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Selling Guide > 7. Adding Value to your car

'With less buyers in the current economic climate, it's even more important to make your car stand out!'

7. Adding Value to your car

"Whatever you do, get any minor repairs to paint and trim done. Repairs can be done at the point of sale and can represent excellent value for money. Typically expect to get back around three times [what you spend on repairs in resale value]." Simon Henstock - Director British Car Auctions

Obviously, your car will command a higher price and be easier to sell if it looks to be in good condition. A quick look in a price guide such as Parker's guide will show you that there can be a huge difference in value between a car of poor condition and a car in very good condition. Sometimes this difference can run into many hundreds or even thousands of pounds, so it is often worth spending some money on repairs as this equates to an investment and not an expense. How much you invest, all depends on how much the car will be worth at the end, you don't want to spend more than the car is worth. But it is worth spending £500 if you can raise the vehicles value by £1000.

General maintenance
   Very little can be done about high mileage, indeed it is illegal to try, but the car should be roadworthy with plenty of tread on the tires and a fairly recent service.
And don't forget the details! Go for a drive and listen to your car… there may well be squeaks and rattles that you have gotten used to, but may be off-putting to a potential buyer. These may be easy to remedy by nothing more than tightening a screw on a door handle or applying some oil to the hinge on your clutch pedal.
Check that all your lights are working, your spare wheel is inflated and that the tool kit is intact and neatly stored.
A fault free and fully serviced vehicle is far more desirable than one requiring attention, and a canny buyer will use even small faults as a lever to knock you down on price.

General appearance
   Remove all your personal possessions from the car and make sure it is clean and polished. The general appearance of the car is probably the single most important selling point. If you were to trade your car to a dealer as-is, the first thing they would do is have it valeted, raising the value before selling it on. The value added by professional valeting is far more than the cost of the service. As well as just cleaning your car, professional valeters can remove stains and odours from interiors, restore faded and dull paintwork and plastic trim, and offer Smart Repair services. You will almost certainly find that any potential buy will want to look under the bonnet, so we recommend that you steam clean the engine.

"Vendors need to consider the effect that damage can have on the value of a vehicle -- Minor accident damage could affect the value by up to £250 per panel." Mike Pilkington, managing director of Manheim Auctions and Remarketing

Stone chips, scratches and scuffs
   It is almost impossible to avoid stone chips on your paintwork, and although small, can be highly visible especially on cars with dark coloured paintwork. These and light scratches can be made to be a lot less obvious by touching in with an artists brush, greatly enhancing the appearance of your car.
Deeper scratches and scuffs can now be repaired using special techniques, paints and lacquers, without the need for expensive body shop repairs.

   The large curved bodywork of modern cars is exceptionally good at showing off the kind of dents we all acquire from shopping trolleys and car parks. As long as the paintwork is unbroken, these dents can be removed by means of 'Paintless dent removal' at a mere fraction of the cost of filling and repainting, making this highly skilled service very worthwhile for cars which have small dents but are otherwise flawless.

   Many people neglect their wheels, accepting that most cars have rims, which have scrapes from hitting curb stones. But plastic wheel trims are inexpensive to replace, with factory originals or, even cheaper custom trims. Many modern cars have alloy wheels, and while it may cost hundreds of pounds just to replace a single wheel, they can often be repaired and refinished for a fraction of that cost.
Valeting can remove brake dust from wheels with special acids and restore the UV and ozone protectors in the rubber, which makes your tires black. Restoring the condition of your wheels and tires is probably the most effective way to make a dramatic improvement to your cars appearance.

Upholstery and trim
   Valeting will leave your cars interior clean and spotless, but damage to upholstery, carpets, headlining or plastic trim will make your car look tatty and significantly lower the value. Luckily there are smart repair techniques for dealing with most interior problems from tears and cigarette burns in seats to faded carpet, windscreen chips to holes in dashboards from mobile phone holders.

Ask the professionals
   If you are confused about what to have done, what needs doing, or how to go about getting it done, then why not come and see us at Clean Image. We give a free pre-appraisal and can advice you of the best ways to increase the value of your car. We are a one-stop-shop for car care and offer a complete range of valeting and smart repair services so you can get all the work done in the one place. You can drop in any time for a chat.

Serious problems!
   All of the above are relatively inexpensive and for all but the cheapest and oldest cars will be cost effective, and that's why they call it 'Smart Repair'. But more serious damage may require expensive replacements and/or body shop repairs. It will pay to shop around for the best prices and to ask the advice of professionals before undertaking any major work; it may not be worthwhile.
Although it is beyond the scope of this guide to offer legal advice, you should be warned that selling a car which is un-roadworthy or dangerous may have legal implications, as it would be to advertise your car in a misleading or untruthful way.

Sooner rather than later
   Every week, we have customers who are selling their cars come to us for the services mentioned above, because they have a buyer who has agreed to purchase their vehicle on condition they get this work done first! They may be loosing out… It's far better to have repairs made before putting you car on the market, therefore being able to demand a higher asking price, than accepting lower bids and finding yourself paying for the repairs anyway.

HPI as a selling point
Smart buyers will want to HPI your car to make sure it is not stolen or been in a major accident. Why wait for a potential customer to HPI your car when you can do it yourself and take the benefits with your name on it. Put this in your advert as a selling point.


Click here to HPI


How to deal with buyers


DannyDanny Argent ~ 20/11/03

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