Itâ€™s a sad fact of life that all but the rarest and most exotic cars depreciate. But for many of us itâ€™s only when we come to sell that we start to think about that drop in value and how to still get the best price for our vehicle.
With the used car market growing and new car sales falling, itâ€™s actually a good time for sellers, especially those who have done the work to protect their carâ€™s value.
Some things such as age canâ€™t be changed but there are steps you can take even as youâ€™re buying your next car to make sure you get the biggest return when itâ€™s time to sell.
Read more:Â MOT changes: half of drivers still in the dark
Vik Barodia, head of motors at online marketplace Gumtree, says: â€œThereâ€™s no denying that cars are depreciating assets, but there are several things we can all do to preserve value, so you can get the best return when itâ€™s time to sell.â€
With that in mind here are Vikâ€™s top tips for maximising your used carâ€™s value:
Think before you buy
When purchasing any vehicle, itâ€™s worth considering what cars are in high demand. Some cars have reputations for being more reliable than others, leading to a higher sale price. Do your research and compare the market before making any purchasing decisions.
In the first five years of your vehicleâ€™s life, try and get it serviced at a franchise dealership to help protect its value. Non-franchise dealers can do the work but many buyers like the â€œofficialâ€ look of a manufacturerâ€™s stamp. After that, try and use respectable garages or brand specialists, making sure that all your records are fully up to date, and your service book is stamped up at the correct intervals. It shows you care and makes a huge difference at the end of the day.
Donâ€™t put off work
When it comes to getting a MoT test, always fix any advisories (now classified as minor faults) immediately as these can deteriorate over time and affect your resale value. Make sure when itâ€™s time to sell, all issues are repaired and youâ€™re not trying to offload your vehicle when the fault warning lights are on.
If you need repairs to the bodywork of your car, itâ€™s important to sort it out straight away. While most cars arenâ€™t perfect, scratches and scrapes can lead to lasting damage. Find a good mobile paint repairing company to do the work. Paint matching and repair technology has come a long way recently, so this is a cost-effective way of getting your car back to near-excellent condition.
Keep it clean
It may sound obvious but remember to wash your car and keep the inside of it clean. If you can, once a year get your car professionally cleaned to help restore it to its original condition.
Options are not for everyone
When buying a used car, think about all the optional extras. You will pay more for extras that are desirable â€“ navigation, leather and a panoramic roof for example. However, donâ€™t be fooled into paying extra for other options, and if you have them, donâ€™t expect to justify a higher price when you sell. Even if you like the options are liked by you, they may not be the next ownerâ€™s taste.
Get an inspection
If you really want top money for your car, consider getting a pre-purchase inspection report done. These reports will identify all the issues that will affect the value of your car. You can then choose to address the major items and demonstrate this to potential buyers.
Get your advert right
Any advert will work best when you make choosing and buying easy and hassle-free. So be accurate with your location and description. Be honest about the good points and the bad and ask a fair price that reflects the condition of your vehicle. If youâ€™re selling online, Gumtree has a guide to creating a great advert.