Barring a few exceptions, a car is always a depreciating asset. Its value is headed south the minute you drive it off the dealership lot. Even if the owner takes good care of it, a car's resale value can drop faster than you think. So, what can you do to expect a reasonable price when you sell your car?

The short answer is mileage and condition. Options, location and colour also play a role, albeit a minor one.

Condition: Let’s face it. No one wants to buy a car with damaged body paint, torn, and frayed seat covers or an air conditioning that doesn’t work. While the condition of a car can be subjective, what is good for one buyer maybe be OK or average for another, in general a reliable, accident free car with no paint, scratches or rust will sell for a lot more than its poorly maintained brother.  A car that's in poor condition will always have a lower resale value. If it's in rough cosmetic or mechanical shape it should to reconditioned, but it hasn't been the extra cost is just being passed on to the next owner.

Mileage: It is one of the important factors that hurts the resale value, because as mileage increases so does wear and tear. But caution: Low mileage does not necessarily mean an accident free, well maintained car. If the mileage is extremely low, it might hint at underlying problems with the car. Keeping the high mileage of a car in mind, you need to consider unexpected maintenance in the future.

Service and Accident History: It is another important determining factor too. Repeated problems and constant visits to the body shop are always a red flag. It either means a bad driver who gets into frequent accidents, in that case you can’t expect good maintenance and upkeep.

Location and market conditions: Depending on the type, location plays a key role in determining the value of a car. Your friendly neighbourhood mid-sized sedans are popular almost everywhere. Mini-vans might sell easily in suburbia. Convertibles and sports cars usually sell better along the coast or in warm climates. Obviously, no one wants to be caught with the roof down in the rain. Market conditions affect the value of luxury or specialty cars more. For example, convertibles will have a lower value in the fall and winter months. A thirsty full-sized SUV will be worth less when gas prices are high, and the pricey Cadillac or Bentley will sell for a lot less during a recession.

Colour: The colour of your car can impact its price value too. Black, silver, white, and red are classic colours, and selling them is much easier, regardless of the make, model or year. Other colours which are trendy, custom, or bright such as greens, purples, and blues, may be less appealing to the buyers.

Bottom Line: While many factors figure in how much you get for your car, if we had to pick just two, we’d picked mileage and condition. Take good care of your car, drive reasonable distances and cross your fingers for some factors are out of your control.

Happy selling!