I had a blue Toyota Camry SX 1994 model. It was a trusty old car, which took me from Point A to Point B. Since we were expecting a child, my wife and I had to re-evaluate our transportation to accommodate our newborn and our, then, 13-year-old daughter. Even though the car would be big enough to accommodate the four of us, we still wanted to upgrade to something bigger and more recent, so selling it (to upgrade) was the only option for us.
I wanted to make sure that we maximize the resale value of our car, so I wanted to share with you the step-by-step process we did in order to get the best bang for our buck (car).
I researched online to find what the current value of the car is. I saw the price range from $901 to $2,100 from both dealerships and private sellers. The actual book value of the car is also priced at $1,301. This gives me an idea of what the actual price is and how low or how high I can start to give some leeway for negotiation. I also showed the car to a dealership and they were only willing to offer me $235 for the car. I left promptly right after.
I had always kept the car cleaned by cleaning it with a vacuum cleaner at least twice a month and also washing the car, twice a month. I’m so glad that I have kept it that way and maintained it from the start as I could imagine that it probably wouldn’t be at its clean state as it is if I did not, over time. I spent about $60 to get the car detailed and this made the car shinier and the paint came out brighter.
If I had gone to the car wash to get the car cleaned fortnightly at a cost of $8 each time, it would have cost me a total of $208 per year. Over 20 years, the total would have been a staggering $4,160. This is the total amount I saved having cleaned the car on my own.
3. Log book
I used the car a few times for work and have also kept a log book since I bought it. This is something I learned to do (and maintain) after having sold my previous car with log books. Basically, my previous buyer was contemplating on which car to purchase. Though, both cars had roughly the same mileage and my car was slightly higher priced than the other – the buyer purchased my car because it had log books recorded.
4. Service / Maintenance
I know that getting the car serviced is one of the most expensive in terms of car expenses (apart from gas). At the start it was a little expensive for us but after realizing one of our friends who was fixing up an old car to create a show car (and enjoyed servicing cars) – I asked him if he could service ours. He agreed and only charged us the cost for parts. This helped us saved a lot of money over time. At roughly $400 service cost every 6 months this helped us save $800 per year. Over 10 years since having our friend service our car, I realized that we had saved $8,000.
It was time to sell our beloved car. So I went online to advertise to different places. This included online places such as Craigslist, free classified ad sites, universities, community billboards, shopping centre billboards and even food court areas with community billboards on it. We had calls right away from Craigslist and it turns out that the buyer had also seen our ad on their university billboard. I considered advertising on the newspaper and glad I didn’t. Otherwise, it would’ve cost me an extra $110 for a 3-line ad over the weekend.
The buyer tested the car, inspected, checked and drove it. Our negotiations started at around $1,900. After haggling and negotiating back and forth we agreed on a price of $1,150. Remember, the dealership I talked to earlier was only willing to pay $235 for the car and I spent an extra $60.00 for detailing the car. That is $295 in total, basing it on initial offer plus cost of detail.
I also realized that, over time, I had saved a total of $12,270 for cleaning costs, service and maintenance and advertising charges — and I am now $855 better off from the initial offer, simply because I had taken the initiative to do the steps outlined as above.
We have since purchased a new car and needless to say, my wife was happy that we now have a more recent and decent sized car for our growing family. As they say, happy wife, happy life.