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Selling a car can be a daunting task if you’re unprepared.

If you’re not careful, a whole host of problems can crop up, lowering the value or your car and/or making it more difficult to sell.

Thankfully, there are steps you can take to improve your prospects of selling the car and getting the best possible price for it. Here are five of them:

See all of Budget Direct’s car-buying guides

Step 1 — Do your research

If you don’t take the time to research your car and its market value, you could potentially end up selling it for hundreds or thousands of dollars less that it’s worth.

Go online to find out what other sellers are asking for cars of the same make, model, age and mileage as yours.

Then, whether you sell your car privately or through a dealer, you’ll know what price you can reasonably expect to get for it.

Step 2 — Order a mechanical inspection

If a prospective buyer takes your car for a test drive, you don’t want it to have trouble starting, make strange noises or belch smoke, for example.

If your car has any noticeable defects, take it to a licenced mechanic for a thorough inspection.

Ask the mechanic to address any problems they encounter and keep a copy of the receipt.

Step 3 — Get your vehicle detailed

Car detailing involves thoroughly cleaning, restoring and finishing a vehicle’s interior and exterior.

This cosmetic procedure is designed to make a vehicle look the best it can — almost like new.

By getting your car professionally detailed, you’ll increase its appeal to prospective buyers.

The aim is to achieve an increase in the sale price that more than offsets the cost of the detailing.

Step 4 — Keep records

At this point, you’ve had your vehicle mechanically inspected and professionally detailed.

But none of this will mean much if you don’t have proof of it!

To this end, you should keep copies of receipts of all the work that’s been done on your car.

Transparency not only builds trust between you and prospective buyers, it can also increase your selling price.

Also keep records of your car’s service history and any insurance claims you’ve made.

Step 5 — Be willing to negotiate

Set a price for your car that reflects its market value and be prepared to negotiate with prospective buyers.

Go into the negotiations knowing the minimum price you’re willing to accept but with the goal of getting the best price possible.

If you’re trading in your car at a dealership, don’t accept their first offer, which is likely to be a low-ball one.

Make a counter-offer that is in or around your asking price. If the dealership’s final offer isn’t reasonable, go elsewhere.

By investing a little time and money preparing your car for sale, you’ll improve the odds of a quick disposal at a pleasing price.

See all of Budget Direct’s car-buying guides