Selling Cars Online
Selling cars online helps you avoid the hassles of long trade-in negotiations and the restrictions of local classified ads. Instead of leaving your vehicle on the lawn with a price on the window, you can find a buyer through one of the many online venues for selling cars.
Why Sell Cars Online?
Online selling allows you to get rid of your vehicle quickly AND on your own terms. You can even sell cars that are in poor condition as there may be someone who will want the vehicle for parts and scrap metal or maybe even as a fixer-upper project.
Online car sales put you in complete control of the process. You choose:
- Which details you want to advertise.
- The price to charge.
- Terms of the final transaction.
Using online classifieds or directories for selling cars offers more flexibility than local classifieds. With space for detailed descriptions and the capacity to host a collection of photos, online sites increase the chances of your vehicle being seen by interested buyers.
Online Options for Selling Your Car
Some sites for selling cars online require you to pay a fee for your ad, while others let you list your vehicle for free. Popular options include:
- eBay Motors.
- Kelly Blue Book.
For cars in less-than-perfect condition, Craigslist is the ideal option. It's similar to selling through traditional classified ads except it puts you in touch with a wider range of potential buyers at no cost.
Using eBay brings bidding into the picture, which means you may end up earning more than you originally anticipated.
Other sites make it easy to search for vehicles in particular price ranges or narrow down the selection to specific vehicle types. These directories give your car a better chance of standing out in the sea of internet listings.
Getting Your Car Ready to Sell
As you prepare to sell your car, put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. What would attract you to an ad, and what questions would you have about the vehicle? Start by familiarizing yourself with important details, including:
- Engine and transmission type.
- Gas mileage for city and highway driving.
- Safety features.
- Size of the interior.
- Extras or special features of the model.
- Maintenance and repair records.
- Current issues or visible blemishes.
Being knowledgeable about the car shows buyers you're serious about selling.
Your next step is to clean the car inside and out, having it detailed if necessary.
Then, remove your belongings, including any paperwork listing personal information. Park the car in full natural light and take pictures of it from every angle. Get 30 to 40 pictures of the exterior and interior, making sure to include a snapshot of the odometer and what the car looks like under the hood.
Photograph any dings and dents to create an honest representation of what a buyer would see if inspecting the vehicle in person.
Selling Cars Online: The Basics
Once your car is spruced up and ready to sell, it's time to decide on a price and list the vehicle. Determine the value using Kelly Blue Book and research what others are asking for similar models. This will allow you to settle on a reasonable price.
Create a listing on your chosen site and write a detailed description to accompany your photos. Add the information you researched about the car and be clear about which types of payments you're willing to accept. When it comes to checks, personal checks should be avoided but a cashier's check can be a safer alternative.
Before meeting any potential buyers, collect the necessary paperwork:
- Current registration.
- Maintenance and repair records.
- Warranty information or “as is" agreement.
- Release of liability.
Document the entire transaction with a bill of sale and make a copy of the title for yourself before signing over the car.
The easiest way to ensure a smooth sale is to meet the buyer at a DMV location and complete any additional paperwork with the help of a DMV employee. Get complete contact information for the buyer before finalizing the transaction and handing over the keys.
Beware of Red Flags
Choosing to sell cars online brings its share of risks. By expanding the reach of your listing beyond your town or city, you open yourself up to scams and untrustworthy buyers with hidden agendas.
Learn to recognize the
signs of potential trouble before entering into any selling
agreement. These include:
- Insistence on paying with a questionable check.
- Requests to close the deal in private.
- Buyers wary of communicating by phone.
- Unusual stories explaining the necessity of having the car shipped outside the country for delivery.
Even when buyers seem trustworthy, take the time to profile them first. Make sure they don't have a problematic criminal record and that their contact information is legitimate. This simple process can save you a lot of headaches and keep you out of legal trouble. If something doesn't check out or you simply have a bad feeling about the transaction, turn the buyer down and look for someone else.
Selling cars online requires some
preparation and discernment, but it can be much faster and
more convenient than traditional selling methods. Knowing where you want to sell,
confidence in your asking price, and getting all the details in order beforehand
will simplify the process and help you target serious buyers.