8 tips for selling a used car online

8 tips for selling a used car online

Many people opt to sell their used cars when buying a new one to save costs and create more space in their garage. However, not many know that selling at a brick-and-mortar store or dealership is not the only choice; used cars can also be sold directly online. This allows sellers to reach a much wider audience, including dealerships, used car companies, and private buyers, to get the best deal.

Tips for selling a used car online
The car-selling process is a long and exhausting one. Attention to detail can feel quite overwhelming for some. Here are a few tips to make this easier:

1. Determine the car’s value
Before trying to sell a used car, it is important to determine its fair market value (after depreciation, upgrades, and repairs) so one can receive the best price for it. To do this, use an online guide such as KBB or contact an appraisal company. This value is often based on basic information (like the year, make, model, mileage, and zip code), accident history, and current condition of the car.

Suppose the car is still under the manufacturer’s warranty or a transferable extended warranty or has recently undergone scheduled maintenance work. It may be a good idea to add a couple of thousand dollars extra to the car’s listed price. This will help one negotiate better terms for their car.

2. Prepare the car
Next, the car needs to be prepared for sale. This involves removing all personal belongings and decorations, like bumper stickers, windshield labels, and license plate borders, from the car and giving it a deep clean so it looks presentable. Other changes that might help make the car more appealing to buyers include changing worn-out tires, brakes, and lights and minimizing the appearance of any minor imperfections. This attention to detail will help make even the cheapest cars an inviting option for buyers.

3. Choose the right platform to sell
When selling online, there are many platforms to choose from, each with its own niche. It is important to sort through these options and find the right one, depending on the car one is trying to sell.

Advertising on well-known or verified websites is always a good idea to ensure a secure transaction. Only sign up with legitimate websites that ask for the vehicle identification number (VIN) to reduce the risk of fraud. Remember that some sites may charge a small fee for the online listing and additional charges to boost the advertisement. These can add up quickly, so exercise caution while setting up the advertisement.

4. Take great photos
Online sales are largely motivated by pictures, so sellers must spend some time getting good-quality pictures of the car in natural light with little to no background. Take photos of the best (as well as essential) angles so buyers can easily understand what they are looking at. Important photos that every listing must have include the car’s front, back, sides, and interior. Bonus points for adding what’s under the hood, in the trunk, and undercarriage!

5. Put up a compelling advertisement
Along with the pictures, a compelling write-up in the advertisement will sell the car. This should start with a checklist of all the important details that buyers look out for—design, safety features, color, model, year, make, etc. Don’t miss any important details, as they might raise suspicions.

Another thing to include in the ad is why the car is being sold. Giving potential buyers an insight into the seller’s lifestyle will help build trust and understanding, making them feel at ease and perhaps even hastening the entire process. However, don’t get too close and personal here. Avoid including personal details in the advertisement, such as an address or personal photos, to keep one’s personal information safe.

6. Document all vehicle information and keep paperwork ready
Next, one must have all the vehicle paperwork ready, especially the car title, service records, original paperwork, insurance documents, and accident history report. First-owner cars are usually valued higher than others in the used car market. Not all platforms will ask for this information right at the onset of the sale process, but it is advisable to have it handy nonetheless. When meeting the buyer, ask them to bring their current driver’s license and auto insurance for verification purposes.

7. Clearly state the test drive route
Selling a private car is entirely different from one’s experience at a dealership. That is why one must be clear about everything right from the start—even the test drive route! To reduce the risk of any mishaps, make sure that both parties know about the route and agree on it. Be sure to verify the buyer’s paperwork, like a license and auto insurance, before letting them test drive the car.

8. Complete the sale at the DMV
Don’t rush to have the papers signed and handed over at home. During the negotiation process, meet at a neutral meeting spot in public, preferably during the day. This will help both parties feel safe. Invite a friend along if needed. At the final stages of the sale, head to the DMV to complete the sale so the documentation and paperwork can be managed easily.