While new car registrations have broken records this year, the used car market is also performing very well. After all, the majority of new car sales generate a part-exchange vehicle ripe for savvy shoppers who are looking for a bargain.
When it comes to buying a used car, there are a few key things to look out for. You can read our guide here, as well as listening to our expert panel of dealers as they guide you through the car buying process.
However, just as important is what you do with your car while you are driving it to ensure it has the maximum resale value when you come to part ways.
There are all sorts of things that can affect the price you achieve when you sell your car, from colour, condition and mileage, through to paperwork, where you are in the country, the time of year and what’s in fashion when it comes to manufacturers and models.
Here we talk you through our five top tips to maximise your resale value, but remember to check our ‘Ask an Expert’ page for hints and advice from Motors.co.uk’s friendly dealer partners.
1. Keep your files in order
Most dealers will tell you that provenance is everything. The more paperwork you have to prove where your car has been, the better. While some buyers are not too fussy so long as you have the minimum legal paperwork like the V5 (logbook) and MOT history, there are others who want to see a receipt for every piece of work completed or tyre purchased since the car first hit the roads. Keeping your files in order will make it easy to pull all of this information together when you come to sell.
2. Maintain a regular service history
With the pressures of the cost of living, regular servicing has understandably slipped off the radar for some car owners. Indeed, it isn’t a legal requirement and if your car seems to be running well then it can seem like an unnecessary expense.
However, the reasons for keeping to the manufacturer schedule are twofold. Firstly, regular maintenance is almost always cheaper than having to fork out for an unexpected engine or brake failure. The saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ certainly applies here.
Secondly, being able to show a history of manufacturer-approved servicing can often add to the resale value, as it shows that you cared about the vehicle and have maintained its warranty. This often helps to overcome the mistrust some buyers have when choosing a car.
3. Invest in protection
For most of us, our car is a vehicle which serves many purposes and which has to deal with everything that the city, countryside, weather and family members have to throw at it. From suitcases to scratchy branches, motorway grit to dirty shoes, both the inside and outside of your car are regularly put to the test.
However, from door edge protectors to seat covers, boot liners to paint protection, there are plenty of products out there to help keep your car in tip top condition. You can read our thoughts on managing the impact of children on your pride and joy in our guide here [insert link].
4. Clean and tidy is the name of the game
It often seems like a bit of a chore, but regular washing, waxing and polishing of your car not only keeps it looking clean and shiny, but can also maintain the condition of the paintwork, prevent rust and stop flaking.
Of course, it goes without saying but you should invest in a proper clean – inside and out – before showing your car off to a prospective buyer. This is just as important for a dealer as a private buyer, as a clean and tidy car shows that you’ve cared for the vehicle and have nothing to hide.
5. Quirky isn’t always desirable
Finally, while sporty decals, fluffy dice and headlight eyelashes can all add a bit of personality while you are enjoying your car, when it comes to selling, not everyone will have the same taste!
To meet the demands of the widest possible buyer base and ensure you reach the maximum resale value, it pays to do a bit of research on sites like Motors.co.uk to see what is selling. Our What’s Hot? feature can really help: http://www.motors.co.uk/whatshot
Likewise, when you are choosing your car in the first place, it is always worth considering whether there is someone else out there who will want, for example, a bright pink finish with a lime green interior. If the answer is probably not, then it might make more sense to stick with the more traditional options!