Menu

How to Sell Your Car Online

Finding a buyer for your car can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Don't rely on parking your car on the roadside with a "For Sale" sign. Try out an online service instead.

How to Sell Online

The first thing you have to do is select a site. Sites such as CarsDirect.com, AutoTrader.com, and Cars.com (among others) are like online classified ads. Or choose an online auction site.

These sites make listing your car quick and painless. You'll need to know your vehicle's basic information: the make, model year, mileage, and condition. Then write a pithy description of the car. Some sites also let you add extra, eye-catching features to your ad, for an extra fee.

A picture is worth a thousand words, which equals dollars in this game. Ads with photos get way more attention than those without.

How long do you need to run the ad? Until the car sells, of course. Some sites allow you to run it until the car sells. Other sites will refund your money if your car hasn't sold within a specified time.

After you finish your ad, it can be online in minutes.

Advantages of Selling Online

Unlike local newspapers, online ads reach both local and national buyers. It's not unheard of for someone to drive across state lines to pick up a car. Someone from outside your area might be willing to pay more than a local would.

Another bonus is that when you write your ad, you don't have to abbreviate everything like you do with a newspaper classified. So you can put in a lot more information.

Plus, it's a breeze to correct any errors on your ad, day or night. Changing the ad copy to answer a question you've been getting a lot, or to just change the asking price, is easy.

Some sites allow you to track the number of visitors your ad gets. You can also track the number of times that users have searched for a vehicle like yours.

Tips for a Faster Sale

How quickly your car will sell and how many viewers you'll get depends on a number of factors, such as the popularity of your vehicle and your location.

Check out these pointers to sell your car fast:

  • Ask a fair price. Don't aim for the sky when reality lies lower. Look at other ads, or consult sites such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds.com. (If you're unsure of how to use these types of sites, check out our Appraisal and Kelley Blue Book article for guidance.)
  • Instead of just an asking price, use the "or best offer" option.
  • Include as many pictures as possible, from different angles. Don't forget the interior or any special features. Photos of a car in good condition practically sell it for you.
  • Be honest. The more information you provide, the easier it is for the potential buyer to trust your ad. If you really loved something, tell the viewer about it. If it just had extensive repair work done, mention it.
  • Consider adding a vehicle history report to your ad if your site lets you. These reports reassure people about your car's background, and it's one less thing the buyer has to do.

The car sales sites also have "frequently asked questions" pages covering a host of other information, like avoiding fraud, arranging a test drive, payment issues, and transferring ownership of your vehicle.

Good luck with your sale!

Provide Feedback