Top tips to get your car sale-ready
It’s a time of year when a great many of us are thinking of trading in or trading up, but to make sure you’re getting the best value for money, you need to make sure that the car you’re moving on from is ready to move on, so to speak. In other words, here are some hints and tips for helping you get the best bang for your resale buck…
1. Clean it. No, really — clean it lots. There is nothing that looks worse than a dirty car, inside and out, and nothing that improves the looks of a car so quickly and so affordably as giving it a good clean. Obviously this is the sort of thing that you can do on your own driveway with a bucket, sponge and vacuum cleaner, but to be honest, you might be better off leaving this one to the pros. A good valet will cost around €40, but it ensures that your car will be spotless inside and out, and if it’s the day you’re getting the car assessed for a trade-in, or when a prospective buyer is coming round to see it, then you’ll get that €40 back several times over. Don’t forget to keep it cleaned and tidy inside on successive days if you have a number of people lined up to view it.
2. Make sure the paperwork is in order, and make sure you have everything to hand. Put yourself in the mind of a prospective buyer. If you were on the other side of the deal, what would you want to see? You’d want to see a thick sheaf of service records, of receipts for maintenance and repairs, tyres and tax and you’d want the car’s ownership document — the registration certificate, complete with the Part B form that must be filled in and sent to Shannon on foot of a sale. Be ready to produce any document related to the car, and don’t let yourself get caught searching through random drawers looking for stuff.
3. Make sure the car is in good condition. Service book all up to date? Great, now what about the car itself. Any dents, dings or big scratches? Probably worth having them looked at; again probably best to leave it to a professional. Small stone-chips etc. are probably unlikely to be an issue if the rest of the car is in good fettle, but no harm in getting them touched up. Check the interior to make sure there are no rips in fabric, or loose panels of trim dangling down and make sure all of the vehicle’s keys are present and correct. Any blown bulbs should be replaced and check the tyres to make sure that at the very least they have legal tread depth and that they’re inflated to the correct pressure. Make sure oil, brake fluid and power steering fluid are all topped up and at their correct levels too, because those are areas any self-respecting buyer will check too.
4. If the NCT is up soon on the car, consider booking in for an early test as it’s no harm at all to be able to dangle a freshly-minted NCT certificate in front of a buyer’s eyes. You can have your car inspected and passed up to 90 days before the test is officially due, so keep that in mind.
5. It could be worth having your own history check done with a service such as Cartell.ie. While many buyers these days check a car’s history as a matter of course, it’s no bad thing to be able to produce your own report to show that the car has a clean bill of health. On that subject, if possible try to make sure that any outstanding finance payments owing on the car have been cleared as that’s a major worry for many buyers.
6. Finally, find a nice clean background against which to take lots of photos of your car for your Carzone advert. Remember buyers like to see crisp, clear photos (any decent smartphone, with a bit of practice, can take perfectly good shots) and they’ll want to see things such as the back seats, the boot and a close up of the instrument panel to show the mileage.
Best of luck out there!