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If you have ever bought or sold a home you have likely heard the term “Curb Appeal”.In short, curb appeal is the attractiveness of a home and property to potential buyers. It is the first impression a potential buyer will get, so you want that impression to be the best it can be.
You should also be willing to spend a little time and money to create the best impression of the car or truck you are selling. This section covers “Car Appeal”, specifically, creating the best first impression for people that come to look at your vehicle.
- Declutter. One thing you hear over and over from realtors is to declutter your house. You should do the same when selling your car. Remove all those cds from the glovebox and door storage compartment. Take those soccer cleats and kids toys inside. Get rid of that travel mug sitting in the center console.
- Make it shine! It is strongly recommended that you have your vehicle detailed, either by a professional or by yourself. If you do it yourself be sure to go to Autogeek.net for their high quality auto detailing supplies. If you are a detailing novice they even offer how to articles and instructional videos to educate customers. Get the best car care products, at the best prices with money saving car care kits from Autogeek.net. Another great supplier of car care products is ProperAutoCare.com. ProperAutoCare.com knows car care. They offer the finest car care products, great customer service and fast shipping. Vehicle detailing through a professional costs anywhere from $100 to $200. Most vehicle detailing will include vacuuming and steam cleaning of the seats and floor mats; shampooing and polishing the interior; and cleaning, polishing, and waxing the exterior. For an additional fee some detailers will perform engine detailing where the parts under the hood are also cleaned. This process takes anywhere from 4 to 8 hours, and will give your car that cared-for look. Whether you decide to do it yourself or have a professional detail your car, the return on this investment is well worth it.
- Replace lost knobs and minor broken parts. When preparing a home for sale your realtor will tell you to replace all dead light bulbs, replace shingles that need repair, and fix any small holes left in drywall by rambunctious children or clumsy adults. You should do the same with your vehicle. For $50 you will be able to replace any broken bulbs and tattered wiper blades, and buff out those small scratches on your bumpers or doors. Head to Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, AutoPartsWarehouse (also known as Parts Train), or JCWhitney for competitively priced parts. Save as much as 75% on dealer pricing on all performance and replacement auto parts from Parts Train.
- Fix those windshield chips and cracks. If you have a small windshield chip or crack it is always recommended that you get it repaired before the crack grows. If you have a windshield chip or crack you can avoid having the entire windshield replaced if the chip is smaller than a quarter, or the crack is shorter than 3 inches. There are some facilities that are even able to repair cracks of up to a foot long. There are a variety of places that can make these repairs: windshield repair facilities, new car dealers, mobile glass repair services, and general glass services. It will cost around $50 to have a chip repaired, and closer to $75 to have a crack repaired.
- Have your service records available. You may not have all maintenance and service records for your vehicle, but your service station can provide you with copies. Showing prospective buyers that all recommended maintenance has been performed and your vehicle has been serviced on a regular basis will provide them with additional peace of mind. One growing benefit of vehicle history reports is that they now include service records from many dealerships, and large servicing chain stores. Be prepared for potential buyers to ask when the last oil change was, how new the tires are, and if any major maintenance (timing belt replacement is a common issue) has recently been performed. There is also a section on CARFAX vehicle history reports called the Consumer Ratings and Comments where you can add information about your vehicle. For example, you might have changed your own oil, or performed other basic maintenance. Adding this information to the vehicle history report will help answer questions before they are asked.
- Have all open recalls repaired. According to a recent Carfax analysis, in 2009 there were over 1.4 million used cars for sale that were recalled, but not repaired. You can really give yourself an advantage over your competition if you take the time to have recalls repaired. If you are unsure whether or not your car or truck has any open recalls you can get a free Recall Check from Carfax at www.carfax.com/recall.
- Rent a car. If you are planning on taking a long trip you should consider renting a car instead of driving the vehicle you are about to sell. Renting a car will save you from the added mileage, wear and tear, and any damage caused by an accident. A vehicle rental will almost pay for itself when you consider the depreciation you will be avoiding. There are numerous rental car companies, but four of the industry leaders are Avis, Budget, Thrifty, and Dollar. Avis has great deals on rentals, often providing customers with a free day on weekly rentals. Enjoy $20 off weekly rentals at Budget Rent A Car.
Creating a great first impression of your vehicle can make a sale. Even if the mechanical aspects of the car or truck are in great condition, a cluttered car with minor broken parts will leave the impression that you did not care for the vehicle, whether or not that is warranted. Spending a little bit of time and money and completing these recommendations will go a long way towards maximizing the selling price, and minimize the time it takes to sell.