by Shannon McInerney
Selling a classic car online does not have to be expensive. There are ways to list your car for sale online that will cost you nothing. Reaching a broader audience than just a “For Sale” sign in the window, online sales listings can reach car enthusiasts around the world. Be prepared to say goodbye to your classic car when the bids start coming in.
Preparing Your Listing Materials
Photograph your classic car. Take high-quality, detailed photos of the entire car, including both interior and exterior shots. Use a professional photographer if your photography skills or camera equipment cannot produce high-quality pictures. Use photo editing software to touch up photos if necessary. Do not misrepresent the condition of the car by editing out damage with the use of photo editing software.
Document damage, wear-and-tear, and modifications to the car with photos. Take pictures of the dashboard, zooming in on the odometer to verify mileage. If there has been custom work done on the car, show the customizations with photographs. If there is damage, such as a ding or scratch, place a ruler next to the damage to give scale to the photo.
Gather all of the history and information related to the car. This information should include car specifications (specs), damages and problems, restorations and modifications, accident and previous owner history, maintenance history, and any other relevant information about the classic car. The car title, bill of sale or transfer forms, safety and emissions receipts, and registration are also necessary. Verify that the car has no outstanding tickets.
Research the current market value of the classic car and determine your asking price. (See below: “Determining the Market Value of a Classic Car”). Determine what will be the minimum you will accept for the car as well. Compare your asking price against other similar cars for sale on the Internet.
Listing Your Classic Car in Free Online Classifieds
Research the web for online sites that offer free ads for selling your car. Doing a search for the keywords “sell my classic car” will turn up a variety of websites to choose from.
Choose the sites you want to list your car with. Some free sites include: Craigslist–Every city has a “For Sale” section, under which there is a “Cars and Trucks” section. Craigslist ads run for seven days and you can only place your listing under one city at a time. Collector Car Ads–Placing an ad on this site is free with registration (also free). Click on the ‘”Create Ad” form to add your listing, with up to four photos. Ads are valid for up to six months. Auto Explosion–There are no fees for posting your ad, but adding extra features to make your listing more visible will cost extra. Buzz Trader–Register for a free account and your ad is free. All ads run until the vehicle is sold.
Follow the directions on the site for placing a listing. Be sure to read all the rules and terms and conditions for the site. The more detailed you make your advertisement, the better the responses will be. Include all the information you gathered about the car in your listing.
Listing Your Classic Car in Online Car Enthusiast Forums
Research the web for online car forums for classic car enthusiasts. Doing a search for the keywords “classic car forums” will turn up a variety of forums to choose from.
Read through the forums and decide which ones would be appropriate for advertising your car on.
Register with the forums of your choice (free). Read through the terms and conditions of listings for the forum, as each site may have different rules.
Follow the steps on the forum for listing your car on the site. The more detailed you make your advertisement, the better the responses are likely to be. Include all the information you gathered about the car in your listing.
The Final Sale
Agree on a final sale price with the potential buyer. Draft a bill of sale, along with any terms and conditions that apply. If you have decided to sell the car as is, note this on the bill of sale in clear terms.
Determine the method of payment. Certified checks and cash are a reliable form of payment. Online banking sites, such as PayPal, are also a reliable form of payment that allow the buyer to pay with a credit card or banking account. You must have an account with PayPal to accept this method of payment. Wire transfers, personal checks, and installment pay plans are not recommended.
Complete the bill of sale document and keep a copy for your records in a safe place. Give the new owner at least one copy of the bill of sale.
Transfer the title to the new owner and keep a record of the transaction.
Cancel your insurance coverage on the car once the sale is complete and the new owner has taken full ownership of the vehicle. Verify that the new owner has purchased insurance on the vehicle, if applicable.
Prepare the car for turnover to the new owner by removing all personal items in or on the car that were not included in the sale. These items can include portable GPS systems, storage accessories, seat covers, CDs, license plates, first-aid kits, and tools. Remove old inspection stickers, parking permits, and registration stickers.
Set up a time for the new owner to pick up the car once payment is received and the car is ready. Verify the driver has a valid driver’s license, registration, insurance, temporary or permanent license plates, and a copy of the bill of sale or title at the time of pick up.
- 1. Thoroughly wash and detail the interior and exterior of the car prior to taking photos for the sales listing. Dirty cars show neglect and reduce offering prices.
- 2. If you cannot hire a professional photographer or do not have camera equipment, most camera shops will rent you equipment for a nominal fee. Another option is to contact a local school to hire a photography or graphics student to take the photos and edit them for you.
- 3. Address minor problems with the car, fixing them prior to listing the car. Minor problems can end up costing you more in the long run, lowering the purchase price more than the actual cost of the repairs.
- 4. Visit a mechanic for an inspection. Provide quotes to potential buyers for any work you are unwilling to fix yourself.
- 5. Have a car history report ready for potential buyers. Websites like Carfax can provide these for a fee.
- 6. Using a broker may speed up the process of selling your car, as well as increase the final sale price.
- 1. Never misrepresent the car you are selling in a sales ad or in person. Be sure to give potential buyers a complete history of the car and accurately describe the details.
- 2. Read all the rules and terms of agreement(s) for the websites you are listing on prior to posting your ad.
- 3. If the buyer wants to pay with a personal check, allow time for the check to clear prior to turning over the car to the new owner.
- 4. Steer clear of advertising your classic car for a “best offer” price, as you will receive many low-ball offers that will distract you from better potential buyers.
- 5. Keep a detailed record of the entire process for taxes and future reference.
Items you will need
- Internet access
- Car title
About the Author
This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.
- classic car image by itsallgood from Fotolia.com