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Does Your Used Car Have Curb Appeal?

Real estate agents are fond of using the term “curb appeal” to explain to homeowners how important it is for them to have a home that offers a positive first impression to people when they pull up. That term can also be applied to cars as any vehicle that looks sharp at first glance will gain a more thorough inspection from a potential owner.

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How can you ensure that your car rates a second glance leading to a possible purchase? There are several things you can and must do — together these will make your vehicle much more marketable:

Detail It — You can detail a car yourself or take it to a professional who will do the work for you. Expect to pay at least $100 for someone else to do a job that you can do yourself. But, know this: detailing involves much more than washing and waxing your car. You’ll need to work on the finer details of your car which means cleaning and shining wheel spokes; touching up paint; repairing holes in the carpeting; bringing windows to a polished shine; and ensuring that every nook, crevice and cranny of your vehicle is like new spray in bedliner.

Dress It — Are there certain things you can put on or in your car that would enhance its visual appeal? A car bra can look great with a sporty model; running lights can enhance a 4×4; a bedliner may look great in your truck’s bed; new tires or wheels can dress to impress. Consider how the buyer may view your car — she may like it as is or be attracted to the upgraded audio system you installed just before putting the vehicle on the market.

Clean out the Trunk — What is in your trunk? Chances are, there is a lot more in your trunk then what needs to be there. Check your spare — is it full inflated and in good condition? Are the tire iron and jack in place? Beyond these items, your trunk should be empty. Okay, if it is winter time, a few items such as a brush, shovel and road salt or sand are fine. Otherwise, remove these things before the buyer checks it.

Lift up the Hood — A dirty engine can be a downer, something that buyers who were initially attracted to your car will soon see. Consider cleaning the plastic cover over the engine, to remove grease, dirt and grime. Gently brush off hoses, wipe off the battery and carefully vacuum around crevices, removing leaves, twigs and dirt.

Once your car is spic ‘n span, you’ll be ready to market it. Avoid leaving your car out in direct sunlight or under trees where sap, leaves, bird poop and other residue can quickly undo all of the work you just completed.

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