Driving a sports car is great for an adrenaline rush, so it should come as no surprise that there are tons of drivers who preferentially purchase these powerful machines. Few drivers want to hold on to the same car forever, though. Not only can lifestyle changes impede those pleasant hours out on the open road, but even drivers who absolutely love their cars may find that they need to make the occasional upgrade.
Unlike hitting the open road, selling a Ferrari or another popular sports car can wind up being quite a hassle. There are a lot of buyers out there, but few will offer market rates. Add to this unfortunate truth the fact that there are at least as many scammers out there as there are legitimate buyers and drivers often find themselves overwhelmed.
Don’t just settle for trade-in value at a local dealership and exercise extreme caution if choosing to sell to a private buyer. A quick sale is important, but the safety of the driver and his or her vehicle is essential. Instead of resorting to questionable practices, read on to find eight helpful tips for facilitating a safe sale and getting what the car is worth.
Tip #1: Avoid Dealers
The vast majority of dealers aren’t looking to pay any reasonable amount of cash for even the best-maintained and highest-quality sports car. They’re in the business of selling cars, not helping their customers make money. Plus, most sports car dealerships specialize in just one or two popular brands, making it even harder to find one that will offer a fair price.
Even drivers who are looking to upgrade have better options than trading in their sports cars to dealerships. Skeptical drivers need only call around to confirm that this is not the way to go.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Overeager
One popular alternative to selling to dealers is finding a private buyer. Those who go this route need to be cautious not to become overeager about making a sale, as this will make them more prone to being scammed.
The story is always the same. Someone lists a sports car online and hears from a potential buyer almost immediately with no questions asked. He or she seems trustworthy, offers to put down a down payment, drives away with a new car, and then drivers never hear from the buyer again.
The vast majority of personal sales take a long time to finalize. Most serious buyers have a lot of questions and few will offer asking price. Don’t fall for scams.
Tip #3: Know What It’s Worth
Make a point of finding out what the car is worth. This will depend on what condition it is in, how old it is, and how rare it is. Kelly Blue Book provides a good place to start but it’s also worth doing some extra leg work.
It’s perfectly fine to request multiple bids from different dealers or other parties prior to choosing who to work with. Keep in mind that sellers who opt to work with a reputable expert instead of selling to a random stranger off the internet will be more likely to wind up getting what their cars are worth.
Tip #4: Prepare the Car
One sure-fire way to wind up getting low-ball offers is to sell a dirty or neglected car. Don’t just clean up any obvious mess. Prepare the car and try to return it to a condition as similar to mint condition as possible.
Make a point of attending to small jobs prior to arranging test drives. If the parts are inexpensive, it’s often worth spending a little money to raise the car’s value. Remove any customizations, as well, as they will likely reduce the car’s value.
Tip #5: Prepare Documents
In an ideal world, all drivers would save their documentation religiously. Those who have done so should prepare to offer potential buyers a service history of the car. Just put these documents together and bring them along when meeting up with a buyer.
Tip #6: Check Insurance Prior to Test Drives
Don’t let an uninsured driver take the car out for a test drive. If the buyer doesn’t have insurance or, even worse, doesn’t have a license, ask him or her to sit in the passenger seat and take the car out for a drive. This will give him or her the chance to see how it runs and drives without risking liability issues.
Never let a potential buyer take the car out without riding along. While allowing someone to take a vehicle out for a test drive is a fair and honest way to make sure that he or she knows what to expect when driving the car, there’s no reason he or she should need to drive it alone.
Tip #7: Avoid Owner-to-Owner Financing
Buyers who can’t afford to pay for the vehicle outright should make their own arrangements for financing through a bank or another lender. Owner financing is the best way to complicate the sale and potentially wind up with a huge monetary loss. Ideally, sellers will find a buyer able to pay for the vehicle outright and this will not be an issue.
Tip #8: Be Honest
No matter who winds up placing an offer on the car, the dealer or private buyer has a right to know what he or she should expect from the car. Offer a detailed description and be upfront about any known issues.
It may be tempting to gloss over the negatives, hoping to attract more buyers. This is almost always a waste of time. If the car looks great in photos and has a stellar description, it may attract more buyers but few will wind up placing an offer if it doesn’t live up to their expectations when they show up for a test drive.
The Bottom Line
Selling any used car can be a hassle. A luxury sports car is an investment and should provide a reasonable return on investment. With a little extra caution, it’s perfectly possible to get what a car is worth without having to risk being scammed.
The best way to go is always to find a reputable buyer who will pay cash and understand the true worth of the car. Experts will be better able to evaluate a sports car’s value, condition, and potential accurately and most of the time, they’ll offer much better deals than dealerships that focus primarily on taking trade-ins.
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