No car lasts a lifetime. Yes, it has been good to you and helped you in emergencies. But either way, time has come to move on. Parting with a car is often an emotional issue for most people. But pragmatism must prevail over sentiments. Selling your car online has emerged as an attractive option as you can reach more number of prospective buyers. Many people go paranoid over how to sell a car on the internet. There’s nothing to worry. Here are some tips.
Table of Contents
1. List your car in the right place
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Once, the only way to sell your car, was to hang a “For Sale” sign on the vehicle’s window. But not any more. Today, there are several websites where you can list your car. Now it depends on how you want to sell the car. Websites that attract a high volume of traffic may charge a fee. You can also go for an online auction site to get the highest price for your car. Or may be a classifieds site will suit you best. Whatever option you choose, make sure you are comfortable with its terms and conditions.
2. Know your car
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Strange as it may sound, many people don’t have a fair idea about their car. Once your car is listed, prospective buyers would contact you and ask several questions. You should be able to answer them. Even if you are not much of a technical person, now is the time to know the type of engine, transmission, the mileage it offers, safety features, cargo carrying capacity, and similar things. Be honest about the condition of your car, like whether it needs some repairs, or if the tires have to be replaced. You may have to fix some issues before you sell your car. Else, you may have to settle for a lower price.
3. Set the price
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Setting the correct price is the next step to follow while selling your car online. We all want to pocket the highest price. But setting a reasonable price tag is the wisest thing to do. A higher price attracts lesser number of buyers. A lower one attracts a lot of responses and you may end up making less money. Do some research while setting the price tag. Check out cars having similar condition like yours. If your vehicle has some features missing, put a lower price tag. The sale price also varies according to the brand. Fancy additions, like a weird paint or some carpentry, usually don’t attract entice buyers. These, in fact, may fetch a lower price.
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4. Clean your car
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Nobody wants to click on pictures of a dirty looking car. Clean your car even before you think of listing it. Buyers will have a hard time to see the interiors if the car is buried under a lifetime of parking lot stickers. Remove all trash items from the inside of your car. Vacuum clean the vehicle and spray some air freshener. Getting your car cleaned by a professional service is the best option. Wash and wax polish your car to forge a fresh look. Clean the wheels properly as these tend to accumulate the maximum dirt. Your car is more than merely a pretty face. But none will be interested to buy a stinky and ugly car.
5. Take a good picture
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The flipside of online shopping is that you can’t physically inspect a product. People rely on pictures. Once you have cleaned the car, take some good pictures of it. The pictures should be as detailed as possible so that buyers get to understand the real condition of the vehicle. But just some pictures of the interior won’t do. Take photos of the dashboard, the music system, and other accessories. Show the passenger seat and the luggage area. Turn on the engine while taking photos of the interior. This will help prospective buyers see whether there are any warning lights blinking. Take some photos of the engine as well.
6. Writing up
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This is probably the toughest part of selling your car online. Some hilarious advertisements read like William Shakespeare’s works. Cover the basics of your car and write in the simplest possible language. Mention the manufacturer name, model, version, and the year of production of the car, write the number of miles it has clocked and the mileage it gives. Disclose all repairs and maintenance issues. You should ideally have the maintenance records with you to get the best value. Include your mobile phone number or email. Don’t mention your address for safety reasons.
Also Read: 20 Best Places to Buy Cars Online
7. Have the paperwork ready
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Once you have listed for selling your car online, along with proper pictures, buyers will start contacting you. You must have all paperwork ready like the car’s title to prove that you are the legal owner of the vehicle. A sale bill for the buyer is required so that he/she can prove that the car has been bought from you. The bill is needed to register the car in the new buyer’s name and also to change the insurance papers. The registration should be current with all applicable taxes paid. Contact the motor vehicles department of your state and get all questions answered before a buyer comes knocking on your door.
8. Payment mode and terms
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Selling a car involves several thousand dollars. Most buyers are unlikely to carry that much cash with them. While selling your car online, state the mode of payment. At the same time, you have to protect yourself from fraudulent payments and scammers. Many websites will handle the payment on your behalf and will take their commission. If you are on your own, don’t accept personal checks. Even if you have to, don’t hand over your car keys until the check is cleared. You can ask the buyer to transfer the amount directly to your bank. Stay away from buyers who want to overpay by check and then ask you to payback the difference amount in cash. This is a common scam in the used car market.
9. Negotiate in public
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A stressful part of selling your car online is to deal with buyers you don’t know. While most of them won’t scam or hurt you, there could be crooks out there. You certainly won’t want such people to come to your house for inspecting the car. Meet probable buyers in a public place, maybe a coffee shop and take a friend along with you. If the person wants a test drive, he/she should leave something back with you to ensure his/her return. You should ideally accompany the person in the test drive. Ask for some identifying information from the buyer — a license tag or phone number — if in case anything goes wrong.
Also Read: 21 Must Have DIY Car Repair Tools
10. Remove your advertisement
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Take down your advertisement once you have sold your car. Websites that handle the sales and transfer of money, removes advertisements once the deal is complete. In others, you have to do it manually. Nothing could be worse than someone calling you at the dead of night inquiring about the car which you already sold some days back. Also, cancel your vehicle’s insurance after the sale is done. It makes no sense to pay for a car’s insurance that you don’t own.
That pretty much answers how to sell your car online. Go ahead and make the most out of your used car sale. Let us know if you have any queries.