Selling your Car Online – Best Practices for the Private Seller

When you decide to sell your vehicle yourself, the first thing you will want to consider is where to advertise your vehicle.

Besides putting a “For Sale” sign in the window, you will want to take steps to let as many people as possible know that your vehicle is available to be purchased. There are lots of different ways to showcase your vehicle: taking out a classified or display ad in your local newspaper or buy and sell magazine, registering it in an auction which will then market your vehicle online and in its location, and of course, listing your vehicle online on websites such as Kijiji Autos, Auto Trader, or another local website with a place to list items offered for sale. If you are like most automotive sellers, you will want to maximize your exposure, minimize your expenses and streamline your time. The tips below will help you to get your vehicle advertised for sale by owner with the least amount of wasted time and money, and, we think, the greatest chance of speedy selling success.

Prepare Your Vehicle:

Before you advertise your vehicle for sale, make sure it is show ready. If someone calls five minutes after you put the ad out, is your vehicle ready to be test driven and sold? Don’t worry about making it perfect, but make sure it is clean, smells neutral and that any defects you are prepared to fix are taken care of. If you intend to sell your vehicle as-is, without a safety certification or with damage or deficiencies, be prepared to explain that to a prospective buyer, and have your research handy to show why you feel your vehicle is priced and offered appropriately given its current condition.

Host the Photo Shoot:

Most people will decide whether or not to call you about the vehicle you are trying to sell yourself by the pictures and information you list with the ad. Make the image matter and take the extra time to get good quality pictures that show your vehicle from many angles, highlight special options or features and which showcase your vehicle’s best attributes. This can include showing the engine, taking a picture of the odometer for a low kilometer car or truck, or taking glamour shots of add-ons like sport wheels or entertainment systems. Post or list as many photos as the media will allow, as pictures tell a better story than words and studies have shown that vehicles with lots of good quality pictures get more attention from potential buyers than those vehicles listed without pictures. Use video if you can; telling and showing the potential buyer the story of your car or truck will quickly generate more and better quality inquiries than pictures alone.

Set your Price:

Please include your price. If you don’t know what it’s worth, do your research or contact a company like CarBuyCo who specialize in establishing values for vehicles offered for sale by members of the public. If you choose to, look at ads for similar vehicles posted by local dealers, but remember that those vehicles are usually safety and emissions tested, and come with many guarantees and protections that add significant value to consumers. As a rule of thumb, be ready to price our vehicle $3000- $5000 less than a dealer’s advertised price, and in cases of higher priced vehicles, that spread should be carefully considered and may be greater.
Whatever your price is, put it in your ad, and be prepared to justify it with market research and information that adds value to your vehicle in the eyes of a prospective buyer. Be prepared to negotiate: most people who contact private sellers about a vehicle are looking for a deal and may haggle aggressively if they think you are overpriced.

Engage in Safe Selling:

Always protect yourself and your vehicle when offering it for sale privately. Take precautions to prevent fraud, theft and possible vandalism to your vehicle by always remaining present with your vehicle when someone is considering or test driving your vehicle.

Take steps to protect yourself by screening call in’s and calling back only those parties with whom you would feel comfortable negotiating a deal. Arrange a public meeting space, in daylight, to show your vehicle, and always make sure someone else is present or at least aware of where you are going and who you are meeting at what time. It is ideal to take a photocopy of the prospective buyers drivers license before letting them drive your vehicle, and if possible, ask for this information before your meeting so you can pass it on to another person.

Selling your vehicle yourself can be a successful venture, and some people find it helps them to acquire a better selling price than other options might. Remember that your goal is first and foremost to sell the car or truck, and you may have to be prepared to accept some challenges: it may take longer to sell your car yourself, and you may have offers that are consistently lower than your asking price. Don’t give up, there is a buyer and a use for every vehicle (even if it is an older vehicle that is essentially “scrap”; there are businesses looking for parts from vehicles such as those). The professionals at CarBuyCo are always happy to help you establish hat your car is worth or to give you an idea of what to expect when offering your vehicle for sale in an auction. Their professional car buying agents are a phone call or email away, and it won’t cost you a thing to reach out to CarBuyCo. Who know, maybe you will find the solution to your car selling questions and your car buyer all at CarBuyCo! Happy selling.