A proper presentation could bring you top dollar!

Online Car Sales

by Sandra Ketcham

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Getting the Most Out of Selling a Car

Selling My Car

Whether you are a dealer or a private seller, listing your car online is a simple way to reach those buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for your vehicle. Using a website, such as EbayMotors , Autotrader.com, or Craigslist, eliminates the need to market your vehicle in local classifieds, taking much of the work out of selling your car. Selling a car online is not as easy as typing out a basic description and watching as the bids roll in, however. To attract bidders and ensure a successful auction, you must create a detailed listing, take clear and professional photographs of your vehicle, and communicate with your bidders to build trust.

Before creating your Internet listing, gather any essential information, such as your vehicle's VIN number, make and model information, engine type, and service records. Having this information within reach will help ensure your ad is as accurate and detailed as possible.

Word Your Description Carefully

A well-written and detailed vehicle description is vital to online car sales. In addition to listing the make, model, year, engine type, and transmission type of your vehicle, you must describe both the interior and exterior of your car in detail. Avoid trite terms and superfluous adjectives. Describe your car accurately and honestly, listing both positives and negatives. Point out any damage that is not obvious in your photographs, and inform buyers of any modifications or upgrades made to the vehicle after purchase.

When writing your vehicle description, list any options and special features, such as leather seats or extra speakers, especially if these features are not visible in your photographs. Offer to provide potential buyers with copies of your maintenance records, when possible, and detail current or past mechanical problems directly in your description. If your vehicle is still under warranty, mention this in your ad.

It is okay to highlight positive points about your vehicle, as long as you also include any important negative information. Most potential buyers will assume your car was serviced at some point and failing to mention prior damage or repairs can significantly decrease buyer confidence in your vehicle.

Use Photos to Sell Your Car

While most buyers will purchase a used vehicle online without test-driving it first, very few are willing to spend a lot of cash without seeing what they are buying. Unless you are an established online auto seller, potential buyers have no reason to trust your descriptions and every reason to doubt that your car is in good condition. Photos can sell your car for you.

Include as many photos as possible, and leave the images full size in order to show every detail. Take at least four exterior photos, including one of each side and a clear shot of the front and rear of the vehicle. You may want to test out different angles and locations to get the most flattering photos possible. If the exterior has any dings, dents, or scratches, take close shots of each damage site. Alerting shoppers to damage will help establish trust and increase the likelihood of a sale.

Clear photographs of the interior are equally important, especially if the car is an older model. Take shots of the odometer, stereo system, trim, steering wheel, seats, and dashboard. Do not forget to photograph the floor carpets, car ceiling, and trunk space. Try taking photos with and without a flash to minimize shadows. A single photo of the engine is generally sufficient.

Communicate with Your Potential Buyers

Developing a relationship with potential buyers will increase their trust and confidence in both you and your car. If you are using an online auction site, such as eBay Motors, communication can directly affect your profit. Contact new bidders to determine their location and pay preference and to answer any questions they may have. A single unanswered question may be holding your buyer back, resulting in a significantly lower bid on your vehicle. This is especially important if you are new to eBay Motors and do not yet have a positive feedback profile.

Answer any emails from car shoppers immediately, and post both the questions and answers to your online listing. This shows potential buyers that you are eager to answer their questions, and it offers additional information to other buyers who may have similar questions or concerns.

The success of your online car sales is directly affected by the level of trust and comfort your potential buyers feel when viewing your ad and communicating with you. An honest, detailed vehicle description and an abundance of photos will ensure your car sells for its true value.

Take the Next Step:

  • Get all the facts before you buy or sell a vehicle. Edmunds.com will give you what you need to know to make a confident deal.
  • Make sure you are not overpaying for auto insurance. See how much you could save with just a few clicks. Fast, free quotes and online comparisons.

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