Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

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Trying to Sell your Car Online? 3 Steps to Draw-In Potential Buyers

Look, if you don’t want to trade-in your old vehicle at the dealership and put the value towards a new car, then at least put in the time and effort to sell it properly online. I can’t tell you how many disingenuous ads I’ve seen on Craigslist written by people trying to sell their cars and pull one over on the buyer. For some reason (read: fast money), people feel the need to hide issues with their vehicles. If you’re in that conundrum — trying to sell a car that you know won’t sell, so you need to write a misleading advertisement — then just trade it in. It’s easier, and you won’t have to deal with someone screaming at you when they drive 50 miles to look at a vehicle that’s not even remotely close to what was advertised.

For those who are just honestly ignorant when it comes to selling a car online, here are three steps to draw-in potential buyers — but not in a “hah, got ya sucker!” kind of way.

1. Price it Right

Setting the right price can almost be considered an art. It’s a blend of lots of research, and a gut feeling that says “yeah, this is right.” But, it becomes a problem when you let that gut feeling and love for your precious car take over. As soon as you start throwing endearing adjectives at a hunk of metal, you know you need a swift backhand back into reality.

Sure, your car might mean something to you, and you have a love for it that (you think) others will feel as well when looking at it. But, in reality, they’re trying really hard to get past the fact they’re looking at an ad for a car from the ‘90s with a blown head gasket, listed at an outrageous price.

Use KBB’s (Kelly Blue Book) website, and get an unbiased and accurate price for your vehicle. Keep in mind, if you aren’t pricing your car competitively (which will also translate to a proper price) then you’ll have a much harder time moving it on the market.

2. Add Plenty of Details in Your Advertisement

Don’t just throw up a crap picture, the highest-appraised price you found on KBB, and a single sentence saying “Uh, it runs great.” While I’ve never seen an advertisement specifically like this, if you do it wrong, that’s how it will look to anyone.

Add plenty of colorful and vibrant pictures. Pictures of everything! Different angles of the cabin and engine compartment, and shots of the upholstery, trunk, paint, etc. Take as many pictures as you can, showcasing what your vehicle honestly looks like.

Then, give a detailed description of your vehicle. Make the mileage, age, and any repairs that needed to be done or problems it still has clear and prevalent. If not, you’ll end up with people driving out and swearing at you because it’s not what was promised in the ad.

Be as detailed and honest with your ad as possible. It really does wonders. If it’s in good enough condition to be sold (and you’re being honest with yourself) it will sell in time.

3. Please, Clean It

Clean your freakin’ car before taking a picture and putting it up for sale. The amount of times I’ve personally gone out looking for a used car because it looked clean online, only to discover that it had food mashed into the carpet or pine sap all over it is infuriating. Want your car to sell better? Take a picture of it clean, and then keep it clean. No dust, no dirt, no food. Trust me, it makes a world of difference.

If there were two of the same cars next to each other with the same issues, miles, and years — literally, identical — but one was dirty and one was clean. Which one would you buy? Exactly.

Follow these three steps, and you’ll easily be able to sell your car online.