Selling Your Car Online
Long gone are the days when selling your car on your own meant relying on classified ads, signs in the window, or word-of-mouth.
Thanks to the Internet, private used car sellers have a new, powerful ally in their corner. Here’s why many car professionals say that selling your preowned vehicle is your best option.
With classified ads, sellers only have a small amount of space to educate prospective buyers on the virtues of their car. Online sellers, however, don’t face these restrictions and can provide ample evidence about why their vehicle is a great buy.
Use this freedom to your advantage by providing plenty of details about the car’s condition, maintenance records, driving history, recent repairs, and anything else that may increase its value or generate interest. Of course, include the basics, too, such as the car’s color and mileage, the selling price, your contact info, and the best time to reach you. Add “or best offer” (OBO) or something similar if you’re flexible on the price.
Be sure to include plenty of photos―from all angles―to give viewers a fair look at your vehicle. Don’t forget to provide interior shots. But, avoid pictures taken from shaded areas as they produce poor quality shots.
Of course, before you start snapping pictures, do some prep work to make sure your car looks its best. And, have the proper paperwork handy, in case your ad elicits a lot of quick responses from anxious buyers.
Remember, the more accurate and in-depth information you provide, the easier it will be for viewers to determine if your car is appropriate for their situation. This pre-screening should lead to more serious buyers, and means you won’t have to waste as much time with “tire kickers.”
It’s possible to download your car information in the morning and find a buyer by the afternoon. With online searches, prospective buyers can instantly screen for vehicles meeting their criteria, including make, model, condition, mileage, and price. This can lead to head-spinning turnaround times―especially with in-demand models―and shorten a process that often took weeks into hours.
While word-of-mouth may be free, classified ads are frequently costly, especially with newspapers. Online car ads are inexpensive―and sometimes even free. Plus, the savings accumulate if you need to keep your ad running for a longer time frame.
You’ll have plenty of options here, so it’s best to do a little homework first. Begin by searching for sites that allow you to list your vehicle for sale. Then, review these sites to determine how easy they are to navigate and for prospective buyers to find your car.
Usually, it’s wise to go with the bigger sites, as more visitors mean more possible buyers. However, your vehicle will face extra competition on these sites from other sellers, so unless your car stands out from the pack―because of its condition, style, or price―you might be better off at a less popular site. Local sites can be a great option, too.
Cost is another factor to consider. Some sites allow you to place your ad for free, while others charge a nominal fee. Just keep in mind that paying a few more bucks for additional exposure may mean a quicker sale or even yield a higher selling price.Other Topics in This Section