You don’t have to be a professional car salesman to put your car on sale but selling your used car isn’t as easy as putting a “For Sale” sign in the car window either. With so many competitors either online or not, and many other factors to consider, you may seriously run into some concerns and difficulties without the right information on how to market your car effectively. So here are the things to remember when advertising your car for sale.
Assess your car, clean and dress it up
Never underestimate the power of first impressions. Many buyers will surely decide not to buy your car at first glance if it fails to look the part. So make sure to make your car more than just presentable and that means more than just washing it.
Make sure to free your car of all unnecessary items so when a prospective buyer takes a test drive, they can see the car as theirs. Also, invest in having it professionally detailed so the interior looks as close to brand new as possible.
Being detailed means carpets are going to be thoroughly vacuumed as well as the mats and upholstery. Having the clean up professionally done will also mean they will take care of cleaning the wheels, tires, and rims.
Pay close attention to any dents or scrapes and make minor repairs yourself or best to have a mechanic fix them at a minimal cost. That will be more sensible than explaining to a potential buyer the problems, which could cost you your selling opportunity.
And of course, assess if there are major problems with the car that you do not intend to repair. Be upfront that the car is being sold “as is” and have the maintenance records of the car handy and ready to show a buyer so that they know exactly when the next oil change, etc. will be. This will give potential buyers a good impression of responsible car ownership, and they wouldn’t hesitate to take over stewardship of the car.
Lastly, remember to acquire a vehicle history report and show the same to the buyer to prove the car's title is clean and the odometer reading is accurate.
Research on your Market
Find out if your vehicle is going to be easy to sell. Know the present demands of the market. Basic rules include higher demand for SUVs so you can price it better than family sedans. But take note that family sedans will always be in demand for those who need basic inexpensive transportation. In contrast to convertibles and sports cars that only sell seasonally.
Work trucks and vans will always sell like hotcakes so you can quote competitively. Collector cars although longer to sell have unexpected value but only if you find the right buyer. So it can be quite hard to price.
The key is to always check classified ads to see the prices of your competition. Take note that dealers price differently than private-party listings. Sort by the make, year, model, and trim level of your vehicle to see how many similar vehicles are presently on the market.
Now that you have already assessed your own vehicle, you will no longer have difficulties comparing its condition, mileage compared to other vehicles of the same geographic location. Also taking note of the competitor’s selling price you will be able to give your vehicle the best price and sell it more quickly.
Take Clear Pictures
It does not matter if you're selling your car digitally on a website, by social media, or by posting it on a bulletin board you always have to provide clear pictures of the car. Maximize the advertisement by providing an interior and an exterior view of the car.
Decide where you will be taking the pictures. Make sure to do it in a clear, wide space so you won’t find it hard to take a photo of the whole car. Make sure the area is well lit. See to it that your pictures are in focus and sharp.
Take a picture of your car’s positive details like for example, custom grilles. But also never try to edit out or conceal any flaws so potential buyers know what to expect or else you will be found out deceptive and of course likely get online reviews reflective of prospective buyer’s negative experience. You do not want to be tagged as deceptive.
Make sure your ad is effectively great.
After securing a good photo of your car, the next of the things to remember when advertising your car for sale is it’s time to create the ad. Once you have decided you are doing your marketing and sales privately or without the help of a dealership, it’s time to make sure that you have great advertising materials. Take note that you can do ads on local newspapers, free ads' papers, and notices on local shop windows.
Other sites and medium for car advertising include the following:
Message boards in online car forums that have classified sections where you can list your car.
Online classifieds like AutoTrader, CarGurus, and Cars.com are effective. You will be able to reach a huge number of serious buyers but the cost for this may go to about $45 for a fully-featured listing.
Social media: You may use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. You may do this for free but expect random callers that may not be serious buyers.
Peer-to-peer sites like Tred, Carvana, and Zipflip connect buyers and sellers and are a growing online platform in the used-car marketplace. Take note that each operates differently, so do check the sites for details, terms, and conditions of their services. These possibly include warranties, car inspections, and return policies for buyers.
Word-of-mouth: The old-fashioned way of telling your friends, co-workers, and family until it reaches the right buyer.
What should I put on my car ad?
Make sure to include important details like its photo, make & model, plate number, mileage, service history, color, year of registration, list of features, number of owners (if it’s positively low for the age of your car), warranty information and of course the best price you have decided on. Lastly, do not forget to put your contact details.
How do you write a good car ad?
