Selling Your Car Online

The Internet has made it easier than ever to sell your used car or truck. By making a few smart decisions and creating a good advertisement, you can have your car seen by countless potential buyers.

Use our advice to simplify the process and sell your car online in no time.

Where to Sell Your Car

Once you're ready to sell and have determined the vehicle's market value, you'll need to select a website to advertise your car. Which website you choose will likely come down to whether you want to sell the vehicle locally or nationally.

Local Sales

If you'd rather not deal with the additional work it might take to sell a car to a buyer in another state or country, a local sale may be in your best interests. A few websites that will allow you to advertise to local buyers include:

  • Craigslist.
    • This “for sale by owner" site will let you sell your car within a specified radius. It's also free, so you can sell your vehicle on your own, without paying any additional fees.
  • eBay Motors.
    • eBay offers plenty of choices:
      • Choose to sell locally, nationally or even internationally.
      • Sell through the site's auction format or use a fixed price listing.

National Sales

While selling out of state will require more logistics in order to show and ship the vehicle, you will have a much larger audience looking at your car. This will often allow you to sell your vehicle for more money and sometimes quicker than you would with a local sale.

A few popular websites you should consider if you want to sell online nationally include:

    • Though there is a free option, this website has multiple packages that require fees depending on which option you choose.
    • The free option will allow you to list up to 5 photos for 30 days.
  • Kelley Blue Book.
    • Known for its accurate used vehicle pricing guides, Kelley Blue Book will also allow you to create an online ad and sell to a national audience.
    • Fees for the ads vary depending on the length of time you'd like to advertise, as well as the number of photos you upload.
    • This site also requires fees for listings, but is a popular option among sellers.
    • One unique option is the “Sell with the Experts" feature.
      • For an additional fee, they'll take care of the ad generation and placement so you won't have to worry about any extra work on your end.

How to Create an Advertisement

After you've chosen an online classified site to list your car, you'll need to create an ad. The two most important details you'll need to consider to make your car stand out from all the others include:

  • Photographs.
  • A good description.

Taking Photos

Photographs are a key selling point for shoppers browsing online. Bad pictures can make your vehicle look worse than it actually is, while good pictures can help to increase the perceived value.

After you've washed and detailed your car, you'll want to make sure you take pictures of the:

  • Exterior, including all angles.
  • Interior, including:
    • Dashboard.
    • All seats.
    • Carpet.
    • Odometer.
  • Engine.
  • Tires.
  • Wheels.
  • Trunk.

Other tips you'll want to utilize when taking pictures for your ad include:

  • Using variety.
    • Plenty of pictures from multiple angles will prove to the buyer that you aren't trying to hide any defects in the vehicle.
  • Placing your car in front of a plain background.
    • Don't use a background that's distracting. This will keep the focus on the vehicle.
  • Highlighting special features.
    • Special features (a stereo, sunroof, etc.), upgrades, or modifications are selling points to be photographed, too. This can help to increase your vehicle's value.

The Description

An accurate, concise listing will attract buyers to your vehicle. Here is some basic information you'll want to make sure you include:

  • Mileage.
  • The condition of the vehicle.
  • Any history of accidents.
  • Modifications that have been made.
  • Recent repairs.
  • The number of past owners.
  • Contact information.

Remember, too, that overselling your vehicle can have the opposite of your intended effect. A few things you should avoid include:

  • Long ads.
    • Buyers won't read the description if it contains too many unnecessary details.
    • Try to keep your description to 1,000 words or less.
  • Grammar and spelling mistakes.
    • An ad filled with errors may turn off potential buyers.
  • Leaving too many unanswered questions.
    • Try to think of the questions potential buyers will have and answer them in your ad.
    • Failure to do so may end up creating more work for you through frequent responses to e-mails or phone calls from buyers with questions.
  • Generalities.
    • “Like new!" or “Loaded!" is language that should be avoided.
      • If a car is loaded, it typically means it has a lot of extra features. Instead of saying loaded, it's best to describe these extra features and leave out the vague language.

Finding a Buyer

Once your ad is posted online, you can expect potential buyers to begin contacting you for a test drive or additional information. To increase your chances of being contacted, it's a good idea to include your phone number and/or a valid e-mail address in your listing.

Once contact has been made from a potential buyer, make sure you:

  • Respond within 24 to 48 hours.
  • Get the buyer's:
    • Full name.
    • E-mail.
    • Address.
    • Phone number.
  • Take the opportunity to re-pitch your vehicle over the phone or in-person.
    • Emphasize key selling points.
  • Be honest.
  • Encourage a test drive.
    • This will give you another opportunity to explain or show why your car is better than others on the market.
  • Follow up by with the buyer through e-mail or telephone to confirm their identity.
    • This can be an important step to avoid fraudulent buyers.

For additional information concerning fraud, and to find out about the paperwork you'll need to finalize a sale, please check our guide to selling a car.

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