For many, their cars are an extension of their home. Next time you’re in a traffic jam, watch people around you eating meals, applying makeup, working and having meetings. Your car is often more than just a way of getting from A to B.

To get top dollar when selling your car, you need to invest a little time and money to present it in the best possible light to potential buyers. The wear and tear on well-used vehicles can’t be reversed, but it can be minimised. When buying, there are so many options on the market that it can be confusing. Do you need a backing camera? A hybrid vehicle? Heated seats?

Here’s a quick guide with a few tips to help when buying or selling a car – to make sure you get the best deal for you.

Preparing a Vehicle for Sale

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You can’t just pop a “for sale” sign in the window of your existing car and hope for the best.

If you want to sell it for the highest possible value, follow these basic tips. First, gather your paperwork. This include service receipts and records of all kinds. Tyre purchases, maintenance and WOF records, any modifications (and certifications if needed).

Next, take your car in for service. This will help show buyers that the car has been well maintained. Make sure you have all small repairs attended to already. You should also replace worn tactile items like the steering wheel or gear lever cover.

If the car has exterior damage, have a panel beater restore it. Simply erasing minor scratches and pulling out dents can make a tremendous difference and it implies to the buyer that you really cared for your car.

Have the car washed professionally. This means an outside clean as well as a scrubbing, shampoo, and wax on the inside too!

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This will give it that new-car look and smell. Using fabric softener in the upholstery shampoo gives your car a nice fresh scent, something that might be needed if you are a smoker or have pets that travel in the car.

When Buying Consider Used vs. New

Maybe you ‘need’ the latest technology or maybe you’re after a fantastic second-hand deal. Each avenue has its own drawbacks and benefits.

When buying a brand new (as opposed to used) car, you’re likely to get a more energy efficient model, and ultimately save on petrol with better mileage. You’ll also be able to relax knowing that you are receiving the benefits of more recent safety and environmental features, many of which don’t exist in older cars.

You also get peace of mind knowing it’s brand new with a motor plan and warranty from the manufacturer. Generally, this means less maintenance in the years to come.

However, a new car means you’re paying a higher price and the disheartening 50% drop in value the second you drive it off the lot!

So, what about used cars? Usually, you’ll have a wider selection of vehicles since you can find models from many different years. They’re generally going to be priced better too, which is great for tight budgets, and typically there is some room for negotiation.

However, you won’t always know what you’re getting until much later. There is generally no warranty or motor plan that will be transferred to you and the extra shiny features or safety options simply won’t come standard. The secret? Be sure you ask the seller a lot of questions to help you make the right decision. Get a vehicle inspection- it’s worth paying for if it saves you thousands in repair costs.

Determine the Cars Real Value

Whether buying or selling, you need to know the value of a car before proceeding with a transaction. Keep in mind that a car depreciates in value with each year it’s on the road. Knowing its value will help with insurance estimates. If you are after an insurance quote visit AMI Insurance.
When buying a used car, research TradeMe or Turners for similar models, mileage and safety features. This will help you ascertain the right market value, so you can make the right decision when you go into the second-hand car market looking for your next ride.