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Common Mistakes When Selling or Trading to a Dealer

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While selling or trading in your car to a dealer is easily the fastest way to get rid of it, make sure you’re prepared before you get to the dealership. Here are some common mistakes consumers make:

1. Being unrealistic about your car’s value
Do your research before you show up at the dealership. Check out Black Book values on Cars.com and see how much others are asking for cars like yours in Cars.com listings (and not just the same make and model, but ones with similar age, miles and condition). This will make deal-making easier and will limit your frustrations.

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2. Forgetting the title
The title is the document that shows you are the clear owner of the vehicle. This is issued by the state where you purchased the car. If you still owe money on your car, your loan provider holds the title to it, and it can take days to get that all settled. So if you’re looking for cash right now, you need to be done paying for your car and make sure you have the title with you.

3. Not having the right people there
If your parent/significant other/child/whoever is listed on the title of the car along with you, that person needs to sign the title over to the dealer, as well. Without their signature, nothing is going to happen.

4. Forgetting service records
If you’ve maintained your car, that’s worth something. Make sure you bring any and all records that show you’ve kept up with required maintenance. Although some vehicle history reports include that information, reporting by service shops can be spotty. Be proactive, and it may pay off for you.

5. Forgetting important accessories
Car dealers know that shoppers like having all the key fobs for their new car, and they also like having the original owner’s manual and other items that came with the new car. Bring these with you when you’re ready to sell it to a dealer and you’ll increase the car’s value.

6. Not cleaning your car
While many dealers say they can see through dirt, impressions matter. Make sure you’ve washed the car, inside and out, and removed all your personal detritus before arriving at the dealer. It will also show you’re serious about selling.

7. Smoking in the car
The smell can be pervasive, and some dealers simply refuse to consider buying cars that are aromatic. They say it turns away too many potential shoppers.

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