost of acquiring a new car. If that’s not feasible, it might make more sense to keep your existing vehicle and find ways to drive it more efficiently.