Are you trying to sell your car online? You’re not alone. Countless people rely on social media sites and sale sites like eBay and Craigslist to try to sell their car to their neighbors.
After all, selling your car online is a much better way to reach potential buyers than simply placing a “for sale” sign in the window. While you can always bring your car to a qualified auto dealer to get money off on a trade-in option, you might be able to get more bang for your buck by selling to another member of your community. Unfortunately, crafting the perfect online listing to sell your car online fast is not as intuitive as it might seem.
Whether you’re choosing to rely on the help of an automotive dealer or going it alone, here are some of the best ways to sell your car online fast.
Determine the value of your car
You’re not going to be able to sell your car if you don’t have a price in mind. The first step of trying to sell your car online fast is to determine its value.
You can get a rough idea of your car’s value by relying on online estimators like Kelly Blue Book or Autotrader. Over time, cars will depreciate in value, especially if they’re run of the mill stock options for an auto dealer. If you’re expecting someone to pay the same price that you bought it for, you’re in for a rude awakening. Most cars are rarely worth more than a few grand when you sell it on your own unless it’s a rare model or has stayed safely behind your garage door since you bought it.
Of course, this will change if you bought one of the rarer used Corvettes for sale and put in time and effort to clean it up and make it look like new. In this case, you might want to visit an established auto mechanic to appraise your car. This way, you can get an expert opinion on how much the car is worth. For example, investing in windshield repair can cost a lot out of pocket, but it is investing in fixes like these that will give you the largest return on your investment.
Keep in mind that every car is different and the market is tumultuous, especially right now when fewer people are driving because of the COVID-19 social distancing rules set in place. If you’re struggling to sell your car now, you might want to wait until industries pick back up to get your car’s profile back on the market.
Here are some of the top factors that can impact your car’s value when you’re trying to sell it online:
- The number of miles on the odometer. It’s recommended that someone trying to sell a car also posts a photo of the odometer to show that you’re telling the truth.
- The car’s age
- Any unique features that are present on the car, like a spoiler or a sunroof
- The model of the car and how it was perceived back when it was released
- The car’s safety statistics and whether or not they align with the current standards of the market
Invest in any necessary repairs
If your car has recently failed its inspection, it’s important to get it into the shop ASAP. Performance car tuning companies will work hard to ensure the engine is up to code, your electrical components are in great condition, and your transmissions are well-maintained. Trying to sell your car if it needs obvious repairs will never go well and buyers will use these issues to talk the price down even further.
That being said, you shouldn’t sink more money into what the car is worth. If you need to pay $5,000 on engine repairs, you should be upfront about this when you try to sell it. Leaving the ball in the potential buyer’s court will take the pressure off of you. This is especially good if you’re targeting DIY car repair enthusiasts.
That being said, you should still invest in the smaller repairs that make your car safe for the road. Repair those brake lines, invest in new tires, and top off those transmission fluids. You don’t have to do it all, but this doesn’t mean that you’re devoid of responsibility just because you’re trying to sell the car.
Get your paperwork together
Potential buyers will want to ask a lot of questions about the quality of your car. These questions will be all the easier to answer if you have your car’s paperwork handy. This includes its title, any reports on accidents, and any other pertinent information. Your title is what enables you to sell your car in the first place. If you don’t have the right information for your car, it’s worth it to go to the DMV as soon as you are able. This will allow you to sell your car to another person or an auto dealership that’s willing to accept it as a trade-in.
It might seem like a few hurdles to jump over but it is necessary for selling your car. Other companies need ample record-keeping for their inventory management while the average guy on the street wants to ensure that they’re not buying a lemon from some stranger around the block. When you start crafting your online listing, be sure to note any pertinent information about the car, both good and bad. Speaking of which…
Be honest in your car’s listing
While you don’t need to tell a potential buyer everything about your car, there are a few points that you have to include if you want to sell your car online fast. This includes:
- Whether or not you smoke: A car owned by a smoker can be a polarizing subject. While most smokers won’t care about whether or not a car was driven by a fellow smoker, this can be a deal-breaker for folks that are sensitive to cigarette smells. Long-term smoking in cars will cause the smell to linger, even if you invest in the best cleaning services for your car. If you happen to be a smoker, noting that your car had regular cleanings to the upholstery and inside can make a world of a difference to a buyer.
