How is Selling Classic Cars Different From Selling New Ones?

Classic cars are the crème-de-la-crème of the auto industry. They offer unmatched style and the chance to own a real piece of history. Still, many classic car enthusiasts decide to part with their cars for a variety of reasons. They do so to liquidate their assets, gather necessary funds for a new car purchase, or just because they’re ready to focus their efforts elsewhere.

Whatever your reasons are for wanting to sell a classic car, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the process before proceeding. Below, you’ll find everything that you need to know about putting your classic car on the market.

The process of selling new cars is relatively simple. There are multiple vendors you can visit to do so, including car lots, online marketplaces, and private buyers. Classic cars can be listed in similar places. However, the market for them is much more niche.

Even as people expect to buy new cars less often, almost everyone needs one eventually. However, classic automobiles don’t offer the same widely-appreciated utility their newer counterparts do. This means when selling a classic car, you’re going to need to find other enthusiasts who value your automobile based on its classic style, history, and the passion they have for its brand or model.

Given that, you may have to widen the net you cast when searching for buyers. Unlike with newer cars, your focus when selling a classic one shouldn’t be placed solely on local options. Instead, utilize online resources that allow you to show off your classic car to interested parties across the country.

Classic car buyers are often thought of as pickier than those who purchase new cars. On the positive side, if your classic car matches a buyer’s preferences, they could be willing to do just about anything to purchase it. The bad news is that you may be searching through a smaller field of potentially interested buyers while selling a classic car.

5 Things to consider before selling your classic car

Selling a classic car isn’t always easy. That’s why it’s important to keep the following things in mind before selling yours:
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1. Well-maintained classic cars sell at a higher price

This may seem somewhat obvious to you, but it’s difficult to overstate its importance. Classic cars that look good inside and out consistently do better than ones that don’t. Before selling your car, make sure that you’ve got it looking its absolute best. Your preparation process here should include a visit to the mechanic to check for interior issues and a visit to a car detailing service at minimum.

2. Pictures Sell Cars

One of the biggest mistakes that classic car sellers make is neglecting to prioritize their car’s pictures. Your biggest pool of potential buyers exists on the internet. Your car listing is competing with thousands of others for their attention. Posting high-quality, varied pictures of your classic car is one of the most important things you can do.

3. Working From a Plan is Important

The classic car marketplace is a highly competitive one. Making your listing stand out requires coming up with a strong, carefully-considered marketing plan. You should spend thinking about how you’re going to market your car before creating any listings. What is your angle? What will make people care about your classic car? These are just two of the big questions you should be asking yourself before getting started with your marketing process.

4. There are Two Ways to Sell Classic Cars

You can either sell your car as one that runs or one that doesn’t run. Your decision here will have a big impact on how you proceed throughout the sales process. If you market your car as one that runs, then buyers are going to expect it to run well. If yours doesn’t, the price of your classic car could take a big dip.

The other option is to sell your classic car as one that doesn’t run. This has its own benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, you won’t have to worry about fixing every little issue that arises. On the negative, you definitely won’t receive the value for your automobile that you would from selling a running car.

5. Know When it’s Time to Stop

Classic car enthusiasts are passionate. This often makes them want to ensure that everything about their automobile is perfect before putting it on the marketplace. Although this mindset is part of what makes owning classic cars special, it can quickly get out of hand.

There are dozens upon dozens of tiny projects you could work on to fine-tune your car. At some point, you’ll have to put those aside and make a final decision to list your classic car. Try and do this before you’ve eaten into your profits too much.

Steps to selling classic cars in any state

The classic car sales process is fairly similar from state to state. Here’s a handy list you can follow to make sure you’ve taken care of everything you need to before, during, and after you list your car on the marketplace.

1. Prepare Your Car to Be Sold

This is going to be the toughest step in your sales process. There are many different tasks to take care of and documents to gather here. First, you’re going to want to take your classic car to a mechanic so they can fix any minor issues it may have.

Letting these issues stick around throughout the sales process could lower the price that your buyers’ are willing to pay.

Next, you’re going to want to prepare your classic car cosmetically. This may involve painting, cleaning, and detailing. Doing this will help to make the pictures you take of your car stand out even more.

Finally, you should also gather any spare parts and paperwork that go with the car. Hopefully you have detailed records for any work that’s been done to it. Having these can really impress buyers and make them feel more confident about purchasing your classic car.

2. Set a Target Price

The next step in the classic car sales process is to figure out your target price. Ideally, you’ll want to come up with a range here with a bottom-line price that you’re comfortable with.

The best way to figure out your car’s target price is to look at what other buyers have paid for similar classic cars. However, be careful not to rely on outdated information, as prices could have changed significantly during your car’s lifespan.

3. Prepare Your Marketing Plan

Having a strong marketing plan is a must when selling a classic car. You need to figure out how to make your car stand out among a sea of other options. Doing this will require you to identify where, how, and when a sale will happen.

You’ll also have to think about what’s needed to make a sale happen. This is when you should spend time looking at the pros and cons of listing your car in online and print publications, as well as with auction houses and brokers.

4. Enact Your Marketing Plan

Once you’ve figured out a marketing plan, it’s time to put it into action. Take out ads for your car, list it in the publications you’ve decided on, and be considerate of the language and pictures you use to maximize your car’s appeal.

5. Close the Sale

Closing the sale of your classic car will require interfacing with a wide variety of interested parties. You should give prompt and detailed answers to any questions that buyers may ask. Additionally, it’s important to be available to buyers who wish to see your car in person or who want to take it on a test drive. All of these things can help you turn an interested party into a buyer who’s ready to purchase your car.

6. Get Paid

Finally, finish the process of selling your classic car by getting paid. Think about how you want to receive the buyer’s funds. If the car is sold online, you may want to use a service like PayPal, which makes it easy to send money back and forth quickly. Or, maybe you want the buyer to send you a direct deposit or wire transfer. Regardless of how you want to be paid, this is the best part of the car selling process. Enjoy it!
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PrivateAuto can help

Looking for some help with your classic car sales process? If so, consider using PrivateAuto. We make the entire sales process easier. You can advertise with us to attract local buyers, and accept, reject, or modify their offers with ease. We also simplify the process of meeting with a buyer and closing the sale.

With PrivateAuto, your sales process will be much less stressful. We provide a simple solution to sell your classic car on your own and keep more money in your pocket.