Selling a car is almost always more profitable than having it exchanged for a discount while buying your next vehicle.

Unless the car is in no condition to be resold at all, it is likely that the dealer you are exchanging your old car at will turn a good profit when they resell it again. To maintain a high-profit margin, dealers will often pay a lot less to the original car owner than what they expect to sell it for.

Much of the same applies if you are in a hurry to sell the car for cash. Most used car dealerships will attempt to buy any car that they are interested in, at the cheapest possible price that they can get away with. Nevertheless, it is still not likely to be as low as the discount you will be offered during an exchange. However, there are some tricks to make a used car sale profitable, if you know how to go about it.

Invest in Your Car

When you are about to sell an old car for cash, it might feel like an odd time to invest in the vehicle. It would indeed be a very odd time to invest in the vehicle if your investment plans include brand-new, luxurious interior installations and custom bodywork! Instead, we are discussing practical investments such as making necessary repairs, changing worn tires, changing the engine oil, and perhaps even a paint job (only if absolutely necessary).

Take the car to a good mechanic and have all its vitals checked and repaired first. Your objective should be that of making the car as functional as possible, before putting it out on the market. A car that looks good and checks out well during an inspection will be much easier to sell and it will fetch a high enough price to justify the expenses.

Sell Your Personal Number Plate Online

If your car has a personal number plate,[1]  there is a high chance that you will be able to find a good price for it online. Post evaluation, personal number plates are advertised for sale, but can be placed in an auction [2] to find the highest bidder. Depending on how in-demand the personalised number plate is at that time, you could end up adding a substantial and unexpected profit to your car’s final sales price.

Find a Reasonable Used Car Dealer

Theoretically, if a second-hand car dealer was not a part of the transaction, both you and the buyer should be able to make a more profitable deal with each other directly. Practically, this can be a lot harder and more complicated than it sounds. Unless you are in the business yourself, the act of finding a reliable buyer who will pay cash for the purchase can be very difficult. Barring family and friends, a P2P car sale is a transaction between two strangers.

Used car dealerships have the means to both verify their customers and get what they are owed, which is something the average car owner may not be able to claim. From[3]  the potential buyer’s perspective, they would rather trust an established and registered business than a random stranger with their money.

The fact is that people go to used car lots when they are looking for second-hand cars. The lots have a wide range of options there for potential buyers to look at side-by-side and test ride a few of them while at it. Dealers have easy financing options for their buyers too, which most car owners are unable to provide. Keeping all that in mind, it is recommended that you use the competition between the car dealerships in your area to make your sale as profitable as possible, rather than trying to sell the car directly to a stranger.

Wait a While

Almost every second-hand car dealer will give you a price and tell you that it’s a limited time offer with a very short expiry date. Unless you are facing an emergency where the need for cash must be met immediately, it is recommended that you don’t give in right away. If they are interested in the old car, then they will raise their offer price in a few days’ time, rather than lowering it. All used car dealers are well aware that you will go to more than just one place, and they will not want to lose out on a profitable purchase to the competition.

Therefore, contact a few more dealers, ask for their offers, and do your research online. Sit on it for a week or two to see who has the best offer for you. At this point, you should be able to sell your car at a higher price than the initial offers. Don’t wait for too long though because cars are depreciating assets after all.

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