Your car has served you well (or has not) – either way, you have decided that it is time to sell and move on. It is likely that you have some emotional or sentimental value attached to your car, but once you decide to put it out on the market, you want to sell it for the best possible price. This is how business works.
If you sell your vehicle to a dealer, his objective will simply be to flip the car around and sell it for the greatest possible profit. For this reason, he will lowball you and make you a poor offer. On the other hand, when you list your car online, you are exposing it to a far bigger audience, which will mean more potential buyers and better offers. In this article, we will list down some tips that will help you list your car like a professional.
Fix any issues
No buyer is willing to invest their money in a busted car, and hence, the best way to sell your car for a reasonable price is to fix any problems with it. A ‘needs repair’ caution is an excellent way to drive potential customers away, and repairing the cracked windshields, flat tires, and dysfunctional brakes will go a long way toward fetching you top dollar for your car.
Pay particular attention to safety-related items like steering, brakes, or lighting components, as they will be closely inspected during the state safety inspection. Furthermore, a buyer will most likely take your car to a mechanic before pulling out the checkbook, so it is better to stay prepared.
Clean your car
Cleaning your car sends a positive signal to any prospective buyer, as it indicates that you have cared for your car and that it might be worth purchasing. Wiping down the interior and shining the wheels are two highly cost-effective ways of making a positive impression in pictures.
Furthermore, you should consider giving your car a second wash before buyers come to look at it – especially if they are serious buyers.
Find the value of your car
There are plenty of websites that will let you check what your vehicle’s worth in a dealer sale, a private market, or a trade-in. Instant Cash Offer tools even let dealers make offers on your vehicle, effectively establishing a floor on your asking price. This will help you determine if you will be able to get any extra money through the private sale and if that extra money is good enough for you to spend additional time in advertising, exhibiting, and ultimately selling the car.
Control your surroundings while taking pictures
While cleaning your car and fixing any issues with it is crucial, it is just as important to click photographs of your car pictures in the right environment.
For instance, if you are shooting on the street or the driveway, do not show any family members or pets, move other cars out of the camera range, and avoid showing anything that might spoil the picture. Also, select a plain background so that there are no objects laying shadows across the images. It is best to take your car to a park or any other scenic spot for its photography session.
Take plenty of pictures
One half-decent picture does not cut it these days – today, a potential buyer wants to assess your car from every angle. Make sure that you take a variety of pictures, clearly displaying both the interior and the exterior along with any dents or other imperfections.
Two of the biggest mistakes that sellers make are taking pictures that do not display the entire vehicle and taking pictures in poor lighting.
We recommend uploading as many pictures as your chosen website permits, but without avoiding any wear spots. If you are posting a lot of images but have left out the passenger’s seat, for instance, the audience might think you have done that deliberately and that you are trying to hide something.
Do not go overboard with the description
The perfect description lies somewhere between brief and exhaustive. Of course, simply saying that the car ‘works fine’ and listing your price is not going to be enough, but you should also avoid producing essay-length descriptions. Discuss the reason you are selling it, its features, recent repairs, and defects (if any).
It is crucial to be straightforward when listing your car’s condition, but, again, no need to go overboard discussing its flaws. Sure, you should be honest, but you should not list down every tiny thing wrong with the car – buyers understand that they are looking at a used car, and everything cannot be perfect.
Patiently handle questions
As we mentioned earlier, it is almost certain that your potential buyer will want to take your car to their mechanic of choice. Moreover, serious buyers will have plenty of questions, many of which you cannot answer through pictures or descriptions. The most telling question often is, ‘why are you selling the vehicle?’ – if you do not have a solid answer to this, the buyer might start to suspect that something is wrong.
Avoid negotiating over email
We recommend that you do not entertain low ballers over email or phone.
Also, whenever a buyer asks you about your best price, do not give them an upfront answer – remember that the person who speaks first in a negotiation almost always loses. Instead, tell them that the price is flexible but that you first want them to visit and inspect the car.
Buyers who are merely concerned about the price are often wholesalers looking to buy at the lowest possible price.
Be open to negotiations
While we discourage negotiation over email or phone, we do not discourage negotiating itself. In fact, most buyers expect there to be some wiggle room over the price. You can counter this by quoting a price that is higher than your target price (but not too high as it might scare away the buyer before you have had a chance to negotiate). Taking a few bucks off the starting price will make a lot of buyers feel good about the sale. However, remember that being flexible does not mean that you have to sell yourself short.
Remember that you will find more serious buyers on some sites than on others
Free websites like Facebook or Craigslist are goldmines for spammers and low ballers.
For this reason, we recommend that you pay a bit of money to list your car on dedicated sites like eBay Motors, RideSafely or Autotrader, especially if your car is worth in excess of $10,000.
To conclude, we hope that this guide will help you sell your vehicle online for the best possible price. If you want to learn more about online car selling, please feel free to contact us.