Buying a new car is no small purchase. But if you already have plans to sell it at some point down the road, investing in some features beyond the basic package could pay off in the long run — in a higher resale value.
Consider these five qualities when choosing your new ride:
Just as color can play a huge role when selling a home, the same rule applies when selling a car.
"Color’s a big one, with the popular ones typically being white, black and silver," says Karl Brauer, executive publisher for Kelley Blue Book.
That's not to say that reselling your lime green hatchback is impossible; but it might require a little more patience. A basic color, on the other hand, instantly widens the pool of potential buyers, including dealerships.
2. Automatic Transmission
While opting for a manual transmission can knock down the upfront cost by as much as $800 to $1,200, the pool of people willing and able to drive this type of vehicle is dwindling. Just 5% of cars sold today fall into this category. To interest more prospective buyers in the future, you may want to go the automatic route.
But if you can’t imagine driving anything besides a stick shift, you’re not completely out of luck. Brauer assures that there is still a market for them. Even though you won't be as widely popular, you might be hugely popular with a small percentage of buyers.
3. Wheel Size
When it comes to wheel size, bigger is generally better. From an aesthetic perspective, larger wheels are thought to look better. Plus, they provide better handling and steering response.
In some cases, you can dial up the wheel size as an independent option for under $1,000, says Brauer. But more often than not, larger wheels are tacked onto other upgrades — like a better audio system, leather seats, etc. — that can all boost overall value and desirability on the used market later on.
4. Leather Interior
Like larger wheels, adding on leather seats as a stand-alone upgrade isn't common. Instead, most auto manufacturers bundle it into an overarching luxury upgrade, but when potential buyers see leather, they think luxury.
"The leather seats might be the primary differentiator, but a luxury option might also include things like heated seats and upgraded power adjustments," which can be highly appealing to a future buyer down the road, Brauer says.
5. Special Edition Models
Keep your eyes open for limited-edition models that play up style, performance or both. Exclusivity is the name of the game here. Just remember that you'll very well increase your upfront costs by going with a special edition.
"Limited editions sell better down the line because buyers want to feel like they're getting something special," says Brauer. He advises showcasing how many were originally produced, as well as the features that are exclusive to that model when you go to sell it. If you can say that only 1,200 were made in a given year, that'll automatically make it more valuable.