Selling your car online isn't going to be the easiest process, but you can make a few extra bucks if you decide to sell your used car to a private party, rather than giving it as a trade-in. You have to select the right photos, provide an accurate description, figure out where to post and figure out how to weed out the people who aren't serious. It’s a serious task that can take a lot of time out from your (probably) already busy day.
That’s why I’m here to help.
When posting an ad for your car online, there are two main things that I find are the most important. These are:
1. Having an Accurate Description
2. Having Good Photos
There's no need to fret if your car isn't the hottest in the parking lot. An Instagram or iPhone filter can do some serious wonders to the biggest jalopy on the road.
Step 1: Writing Your Description
Having an accurate description is probably the most important aspect of posting your ad to sell your car. You want to make sure that you’re making your car sound as good as possible, while including any details that the new prospective owner should know.
Like that door ding that’s very well hidden in your photo, or the nasty stain under your floormat.
Let’s start with some of the things you should do when writing your description:
• Write Like an Adult: This means proofreading your description, checking for grammar and making sure you’re not using any abbreviations or slang. If you’re not the best writer, you can always ask a friend to proofread your ad copy before you post it. The easiest route, of course, is to spell check your description online of using Microsoft Word. Remember, you’re trying to sell your car to someone, not text-message them.
• Include Details: Every time that I have looked for a car online through Craigslist, I have always been turned off by a lack of details. Adding detail will definitely help stand you out amongst the crowed. By including descriptions of your vehicle you are showing the potential buyer that you’ve taken the time to carefully look over your car and that you keep up with your car. They won’t know that you haven’t changed the oil since last year.
• Make It Fun: This is just another thing that will help you stand out. A boring description is better than no description, and a FUN description could be the best. But try not to have too much fun.
• Format, Format, Format: Try not to have a block of text when you’re writing a description. Use bullets, numbers, bold fonts and anything else you can think of when writing your description so that it’s easier on the reader’s eyes.
Step 2: Example Description
Here’s a description I used when I was trying to sell my 2005 Cadillac CTS:
Looking for a luxury car without the luxury price? You've found the right car. This car is in great condition! This 2005 Cadillac CTS 3.6L has just under 71K gentle miles. I am the second owner, and have the maintenance logs from the previous owner. This car has been constantly serviced at Cadillac dealerships and is up to date on scheduled maintenance.
There are still 10 Months/10,000 Miles of warranty left. This warranty isn't a simple power train warranty; it covers pretty much anything mechanical and electrical. This warranty will be transferred with the vehicle unless you prefer not to, and the difference can be deducted from the actual sales price.
This car is very well maintained, both inside and out. I frequently wash and wax the exterior, polish the chrome wheels, clean the tires, wash under the hood, and ensure oil changes and maintenance repairs are done promptly.
Here are some of my favorite specifications/features:
3.6L V6 with 255 HP and 252lbs of torque!
This car is a fast and luxurious sports sedan!
5 Speed Automatic Transmission, RWD
New Yokohoma Tires and Chrome Rims (as of January 2013)
17 Gallon gas tank (26MPG HWY and 20 City)
Daytime Running Lamps
Keyless entry and motorized windows
Custom Billet Grille
Tilt-Wheel steering wheel with electronically adjustable drivers' seat.
Here's what I'm asking for the car:
$11,750 -- If you don't have that kind of money just sitting around in the bank, you can always look into an auto loan at your local credit union, I've seen loan rates for people with good credit under 1.9% APR.
Here's what you get:
The Cadillac CTS
The remaining amount of warranty(optional)
My bucket of car-detailing stuff in the trunk(optional)
Window Shade (optional)
2 sets of keys/remote and lockable gas tank cap with keys
Copy of all maintenance and repair records for the vehicle
Peace of mind knowing that you'll be safe, driving a luxury car, and still have warranty on your vehicle!
Step 3: Taking Your Photos
I’m no expert photographer, but if you follow some of these tips, you’ll help your car stand out a lot more than that 1997 Honda Civic pictured under a shade tree.
Here are some things to consider when taking photos of your car:
• Avoid Shadows: When you take a picture with a shadow on your car, or even an entire building shadowing your car, the car will just look hideous. Try fixing that with an Instagram filter.
• Get the right angle: Try different angles and heights when taking photos of your car. When you alter the height and angle of the photo you can help you car look like a completely new car. For example, in the photo included, my 2005 Cadillac CTS looks similar to a coupe, giving it an angular look and accentuating the natural angles of the car.
• Focus: You get the point here, right? Just don’t ever use a blurry photo. If you’ve got a blurry photo, take a new one.
• CLEAN YOUR CAR: No, you don’t have to go have your car professionally detailed, but please wash your car before you take photos. Better yet, if you can hand wax your car and shine your rims up, your car will look much better than before. I mean look at the freshly waxed body and rims on my car.
• Photo Filters: Applying that Instagram or iPhone filter to your photo can help you car look pretty, or tough, whichever you prefer. Don’t go overboard, I don’t want to see any sepia-toned photos of your car.
• Positioning: Before taking photos of your car, read up on a few photographer tips. Don’t have too much going on in the background of your car, and try not to have a bunch of other cars in the photo as well. Try playing with the positioning and differentiating the angles.
Well, that’s all I’ve got, but feel free to check out other great tips on my personal blog. Thanks for reading and good luck with selling your car!