Best Strategies for Selling Used Cars in Canada

When you want to sell a used car in Canada, your goal is obviously to get the best possible price with the smoothest selling experience possible. Here are some ways to ensure that you can make selling your used car a success!

Prepare Your Car

Always start by getting your car into the best-selling condition possible. That starts with a really thorough cleaning, inside and out. While it may not technically be true that “a clean car runs better”, showing a spotless vehicle to potential buyers will make a sale that much easier. A dirty or cluttered car will make them wonder if you’ve kept it in good shape mechanically.

Small blemishes can make it difficult to get the best price for your used car. While you may not want to invest a lot of money in body work, if there are minor dents or scratches on the outside, consider getting them fixed before you list your car. You may also choose to get any holes in the seat upholstery fixed.

Gather Documentation

Never leave the paperwork to the last minute. Obviously, it’s essential for you to be able to prove to a buyer that this is your car to sell, and if anything seems amiss in your paperwork, they’re going to simply look for another car to buy. Even before you list your vehicle, make sure that you have your ownership and registration ready to go. If you can’t find documents, get replacements from the provincial authority before putting your used car up for sale.

Gather together service and maintenance records for your vehicle so that buyers can have as clear a picture as possible of the history of your car. You may also obtain a Carfax report which will include accident and service history, as well as any outstanding liens on the vehicle. This is a good way to assure a buyer that your car is worth buying. Any current warranties that will be transferred to the new owner can make a great selling point, so add them to the file.

Consider Professional Inspection

In many provinces, a safety inspection must be completed before the new owner can register a used car in their name. While you could leave that to the buyer after transferring ownership, if you can demonstrate to potential purchasers that your car is in good condition, that can certainly help you make a quick and profitable sale.

Set a Realistic Price

Before listing your used car, know how much it’s worth so that you can set a realistic selling price. While you don’t want to price it so high that potential buyers will be scared off, you also don’t want to price it too low and miss out on some extra cash.

There are many online tools available to help you figure out its market value. Make sure to take the mileage, condition, and any special features such as a premium sound system into account when setting your price. Add in a bit of a cushion for negotiations.

Take Good Photos

Take a look at online car ads and you will see a wide range of photo quality. Aim to be among the best when you list your used car for sale in Canada!

Find a location where your car can stand out from the background. That could be your own yard, or maybe a local park. Avoid cluttered garages or busy streetscapes. It doesn’t hurt to look at commercial ads for cars to see what backgrounds work well.

As well, time of day matters. The best time for taking pictures is early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky and the light is more flattering. Photographers call this the “golden hour”, and it’s worth waiting for.

When the time and place are right, take lots of pictures so that you’ll have plenty to choose from for your listing. Get some from every angle, inside and out. Include one of the odometer, and pop open the hood for shots of the engine as well. If it’s got a deluxe sound system or an extra-roomy trunk, make sure pictures of those are included.

Write an Honest but Catchy Description

When writing an ad to sell a used car in Canada, you don’t want to write a novel, but you should include an overall history of your vehicle, along with its current condition and any upgrades that you’ve made. Remember, buyers will be scanning many ads, and you want yours to stand out.

However, it’s important that you are completely honest in your ad. Don’t make any claims that you can’t back up.

Choose the Right Platform- Or Several!

There are several online platforms that someone selling a used car in Canada can use for free. Autotrader is obviously a natural fit, but more general buy-and-sell platforms such as Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace are also popular sites. There’s nothing to stop you from using as many different sites as you want, and if you want to cast your net as widely as possible to find a buyer, it’s a recommended strategy.

Practice Good Customer Service

Once you’ve listed your used car for sale, you need to be prepared to be a super salesman.

Start by answering any inquiries as promptly as possible. If you let a few days pass before replying, that buyer will probably have moved on to other, more responsive sellers.

After you’ve established communication with interested buyers, you will need to arrange a time and place for them to come and see the car, as well as take it for a test drive. Don’t try the hard sell, as that may turn them off, but rather let the condition of your vehicle speak for itself. If you took the time and effort to get it fixed up, that should be enough.

Answer all their questions fully and honestly, so that they will feel confident in making a private purchase without the same guarantees that come with buying from a dealer. Be transparent in disclosing any flaws or issues, as failure to do so could create problems for you later.

Negotiate Effectively

Private buyers are likely to haggle over the final price, so be sure that you built in some room in your asking price to be able to reduce it when negotiating the deal. Be courteous when negotiating with a buyer, but know what your minimum acceptable price is and stick to it. If your car is worth it, you shouldn’t have trouble finding someone to pay it.

Finalize the Sale Properly

Finishing a private used car sale in Canada usually consists of completing a Bill of Sale and signing over the ownership on the vehicle registration, but there are some variations from province to province, so make sure that you’ve checked with your provincial or territorial government to make sure you’re following all the requirements.

Remember that the used car market can be competitive, so these suggested strategies can increase your chances of a successful sale. However, if this all seems like a daunting task for you to take on, and your car meets our criteria, consider talking to the pros at Autozen, who specialize in selling used cars in Canada. Once you’ve cleaned up your car and gathered your paperwork, we can take care of all of the rest for you!