You got a tune-up, listed your used car online, and printed a Bill of Sale – so why aren’t buyers knocking on your door asking for a test drive?

Beyond your car’s physical condition and age, there may be other factors putting the brakes on your sale.

1. Environment

Climate and season are the most common deal breakers when it comes to selling a used vehicle. During winter, buyers generally want an SUV or truck with 4-Wheel Drive because of icy road conditions. When temperatures increase, demand for sports cars and compact vehicles naturally rise with the weather.

This of course varies with your regional climate. While a convertible may be in sold all year round in California, it has little value in New York during the winter holidays. Time your sale according to your regional and seasonal buying trends. If you are in a seasonal climate zone and selling your compact car in December, try waiting until spring for demand to rebound.

2. Fuel Prices

Another factor in your sale may be attributed to the cost of fuel. Though it feels like we’ve become immune to fluctuating prices, data shows that when fuel prices increase, truck sales decrease. This means if fuel prices spike again, circa 2008, buyers will be less interested in your pickup truck and more in the market for a hybrid.

3. Trends

Evolving economic and lifestyle trends also affect used car sales. For instance, when Hummers were first introduced, the Humvee-inspired model had appeal because it was bold and new. Now, demand for Hummers have dipped largely due their size, inconclusive safety data and poor fuel economy – a direct conflict with today’s trends of environmental living.

No one has an easy time predicting trends. Just keep in mind that buyers tend to favor safe, reliable and traditional models when purchasing a used vehicle. Briefly popular and impractical automobiles experience a faster decline in resale value.

4. Vehicle Price

Your asking price may be turning off potential buyers. Research how much similar vehicles are going for or get your car appraised to determine its current value. Popular models, such as the Honda Civic, are usually competitive and you may need to set your price lower to reflect the supply.

5. Listing

If you have listed your vehicle when it makes sense to do so and you still aren’t seeing much interest, there may be issues with your advertisement. Buyers want full disclosure on your vehicle’s condition, including maintenance history, current repairs (if applicable), mileage and so forth. Consider rewriting your ad, paying special attention to proper spelling and grammar. For ideas on how to phrase your vehicle’s features, research its description on the brand website.

Photos will affect whether a buyer notices your ad. Make sure you have high quality photos of both the interior and exterior of your vehicle.

Lastly, list your vehicle in a variety of formats. Online classifieds are the fastest way to reach a large audience. If this doesn’t provide any return, spread the listing through other means, such as Facebook or pay a small fee for a print ad in a used vehicle publication.

Sell Smart

Every private vehicle sale should have a Bill of Sale to legally transfer ownership over to a buyer. Our free template can easily be customized to your vehicle and state law requirements.

Posted by Kristy DeSmit

Kristy is a blogger, Twitter enthusiast, and company legalese interpreter.