If you want to quickly sell your old, unwanted car, truck, or SUV, auctioning it online is the way to go. Compared to opting for a physical auction, there is less hassle involved as you don’t have to take the time out of your busy life to take your vehicle to a designated venue. An online auction also benefits from having a far greater customer reach and the fact that bidding can last for days or even more than a week, potentially increasing the chances of the vehicle being sold at the best possible value. For first-timers and veterans alike, here are 7 expert tips for selling your car at an online auction.
1. Set a Reserve Price
A reserve price is the lowest amount you are willing to accept for your car. If you don’t set a reserve price for your car auction, there is the potential risk of your car being sold for practically nothing. Ideally, you should set the reserve price just slightly below what the market worth of your car would be to attract more bidding.
Be realistic with your assessment. In the auction market, some cars will obviously be worth more than others. For instance, you cannot expect a 2003 Saturn Ion with 200,000 miles clocked to attract the same price at an auction as a 2003 Toyota Corolla with the same number of miles. Look at listings of other used cars of the same make and year to better assess your car’s market worth.
2. Presentation Matters
Let’s face it, humans are visually biased. If they see something that is more visually appealing, they are likely to give a higher preference to it. Presentation matters at car auctions, and this is especially true with online ones. In the case of most buyers, your car’s photo would be the biggest factor in persuading them to click on your listing versus ignoring it outright.
Before you start snapping photos for your online auction ad, be sure to make repairs of any minor dents and dings, broken mirrors, scratches, or other imperfections. Doing so is relatively low-cost, but the potential return for the money spent can be far higher. Of course, be sure also to give the car a thorough cleaning as well.
3. Snap a Lot of Pictures
The more the merrier. Snap pictures of the car from every angle as well that of its engine, interior, and any visible problems it has. And, make sure that they are high-quality, taken in a well-lit area, and aren’t blurry. Statistically, listings on our website that added an ample number of pictures attracted a great deal more bidders than those that didn’t put up many. Having a lot of pictures reassures potential buyers that they fully understand what they will be bidding for and that they aren’t risking their money with a dishonest deal.
4. Be Honest
If you can time it right, you can benefit from having your car sold at a much higher price through an online auction. As with any commodity, the demand and supply for cars dictate a buyer’s willingness to spend. In North America, generally, the best time to put your car up for auction is in the summer and spring. This is when the majority of buyers are out in the marketplace for cars.
In addition, it helps to look at online listings of similar cars to see how well your own might sell if you put it up for auction. Customer preferences for different cars vary throughout the year. If you see a lot of vehicles similar to your own on the market, you might want to postpone your online auction to a later date when demand will be higher, and thus, buyers will be much more willing to set a higher bid for it.
6. Know What Repairs Are Worth It
While doing minor repairs is always recommended, when it comes to the major ones, you have to properly assess whether fixing them might be worth it. A bad clutch, a leaking head gasket, or a broken suspension can easily cost you a few grand or so. Unless you are really confident that the car is bound to sell well at the auction if you make such an investment, it is better to leave such repairs be and list the car as it is.
7. Be Realistic
Let’s face it, there are just some cars that just won’t sell well (if at all) in an auction. You can lower the reserve price, slap an extended warranty on it, and make sure everything is in good working condition, but it still won’t attract any bidding. Whether it is an online auction or physical one, knowing which cars sell well and which ones don’t beforehand can really save you a lot of trouble.
Choosing to put your car up for auction online can help you save time and potentially have it sold for a lot more money than otherwise had you sold it via trading or through a regular sales channels. An online auction should also be your preferred channel if the car being sold isn’t exactly in the best shape or is a salvage title.
We hope you found the information listed here to be helpful. Be sure to share this article with others in your circle who may also find it useful. Have any auction tips of your own that you would like us to add to this article? Write them down in the comments.