How to sell your car for the best price.
" I want to sell my old car quickly and for a good price." Or "I want to sell my car online as quickly as possible" are the common responses to car selling.
First off, It is possible to get a quick sale at a good price online if you follow some basic principles as I outline below.
Honesty and the right information are essential when selling your car and you need to be realistic about valuation. I address valuation a bit further down in this article.
The first thing to know is that you need good photos, so break out your best camera and we will get started. If you want to see the best way to use photos look further down the page where I demonstrate the best type of photos to take for online sales.
A little air driven car
What is the best price for your car and why?
Some old hands will tell you the answer is simple. "As much as you can get!" Although that may be correct at first glance it is not always true or wise to only consider the sell price.
The quality of the sale is always a major consideration. You do not want to find yourself being taken to a court or small claims tribunal because your car had a knowable fault that was not made clear to the buyer.
Nor do you want to put a person or their family at risk by selling them an unsafe car, so let's be clear, if the car you are selling requires expensive repairs you need to have the work done and build it in to the price, in other words pay for the work you should have paid for before it got in such poor condition.
Or .... deduct the cost and inconvenience of repairs from the price of your car which usually only interests backyard car dealers who will offer peanuts for it..
The best price is important, but so are people, and dishonest sellers are a pain in the butt to the rest of the buyers and sellers.
Do your best to ensure the car you sell is safe.
How much is your car worth anyway?
You need to know what your car is worth to begin with, and one important step is knowing what is in competition with your advertisement when you are ready to sell.
Some weeks you will find heaps of competition for your make and model other times much less. Guess which time you need to pick to maximise the price?
You need to watch the market before starting to sell to see any trends. Wednesday may be the best day to sell cars in your area, or any other day. If you see only a few cars advertised on one day and heaps on another, work out why and use that to your advantage.
The more you know the better about the current market. If you can find a period where there is just one or two bright orange Simcas, you will get a better price for yours that week!
Establishing the best price for your car.
Establishing the best price for your particular car is mostly just common sense, but you do need to know some parameters to work with first!
Many car sites will provide a search button or link to a drop down menu where you can get a detailed value of your exact car in most cases.
These websites allow you to select your make model and year.
The value of your car will pop up often with a photo of the correct model including different body styles such as station-wagons or coupe as well as the retail and wholesale prices ranging from high (low mileage 1 owner cars with full service history) to lowest ( good working condition in below average condition)
A higher mileage than the average reduces the price, a lower mileage raises the price.
If you have a very low mileage car be careful with price when selling.
Your price may be too low. Some vehicles are very sought after by expert buyers willing to pay a premium for certain makes and models with very low mileage.
There are good reasons for this, as some early models have design faults that if left unrepaired can cause major damage to the vehicle after a certain mileage.
Two examples leap to mind.
The beautifully designed Alfa Romeo Veloce GTV if driven
any distance after the front right wheel had been hit hard on a curb, or
run with a loose wheel bearing will wear the hell out of steering
joints, the tyre on that side, then brake damage that culminates in a
that will crack the main chassis member!
Low mileage Veloce's are less likely to have had the chassis stressed long enough to cause extensive difficult and expensive to repair problems.
Ferrari's with terrible big name electrics and brass wire connections
that caused constant misfiring and total ignition failures. Many of the
motors are worn out through being driven while running like a bucket of
bolts for most of it's life! A good low mileage one is worth a packet,
and hard to give away a bad one. It costs an apartment block to rebuild
the motor on these diabolical models, and I would not have even a
rebuilt one at any price. Ferrari have made some shockingly bad cars!
What makes your car worth more to the buyer?
Selling a car for the best price possible can mean gaining quite a bit of extra cash, always handy, so when you sell your car always present it well, and by that I don't mean to just wash and polish the car and put black on the tyres, everyone does that of course!
No, I mean making your car stand out amongst the others that are for sale to ensure you get a good price in the marketplace against the competition.
If the ad does not say all it can for your car, most car buyers will just go to the next ad leaving you wondering why you can't sell your car.
To get the best price for your car you need to describe it better.
- If it is a one owner car, say so. Some people like me only buy one
owner cars so it just may make the sale for you right there.
- Check the mileage compared to others the same year, and if your mileage is lower say so, as once again that may be uppermost in your buyers mind.
- If you have had defects repaired by the distributor say so in your ad. ( it lets your buyer know that you have been responsible as an owner even if it was years ago that you had it done.)