- Any accidents the car has had: If your car has been declared “totaled” by the insurance company, you’re likely not going to get a high price for your vehicle. But getting this awkward conversation out of the way at the start can help weed out uninterested buyers. Sure, fewer fish will nibble at your offer, but these will be the people who are the most likely to buy your car. Explain that you invested in car dent repair and other fixes to get your car road-ready.
- How the car was driven: Was your car used to commute around the city or did it take on cross-country road trips? Even if two cars have the same number of miles, the type of driving will impact how it runs. The same can be said for cars used as an executive car service. You will also want to mention where the car is from. A car that was driven in Arizona for most of its life is probably in better condition than a similar car that was driven around the blustery winters of New York.
- How you’ve taken care of your car: Additionally, the effort you have put into your car can also make a huge difference. Buyers will love hearing that you stored your car in a garage, invested in the regular automotive resin treatments, and cleaned it often. You should also note if you topped off any extended-life fluids regularly and if any other members of your family had access to driving your car. A car with a single owner will look better than a car that has exchanged many hands.
- Great pictures: A picture is worth a thousand words and every advertising professional knows it. Before you post your online listing, you have to include good-quality photos that represent your car well. Make sure you catch it in good lighting, take pictures of the upholstery, and grab photos of the car with the doors open and closed for a well-rounded visual of the vehicle. While you don’t have to invest in a professional photographer, a few well-lit shots can be enough to grab a potential buyer’s attention.
- The asking price: One of the most important features to include in your listing is the asking price. You’ll want to set it just about the estimates that you’ve gleaned from car sites or your mechanic. That way, it will give you a little wiggle-room when it comes to bargaining with potential buyers. However, you need to remember that there’s a huge difference between $3,800 and $4,100 at least psychologically. Keeping it under that thousand dollar threshold will help you engage with potential buyers faster.
Post your ad on multiple sites
Even if you’re a die-hard fan of Craigslist, your potential buyer might not be on that site. After all, Craigslist has always walked the border between legitimate offers and a bunch of scams. As such, you should be posting your car’s profile on a range of websites, including social media sites, auto trading sites, and more. You can always rely on your mechanic for the best advice regarding which sites have worked for them in the past. They might even be able to connect you with local car enthusiasts looking for a new ride.
You can also take out ads to help bolster your car’s appearance on other sites. For example, Nerd Wallet notes that the average cost of an ad to sell your car on Autotrader is about $25 or so. If you can swing the cost, this can help you sell your car online faster than you would have thought possible. It might be worth it to look up some basic SEO tips that enable buyers to find your car more easily online. This includes using the proper keywords and offering clear information online. When people search for those keywords you have in your ad — like “used car in a city near me” — your listing will be more likely to pop up and stand out from the crowd.
Once you have your car posted on a range of sites, it’s also important to filter your candidates. Not everyone will be the best person to sell your car to, especially if you’ve put a lot of work into fixing up an older car. Screening callers over the phone, through text, or by email will help you whittle down interested persons to serious buyers. Don’t spend too much time on buyers trying to lowball you and don’t get locked into negotiation wars. When an offer sounds legitimate, get your information ready to talk shop with the folks who are actually interested.
Selling a car isn’t always easy, especially during trying times like these. Fewer people are driving, but the need for cars in smaller cities and suburbs will always be needed. Highlight what makes your car unique and always remember that honesty is the best policy. Should a potential buyer find out that you are trying to hide important information about your car, you might even be sued on fraud charges. As such, you should be as clear as possible when you’re trying to sell your car online fast.
Are you trying to sell your car online fast? Rely on these tips to get you started. With a little time and more than a little effort, you’ll be able to sell your car to a great buyer this year.