Tips for Selling Cars Online

By Maggie McCormick , last updated October 28, 2011

Knowing some of the best tips for selling cars online can help you sell the car quickly. You no longer simply have to place a "For Sale" ad in the car window and hope someone drives by. The Internet connects you to people in your area who are looking to buy a car just like yours. Still, you want to do your best to avoid scams and wasting time with buyers who aren't serious.

Your Car's Ad

It's important to be as descriptive as possible in writing your car's advertisement. Not only should you include details like the year, make, model and number of miles, but you should also include details that could encourage interest or could be a deal-breaker for potential buyers. For example, being the sole owner, keeping detailed maintenance records and not smoking in the car could improve your chances of selling the car. If there are negative aspects of the car, such as mechanical or cosmetic problems, though, you should mention these, as you will weed out the people who wouldn't be truly interested in your car.

List your car on Craigslist or other online classified sites. Remember that a site that has a focus on your local region is more likely to generate interest. Few people will want to drive hundreds of miles just to buy your used car. However, if your car is a collectible car, then you should advertise in places that cater to that audience.

Pricing Your Car

Looking up your car's Kelley Blue Book value can give you an idea of how much to ask for, but it isn't the only source that you should look at. Browse the website where you expect to list your car as well, looking for cars similar to yours and how much others are asking for.

Remember that you may need to adjust your price based on the car's condition. If you know that it will soon need $600 worth of work, for example, you should adjust your price down by $600.

Building Trust

Don't waste anyone's time. One of the most difficult thing for your potential buyers is identifying whether the car is worth going to see. Anything that you can do to give potential buyers a more accurate look at the car is helpful.

For example, you could order a copy of the Carfax report, which will show the car's history and whether it has or has not been in an accident. You could also get a report from your mechanic detailing the car's condition and potential problems for the future. Taking several pictures, particularly of areas that may present problems, like stains or rust spots, can help buyers determine the general condition of your car and whether or not it's something that truly interests them.

Safety Basics

Eventually, people are going to want to come by, see the car and take it for a test drive before making a purchase. Protect your safety by meeting in a public space and having someone else along with you. Go with the person as he takes a test drive to ensure that he doesn't steal the car and to answer any questions he may have.

Always get your payment in cash. Checks and money orders can be faked by scammers. Also, don't do business with anyone who is not willing to meet you in person. This is also likely to turn out to be a scam.

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