So you want to sell your car… The good news is there are some excellent online resources to help you find a buyer. Let’s take a look at a handful of websites that will you guide through with the process, and help you avoid the potential pitfalls.
First, you need to determine what price to ask. The Kelly Blue Book is the gold standard for used-car valuations, and you bet it’s available online. The Blue Book values are based upon surveys of used car dealers’ and private advertisers’ asking prices. That means your car’s Blue Book price is the high end from which you will start negotiating with potential buyers. Don’t expect to get the Blue Book price for your car. Also, be honest with yourself; if the car is in “fair” condition don’t ask for the “good” price. Online shoppers will do their own research and pass you by.
Another good source to help you put a dollar value on your used car is Edmunds, which takes into account the mileage, features, color and other features of your car, to calculate a Total Market Value bottom line. They show you the estimated “street price” as well as the price a dealer is likely to offer.
Next, you must decide where to advertise your car for sale. There are plenty of options, some free of charge and others available for a fee.
The autos-and-trucks category of Craigslist is extremely popular among buyers and sellers. It costs nothing and it’s targeted locally. You can tag your car by make, model, and year; and by price range and location. There are a few things to bear in mind when selling on Craigslist.
Craigslist just gives you a blank page without any help composing your ad. Be sure to include all the particulars that you would look for if shopping for a car: year, make, model, even more specific style (i.e., 2017 Ford Explorer Limited AWD). You can upload up to four photos, and you should photograph the car from all angles. Spare people “the story” behind your reason for selling; nobody cares how tragically broke you are.
CarGurus is a popular (and perhaps the largest) website to buy or sell a car. You can get a good idea of what your car is worth by looking at other listings for cars similar to yours. You can also entering the make, model, year, trim, and mileage of your car in the CarGurus value calculator, and list your car for sale for $29.95.
eBay Motors is a good marketplace for local and nationwide car sales. It costs money – a non-refundable fee just for listing the car, plus a percentage of the ending price. The good thing about eBay Motors is that it gives the novice car seller lots of help deciding what price to ask and how to advertise the car to best advantage. eBay also has a reputation for being a “safe” place to buy without getting burned (too often), so buyers are more likely to come forward. You can list a car on eBay as an auction, if you can’t decide what to charge.
Auto Trader is a famous magazine for car sales ads distributed throughout the United States. It has an online counterpart where you can research prices and list a car. But frankly, I wouldn’t sell a car through this outfit. Their ad packages range from $25 to $90, but they’ll nickle and dime you for extras that come for free at other sites.
TrueCar helps you get the value of your car by entering the license plate or VIN number. If you’re ready to sell, you can get a True Cash Offer which is good for three days at a dealer near you. For some, there’s a feeling of safety that comes from selling to a dealer, but you’re likely to end up with less cash for your car.
There are some scams to watch out for when selling a car online. Many people have lost their cars and money out of their bank accounts by listening to a “buyer” who has an unusual story. Use common sense, and don’t let greed to sell your car make you stupid.
Never tell a prospect where you live and keep the car. Arrange a meeting to show and test-drive the car in a busy public parking lot. If you can avoid going alone, do so. Never meet a stranger in a dark place. The parking lot of a police station, or somewhere that has obvious security cameras are good choices. Make sure someone knows where you’re going, when you’ll be back, and what to do if you don’t come back on time.
Accept cash only, or use eBay’s recommended escrow service. Even certified checks and postal money orders are being counterfeited these days. Never, ever, “make change” for a payment that’s larger than your selling price; that is, do not give any money to the buyer, no matter what story he tells you.
Selling a car online is no riskier than selling it through a newspaper ad. Just use good common sense and arm yourself with information before you begin.
Do you have something to say about selling a car online? Post your comment or question below…