Like houses, flipping cars has become a common practice in the age of the Internet. Also like houses, without doing the proper research it could be very easy to take a loss if you’re not careful. In this blog we’ll cover some beginner’s tips for flipping cars.
Find the right car
Flipping cars often comes down to finding the right bargain as opposed to a specific make or model. Thanks to the Internet, there are no shortages of places to look, but this convenience also causes some people to overlook the classic hunting grounds. This includes public auctions, estate sales, and even the good old fashion “For Sale By Owner” cars you see in neighborhoods or passing on the way to the store. If you prefer searching from the comfort of your couch, sites like Craigslist and local Facebook groups can be great sources too.
Since the goal is to make a profit, you need to find one that has earning potential. To do that, there are a few things you should look for:
1. Cars that are selling below their market value. (Hey, sometimes you just get lucky!)
2. Cars that need minor repairs that you can do on your own.
3. Cars that need to be sold quickly.
Know that whenever a really good bargain becomes available it’s likely going to sell quickly so you have to be on top of your game. Be sure that you thoroughly look through the car to make sure that it isn’t too good to be true. If you aren’t savvy with mechanic work, some car flippers suggest meeting at a mechanic to pay for a quick once-over.
Pick a reliable, easy-to-sell car
In order to increase your chances of finding a buyer, you want to pick a car that has a market. Cars that are notoriously reliable often have a decent cult-following. For example, Japanese manufactured cars have been well known to be reliable, modern, and relatively easy when it comes to maintenance. They are also fairly fuel efficient, which has been top of mind for many in the last few years. For these reasons many will seek out these cars for a dependable car for the daily commute or for a first car for their teenager.
However, their many positive qualities that lead to their high demand could be a detriment to a flipper. Even with a high demand, the supply of these cars is plentiful, meaning that you may not have as high of profit margin. Regardless, these vehicles could be perfect for the beginning flipper to learn the ropes without a lot of risk.
Luck is preparation meeting opportunity
Sometimes flipping comes down to acting on opportunity. Say you have a friend who needs to free up a space in the garage? Or you see neighbor who is moving to another state and doesn’t need their car anymore? Sometimes you do just get lucky stumbling into these situations, but with preparation and research you may be able to better spot these “lucky” situations. If you get the word out that you’re looking for a low-cost vehicle, you may be surprised about the opportunities that present themselves through your connections.
Put some elbow grease into it
Sometimes you just won’t find that perfect, pristine, flippable car. But you may find it easier to find cars that just need a little TLC to get it up to snuff. A great example of this is hybrid cars with dead batteries. Hybrids are in high demand right now, so if you can find one in good condition that just needs a new battery you could stand to make a great flip. Dirtier cars or ones with small but noticeable blemishes can also be fixed up with relative ease are also great options.
If you are mechanically-inclined, or know someone who is, you may be able to do more extensive repairs on a budget which even further broadens your potential to profit.
Finding the right buyer
This one may be easier than what you think. Using a tool such as our Trusted Car Sale can be a great way to appeal to a wider audience.
You can post your vehicle to Facebook groups or Craigslist classifieds. Keep an eye out for people that have posted a need for a vehicle. Post it on your Facebook page, as well, and ask your friends to share it.
Sometimes word of mouth can be just as good as a post, too. Tell your friends, family, and/or coworkers if they know anyone who needs a car—or better yet expand your reach by asking them to ask their family and friends.