- State the colour of your car. You may be the only orange car in your area, and a buyer who wants an orange one goes to your ad first.
any extras or repairs you have had carried out. For example If you have an exotic car and have fitted a stainless steel exhaust system or very expensive tyres, give the detail to attract a buyer who is interested in better tyres or exhaust because they are looking for a car that has had improvements made to it over and above the manufacturers specifications.
- Mention any recently replaced standard consumables such as new tyres, brakes, muffler, shock absorbers as well.
- Make sure you use abbreviations so the ad doesn't cost too much if you are paying per word or character for any advertising in newspapers or other such advertising!
2006 Toyota Corolla
The advertisement that sells.
Your ad should read something like this.......
Toyota Corolla sedan auto 2006 blue. 39,000 miles, one owner dealer serviced, a/c e/win/ immob, t/glass. $8,000 ono
You will notice that the basic information is first, followed by the reasons to buy.
This layout is a little different to most ads, and tries to get the description a little unique even if it is by using the main description in an unusual order as I have above.
The usual ad for this car would probably be in this order.
Toyota Corolla 2006 sedan 39,000 miles, blue a/c e/win/ immob, t/glass. $8,000 ono One owner, dealer serviced.
[This is not meant to be a real advertisement, just an example of layout and structure of a car ad.]
Play around with the wording, to find what the buyer of your car thinks is important. Why did you keep it? What do you like about it most? Try putting those reasons to buy as well if you have the space.
Toyota Corolla 2006 sedan 39,000 miles, blue a/c e/win/ immob, t/glass. $8,000 ono One owner, dealer serviced. This model has a great reputation for reliability, is easy on gas and has never let me down. (if true)
Toyota Corolla 2006 sedan, blue a/c e/win/ immob, t/glass. $8,000 ono One owner, dealer serviced. This model has a great reputation for reliability, is easy on gas and has never let me down only 39,000 gentle miles.
Without being too corny, try to include something personal about the car that may appeal to your buyer, such as always garaged, driven gently.
I have even used "fastidiously serviced by fanatic" and found my Alfa Romeo a new home very quickly!
If selling a station wagon you could describe how the extra size has been useful, like "room to sleep 3 kids". You get the idea.
Interior controls and comfort
c/con or cruise cont
air/con or air cond.
e/seats or elec. seats
electric sun roof
e/win or e/w
f-fs/r or ffs/r
factory fitted sunroof
h/seats or htd/s
ps or pas
power assisted steering
anti-lock braking system
electronic stability programe
very good condition
liquified petroleum gas
Photo taken from front right hand side.
Photo taken fron the rear left hand side.
Photographing your car for sale online.
Many popular car websites have free and low cost online photo advertising which allows you to show your car to the buyer when you sell your car online.
Some of these sites allow only one photo.
- If this is the case take a full picture of the whole car from an attractive angle and as close as possible.
What photos to use and what works best?
If you can only put two photos in the ad, do the following.
a photo of the front that includes one side and front of the car as in the first picture.
- Take the second photo of the rear showing the other side and rear of the car as in the second picture.
Your buyer can now see the entire exterior of your car, and look at all the paint in just 2 photos.
Just remember to take the photos from opposite sides and from opposite ends.
A clear view
of all your exterior panels may be the selling edge you need in a two photo only sale!
Photo taken from back seat
Using makers promotions.
If you are able to do so on the site, put in more photo's.
- Make the next photo of the interior from the back seat with a good shot of the dashboard showing the car's mileage.
- Take another photo from outside the car of the interior front and rear.
On some sites photos should be re-sized first to suit fast loading on the internet but checked to ensure they are as clear to see as the original photo.
- You have now "walked" your customer around the car
and let him imagine themselves in the drivers seat.
- Your average cynical buyer can see that the car is in the condition the seller is saying in the written part of the ad, as well as being provided with confirmation of the colour.
- If you can locate dealer advertising material that promotes your car you may be able to use that as one of your pictures as well, such as this one for Subaru.
If you follow the steps above, you will increase the chances of selling your car quickly for the best price possible.
More by this Author
Where to start when buying a used or new car? Buying and selling cars and motorcycles for more than 30 years, I have a set of rules that I never break when buying and another set of rules for selling used cars.
Buying a used BMW 5 series can be tricky. The 5 series problems were mostly sorted under warranty.Here is how to pick a good one.
Troubleshooting the sounds your car suspension makes can save you a small fortune. Before you spend a dime, read this first.