Here's How to Sell Your Car Online

Category: Auto

When it’s time sell your car, many people turn to the Web to sell theirs. Here is a cogent guide to finding out what your used car is worth, and selling a car online...

How To Sell Your Car Online

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.

selling a car online

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...

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Most recent comments on "Here's How to Sell Your Car Online"

Posted by:

18 Mar 2020

I’ve used Craigslist a number of times to sell my cars. It was fine. Just exercise caution and remember that cash is king - no checks, certified checks, money orders, etc. Meeting at the potential buyer’s bank ensures a safe place and proper form of payment. It also provides the buyer some safety, since they will not have to carry a large sum of money to a transaction with someone they don’t know.

Posted by:

19 Mar 2020

You’re going to put thousands of dollars on the road with someone you just met. Better get a picture of your prospect and their driver’s license. Have the key in your possession when vehicle is not in motion. Inform prospect that they are to obey all laws (including speed limit).

Posted by:

Brian B
19 Mar 2020

Bob, I can think of at least half a dozen more "don'ts" you could have mentioned. In addition, and just for info, where I live, cash transactions of over $10,000 are totally illegal, and both the buyer and seller could go to jail if caught.

Posted by:

Ed Meurer
19 Mar 2020

The fastest way to sell your car is through Facebook Marketplace. Much faster than Craigslist and you can checkout the buyers credentials easier. Cash only, pickup in a public place, all the usual precautions. I've sold a Suburban, a golfcart, computer monitor and a lathe, all in a few days.

Posted by:

19 Mar 2020

Really Bob? C0VID-19 is running rampant and you blog on selling your car? wow!

Posted by:

19 Mar 2020

Yeah Bob! Really?
Since I am lacking the coding skills to make a C0VID19 detector app, I am thinking of marketing a rechargeable (Solar/USB) dual-fan hat which is C0VID19 -proof!
Would you please assist?🤔

Posted by:

Pamela J Hill
20 Mar 2020

Craigslist is no longer free. $5 per month for any article with a title.

EDITOR'S NOTE: See this page. Private parties can still post most items for free.

Posted by:

20 Mar 2020

"We buy any car". They're eager to deal. Will send you several email offers.

Posted by:

20 Mar 2020

Your link to Craigslist listed all the things that cannot be listed for free, including: Cars/trucks, RVs, and motorcycles by-owner in the US—$5

EDITOR'S NOTE: Phil, those fees are for dealers, not private sales.

Posted by:

Jorge Wilson
25 Mar 2020

Brian B. said, ". . . In addition, and just for info, where I live, cash transactions of over $10,000 are totally illegal, and both the buyer and seller could go to jail if caught."

Brian, where do you live? Here in the United States cash is still legal tender for all debts public and private even over $10k. You cannot go to jail for having/spending cash, but the police will steal any sums over $1000 using an illegal ruse called "asset forfeiture".

Posted by:

Danny G
07 Jan 2024,a%20statement%20to%20the%20payer.

General Rule For Reporting Cash Receipts
The Internal Revenue Code (IRC) provides that any person who, in the course of its trade or business, receives in excess of $10,000 in cash in a single transaction (or in two or more related transactions) must report the transaction to the IRS and furnish a statement to the payer.

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