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What to Do Before Selling Your Classic Vehicle

Investing a few minutes into research and preparation can make a huge difference. Here are our best tips for creating a compelling listing that draws buyers and gives them good reason to contact you.

Once you're ready, you can list your classic in mere minutes.


Step 1: Do some research on price

It should come as no surprise that competitively priced vehicles sell faster than ones with uncharacteristically high or low prices. You should begin by searching for vehicles of the same year, make and model. Study the photos and descriptions carefully and make note of how your vehicle compares in terms of mileage, restoration history, engine size, and overall condition. Write down the prices of vehicles in similar condition and similarly equipped. If there are enough examples of your specific vehicle, narrow your search even further by Zip Code and a broad radius. Certain regions, such as the Desert Southwest, command higher prices than others. Within a few minutes you should have a good idea of a fair asking price for your vehicle. Even if you opt against publishing an asking price, you should have a pretty good idea of the least you're willing to sell for.

Step 2: Think about what makes your car unique

Every classic car or truck has a story, and your ideal buyer will be very interested in yours. Are you the original owner? If not, what can you remember about the previous owner? Gather any maintenance, repair or restoration receipts and be prepared to discuss what you've had done to the vehicle. Especially to prospective buyers too far away to visit personally, any evidence or documentation you can provide to back up your vehicle's story is very important. Buyers expect that well organized, meticulous records reflect a caring and diligent owner. If your vehicle shows its age, however, don't be bashful about it. Many buyers prefer a gracefully aging "survivor" vehicle with a fine patina to a fully restored car sporting showroom-fresh paint.

Step 3: Take effective photos

Take many photos showing the entire car as well as showcasing specific areas—exterior, interior, engine bay, trunk and even the undercarriage if you can. Park your car in an open gravel lot or some other wide-open area where the surroundings such as trees and parking lot lines won't be reflected in the windows and body panels. Try to take your photos when the sky is cloudy—the soft light will flatter your car by minimizing harsh shadows. Your primary image should be a front 3/4 view. Take close-up, legible shots of your odometer and identification plates. When photographing dents, cracks and other imperfections, include a ruler or some other familiar object (such as a coin) to clearly convey the size of the damage.

Step 4: Create a short video walk-around tour

They say if a picture is worth a thousand words, then surely a video is worth a thousand pictures. We agree. Grab a smartphone and record as you walk slowly around the car. Finish with a flourish by sitting behind the wheel and then starting the car. Give it a few revs and turn off the ignition. That's your video! There's no need for narration or background music because your car is the star.

Step 5: Gather your vehicle's paperwork

In order to facilitate the sale, be sure to have your vehicle's title (unless you live in a no-title state) and registration documents. If your title isn't clean, you'll need to disclose that in your listing so that your buyer doesn't mistakenly buy a vehicle that's not street-legal. Owner's manual, original window sticker and maintenance records are always appreciated by buyers.

 

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