One in two new car owners who purchased a vehicle in the past three years are already looking to replace it with a smaller model, research suggests.
Of more than 1700 people surveyed by retail research house Canstar Blue, 45 percent had considered downsizing to a more efficient model of car.
Canstar Blue manager Rebecca Logan told News Ltd that rising living expenses, including petrol prices, were having an impact on the hip pocket of motorists.
"Everybody is feeling the pinch at the moment so if downsizing a vehicle is going to save them some money then that's obviously something that's going to be taken into account," she said.
But if you believe the pundits, who say cars depreciate on average by around 14 percent in the first three years, then up to 8 percent after that, sellers should expect to be out of pocket – particularly if they are still paying off a car loan.
For the seller of the used car, the question is how to fetch the highest possible asking price and get an edge on the competition.
Adding value to increase appeal
One answer is to add value to your car, which may be as simple as cleaning it up, repairing any minor damage and keeping a record of servicing.
Some minor repairs that could be made are an engine tune-up or having the oil changed. Replacing a cracked windshield can be expensive but it may be unavoidable in some cases. Be careful not to overcapitalise though, because repairing a car for sale is not like renovating a house – unless it’s a collectors' model you are selling.
An excellent idea is to have the maintenance records of the car ready and available for inspection by potential buyers. In a used car market made notorious by some dodgy operators, providing a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) report could help to seal the deal.
For a small fee, federal government-recognised VIN reports can be run on any car, motorbike, caravan or trailer registered in Australia. The report provides data about the vehicle and where it was registered along with information about any money owing, theft records and a history of collisions, storm and flood damage and inspections.
Nab a used car bargain
For those looking to buy a car this year, now may be an ideal time to snap up a used car bargain.
Michelle Hutchison, spokeswoman for RateCity, offers this advice: "Do your research and discover which makes and models hold their value best over the years."
"It might be tempting to opt for the first car loan you come across so as to get the ball rolling and secure your dream car. But it really pays to shop around for car finance, in the same way you would when shopping for the car itself. Compare car loans online to shave time otherwise spent visiting multiple websites of car loan providers in search of quotes."