Selling your old used car should be simple. Set your price, advertise, negotiate, and collect the money. In the olden days, a classified ad in the local paper sufficed, but the internet changed everything.
Used car shoppers have more information and higher expectations than ever before. Fortunately, online tools also help sellers find good private party buyers too. Here’s what you need to know:
Research Your Market
Used car values are subjective. Everyone knows that the vehicle’s options, equipment, and miles affect the price, but there are other subtler variables to consider. The geographic location, paint color, and season can change the willingness of buyers to pay.
Start by looking up your vehicle’s value in online pricing guides. Get a rough idea of how to set your asking price. Refine your research by browsing through online ads of similar vehicles in your local used car market.
Set Up Your Online Used Car Advertisement
Now that you have a price in mind use an online ad. Nationally recognized auto sales websites have millions of shoppers browsing listings every day. These tools help you make connections and usually offer several advantages over print ads.
You can change your price depending on how the market reacts. If you aren’t getting any calls, lower the price to get better results. If your phone starts ringing off the hook, consider raising the price. This feature alone helps online sellers adjust tactics and fine-tune their strategies.
Provide Plenty of Photos
Pictures sell cars online. The more photos you provide of your vehicle, the better. A buyer cannot physically see the vehicle themselves and depend on the quality of your images. Try to post at least 20 photos and include pictures of the exterior, interior, tires, and engine.
Good quality digital images give prospects a tour of your car, but small flaws may slip through. Build confidence with your buyer by disclosing little imperfections. Don’t be afraid to show images of minor damage or wear.
Include Online Service History Record
A well-maintained vehicle can command a higher asking price and enjoy more serious offers. If you have your records, include your service history with your advertisement. Show receipts for necessary maintenance like oil changes and brake work. Also, include records for significant repair work.
Some dealerships and independent auto repair businesses keep online service history reports as a part of their processes. Ask your shop for these records and link to them for the ad you are creating.
Provide a Vehicle History Report
Several reporting companies keep records of a vehicle’s life. These go beyond just the service history reports and show mileage, registration, accidents, and other incidents. Responsible buyers will always insist on seeing these reports anyways, so have one ready.
It’s often possible to include a link to the history report as either a PDF or a separate webpage. Ideally, your vehicle’s history is free from negative incidents. If there are rough spots in its past, make sure you have an honest explanation ready when your buyer asks you.
Complete the Deal
In many cases, buyers insist on seeing and driving the vehicle before finalizing the deal. Make the arrangements to meet and prove everything you claimed in your advertisement is true. Bring physical copies of the service records, vehicle history report, and title with you.
Sometimes a buyer purchases a vehicle without seeing it first. You will need to negotiate the terms of shipping, but never release your vehicle until after you receive full payment. Con artists are notorious for taking possession without paying.
Alternatives to Selling to a Private Party
You can also sell your vehicle directly to a dealership. Franchised used car networks exist across the country, and many of these businesses have car buying programs. You won’t receive as much for your vehicle, but these transactions are fast and secure. Find the company’s online form and submit the information about your car to obtain a buy offer.
Sell an old junker to an auto dismantler. These businesses also have online contact forms to make it easy for you to begin the process. A dismantler only pays scrap prices, but these businesses usually arrange for transportation. This option is useful if your car no longer runs or if the fees to register and insure it are more than the vehicle is worth.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
A sale happens when price and value meet. Use the internet to share reliable information with your potential buyers. Boost their confidence, and you’ll send your old used car on to its new home.