Selling Your Car Locally

Advertising options abound when it comes to selling your car. You can choose from traditional avenues, such as newspapers and flyers, or opt for the convenience of the Internet.


The Internet, especially over the last few years, has emerged as the leading advertising source. In addition to the usual information―make, model, miles, price―it allows you to post color photos of your vehicle from, if you so choose, a variety of angles. The photos help cut down on phone calls and narrow inquiries to only serious potential buyers. Plus, the Internet expands your advertising range from local to statewide.

Word of Mouth

It may be the oldest means of spreading information, but it’s still one of the most efficient. Tell your family, friends, and co-workers that you’re thinking about selling your car, and ask them if they might know of anyone who’s interested. Mention this when you’re at church, a social or business club, a community gathering, or even a party. Used cars have never been more popular, so chances are good that someone will know somebody who’s in the market for a pre-owned vehicle.

And, if you happen to know a car enthusiast, make sure that person knows about your car’s availability. Car lovers tend to know other car lovers, and that will increase your odds of finding someone interested in your vehicle.

Bulletin Boards

While it’s a decidedly low-tech means of communication, simply putting a flyer or even an index card with the car’s information on a bulletin board can help your cause. It’s especially effective on boards that attract a lot of traffic or located where people in your target audience might see it. Think libraries, community centers, YMCAs, grocery stores, churches, and daycare centers. If you’re not asking much for your car, consider putting a notice in the student center of a local college.

Depending on what size and type of notice you use, you can include a photo of the car, along with key possible selling points, such as its mileage, condition, options, after-market additions, and number of owners.

Newspaper Ads

Yes, people still read newspapers, and not just online. That’s especially true of community papers.

So, consider placing a classified ad; it can be a cost-effective means of alerting the public about your car. Many small community papers give you a decent amount of space for a reasonable cost, so you can really sell your car instead of just reciting the pertinent facts. Make your ad stand out by adding a little zest or personality. It works!

Free Publications

You know those free publications you see on the way out of the grocery store or mall? They can be great tools for selling your car. Seriously.

Some of them even cater to car buyers, so you know you’re dealing with the right audience.

Sign on Your Car

The effectiveness of this method varies according to where you live and work, but it’s cheap and can’t hurt your chances of landing a buyer.

So, place a sign in your car window and leave the car parked in your driveway. Even if you don’t live on a busy street, maybe someone in your neighborhood will notice it.

Of course, you can stick the sign in the window when you're at work, too, especially if you park your car in a large lot or garage. And, be sure to employ that sign whenever you’re going someplace where there’s lots of people―such as at a mall, a grocery store, a concert, or a sporting event.

Selling Tips

  • Price your vehicle according to market value. Otherwise, with today's accessibility to car information, your potential buyer will question your honesty and look elsewhere.
  • Have the vehicle washed and waxed.
  • Vacuum the interior and polish the dashboard.
  • Clean windows, inside and out.
  • Empty the trunk of your possessions and either sweep or vacuum.
  • Correct all minor repairs, such as broken taillights, worn windshield wipers or dirty air filters.

Needed Paperwork

The more organized you are, the better you look with the buyer. Before a potential buyer arrives try having the following documents ready to present:

  • All maintenance records, including oil change receipts. Try to present in a neat folder, organized by month and year.
  • A vehicle history report. Even if you have nothing to hide, this will immediately instill the buyer's trust and allay any potential doubts.

Bill of Sale

Have a bill of sale ready. You're going to need one eventually to make your sale official, so its works in your favor to have one before rather than after the sale is made. This expedites the selling process and guarantees proof of purchase for your records.

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