Selling a Car Online

By Sam Feeder , last updated June 28, 2011

Selling a car online is a skill in and of itself, making everyone who owns a car a prospective used car salesman, which may be a fun role-playing fantasy for some and a virtually intimidating nightmare for others. However, by following the right tips, selling a car online can be a relatively stress free activity, allowing the wonderful world of the internet and the curiosity of the buyers to do most of the actual work while you sit back and wait for the right offer. Check out some of the tips listed below for selling a car online so that you're not stressing out like a sweaty, loose-tied car salesman, trying to make some arbitrary monthly quota.

Take Great Pictures

The old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words has never been more true on the worldwide web, as seeing is the best form of believing in the internet age. So get the car cleaned and take pictures of every necessary angle of the car so that the prospective buyers who will be looking at your ad online will almost feel like they are seeing the car for themselves.

Take pictures of everything: all four sides of the exterior of the car, the roof, the inside of the trunk, the front seat, the back seat, seats folded down (if they do that), the open hood and the engine. All of these things are what a smart buyer would initially check when they check out a car and it's always good to assume your buyers are good and smart, rather than lazy and stupid. Make sure the photos are as crisp as possible as well, but not too large to be uploaded to the website where you are running your ad. Don't Photoshop anything (except the license plate, maybe) as they will find out if they come to visit the car and immediately not trust you.

Have an Excellent Description

The headline and description of your car is one of the most important parts of selling online, as there will literally be hundreds of other used cars like yours that you will be competing against and you will want to stand out. Peruse the other listings of the cars that are similar to yours on the site where you are posting your online ad to see what you are up against. Make sure your title gives the best information in as few words as possible.

For example, if you have a car with a lot of miles which has recently had a new transmission put into it, mention this: Old model BMW with brand new transmission, new tires, and clean service record. If you have low miles on your car, mention this as well, as that is a major selling point for any used car, as the less it has been driven by someone other than the prospective buyer the better. Be honest but describe your car eloquently. Mention features like sunroofs, surround sound, MP3 players, alloy wheels, as these are selling points to many people who don't care as much about how a car drives, but how it looks or sounds when they drive it. People buy cars for many reasons. Appeal to as many of these as possible.

Price It Right

The price of your used car online is often a sticking point for most people who have never sold a car online before. Obviously, you want to check Kelley Blue Book and figure out what you deem is the best price. However, you will also want to research what else is out there online and on the site you will be selling, finding cars that are the most similar to yours in terms of the model, the miles and the condition. This may encourage you to price yours slightly cheaper than theirs or slightly more expensive than theirs. There are also hidden costs that you will have to keep in mind in the online marketplace, which you should disclose at the beginning to a buyer, or else it might kill the deal at the eleventh hour.

These hidden costs include things like tax on the car and shipping. If they live on the other side of the country, the cost of shipping the car could add thousands of dollars to the price. The cost of you driving it to them could be a negotiating point, but how much is your time, the gas and the plane ticket home worth to you. You should also always think that a buyer will try to haggle with you over the price, knocking it down a few hundred dollars, if not more. This may encourage you to inflate the price of the car slightly for online buyers, as if they don't end up haggling, you make more money.

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