Make sure that you provide a detailed description. The more relevant information you are able to include about your car’s features and condition, the more effective the ad will be, plus the fact that you will be spending less time having to answer individual questions over and over again because it’s not included in the ad.
Always make your advertising material clean, simple, and straightforward. Do not crowd your material with too many flowery words, unnecessary details, and crazy fonts. Make sure relevant details are easy to find at a glance. Have yourself in a buyer’s shoe and think about what you want to know if you are buying a car and communicate those details effectively. Create a punchy and informational advertisement. This is a crucial item of the things to remember when advertising your car for sale.
Besides the details already mentioned, it could also help if you write about why you're selling the car since it gives that personal feel. It also rids prospective buyers of unnecessary worries that you are only getting rid of a problematic car. And if it is in fact one being honest will still be able to help you find the right buyer who is willing to work on the car, given that the car is given a fair price.
Another of the things to remember when advertising your car for sale is to clearly indicate the price. Use the following abbreviations and phrases to communicate how you have priced your vehicle or to indicate your negotiating terms. Use words like “Asking Price,” meaning you are willing to negotiate; and ”OBO” which means “or best offer,” indicating that you are open for offers below the price indicated. On the contrary, write the word “Firm” to create the expectation that you are not willing to negotiate with the price.
Take note that you never list different prices. It does not matter if you’re putting it in different places. Imagine it being seen by a single buyer and the distrust it may cause. Also do not change your price every two days. Prospective buyers look at ads of vehicles they are interested in for several days or weeks. Changing prices will give them the impression you are not serious or your ad is not legitimate.
Do not forget to write about your vehicle’s good selling points, like good gas mileage, modifications you have made to the vehicle, and the like. Again, never overdo it. Avoid cliches like ‘first to see will buy' as the cliches will make you sound insincere and will sacrifice the genuine nature of the rest of the ad.
If you have to use abbreviations with the pressure of cost reduction due to word count of an advert only use the more common abbreviations such as PAS (power-assisted steering), AC (air conditioning), EW (electric windows), RCL (remote central locking), FSH (full-service history), and VGC (very good condition).
Include any warranty information like if your vehicle is still under warranty then specify if it is transferable. State if you have the paperwork, and also indicate what type of coverage your vehicle has and for how long. If your warranty does require a transfer fee, then mention whether you’re covering it or if it is going to be shouldered by the buyer. Also, check your documents since some manufacturers don’t offer the same warranty coverage for the second owners.
Carefully write an honest assessment of the vehicle’s condition. This will save you time in the long run as those who will be contacting you already know what to expect. This will also let buyers know you can be trusted. Also include the vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to show buyers that you’re not hiding anything, and again save yourself from having to respond to individual inquiries for it.
Disclosing the issues of the car readily also will save you from souring the deal. You don’t wait for prospective buyers to find something in an AutoCheck or Carfax vehicle history report themselves. Imagine an awkward pre-buy inspection where prospective buyers find out issues not formerly disclosed. Avoid wasting everyone’s time.
Again maintenance and service records are important. State that you have it. Have it handy for prospective buyer’s reference. Remember that a well-maintained car is a sought-after vehicle. It provides prospective buyers the added peace of mind knowing you took good care of your car.
Include in the ad the acceptable forms of payment, like what payment you will and will not accept like personal checks. Also, see to it that you verify certified checks or money orders with the issuing financial institution.
And lastly, do not forget to check for misspellings and for typo errors. Make sure the ad is polished and ready to go.
Also, take note to always include photos. Ads with photos always appear at the top of searches and will be viewed before ads without any. Do not list your car in too many places if you will not be able to manage too many inquiries.
Car for Sale Description Example:
When prospective buyers search for used cars online they will use keywords so make sure that you include them in your car for sale description ad. Use good buzz words that generate interest in today's market.
Example keywords: GPS system, fuel-efficient, sunroof, etc.
Use descriptive phrases that appeal to prospective buyers.
Example phrases: “Only one owner,” “good work truck,” “kept in covered parking,” etc.
Make use of descriptions that make the car more appealing and unique such as listing mechanical, engineering, and other updates.
Example: Upgraded audio speakers, custom grilles, new security system, new tires, etc.
Conclusion on Things to Remember When Advertising Your Car for Sale
Gone are the days when word of mouth was enough to sell. Consumers are more engaged and connected than ever before with information right at their fingertips. They can compare countless cars from their phone so it is important to make your ad stand out. That's one of the important things to remember when advertising your car for sale. With the right information, the right design, and the location of your used car advertisement the right buyer should be able to come to you in a jiffy.