How To Sell Cars Online

Dustin Hawley | Sep 12, 2022

Everyone sells everything online, and cars are no exception. If you’re looking to raise cash by selling your old car, online listings can be a great way to close a favorable deal faster. However, there are several pitfalls you risk running into if you try selling your car online without knowing what to do.

how to sell a car online

Trust is important in such a high-value transaction, and building this is key to making a safe, fast, and fair online car sale. In this article, we’ll be helping you to learn everything you need before selling your online. Let’s get started!

Preparing Your Car

First things first: The car you’re selling should be serviced and in good working condition. If you need to do any repairs, consider that before listing your vehicle. Doing this will ensure that it’s in optimal condition, allowing you to set a higher price. 

Make sure to pay attention to the exterior and interior of the car. Repair scratches or dents so that the car looks clean and can attract buyers quickly. Give the interior a good wipedown, too!

You also want to get all the paperwork ready before the sale. Find all documentation and keep it in an easy-to-access file. It also helps to have a complete repair history of the vehicle. Though not a requirement, it can help establish trust.

Assess The Condition And Price Of Your Car

What is your asking price for the vehicle? Your selling price depends on how old the car is, how many miles are on it, and its general condition. The resale value also depends on the make and model of the vehicle. In fact, some vintage and luxury cars actually appreciate over time. 

While you could appraise your vehicle’s value by yourself, we suggest leveraging expert advice. Many companies will assess your car and give you a rating based on the car's condition. They will also be able to help you determine the price of your vehicle. 

List Your Car On An Online Platform

The next step is finding potential buyers! This may sound tricky, but modern e-commerce platforms give you many options, from online platforms like J.D. Power to a simple Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace listing. 

You’ll need to consider a few factors when picking the right platform. These include, among others:

  • The cost of a listing
  • The platform’s commission or cut
  • The cost of promoting your listing on the platform

The content of your listing is a critical factor to consider. You should only add authentic information and post real images of your vehicle. 

Meet The Buyers

Most genuine buyers will want to meet up before they decide to buy a car. It is also likely that the buyers will bring along a mechanic to inspect the vehicle properly. Keep in mind that this isn’t the case when you’re using “touch-free” platforms like Carvana. 

Potential buyers will also usually want to verify documents to ensure that the details are all in order and take the car out for a test drive. This is also when buyers often try to negotiate your rate. You’ll need to be prepared to handle these conversations. Understanding the value of your car and general market trends will allow you to settle on a “sweet spot” price point close to buyers’ expectations while ensuring that you’re also getting a good deal.

Having a documented history of the car with all the receipts or copies of repairs and accidents will help in making the process much smoother. The cleaner your paperwork, the better!

Sale Documentation

Legally transferring ownership of your vehicle includes signing over the title deed and the buyer obtaining a title deed in their name. Getting this right is essential for both your and the buyer’s safety. Documentation and more paperwork will follow. Some states might have additional procedures like liability release, title transfer forms, or mileage or damage disclosure. Approach the local DMV to know what documentation you need for the sale. 

Handing Over Your Car 

And now for the bittersweet moment. Once the sale is complete, you can safely hand the car over to the buyer. It helps to have a signed declaration from them that they have received the vehicle in proper condition so that you don’t face legal issues down the line. 

It’s also critical to ensure that the buyer pays you according to the mutually agreed terms. Ensure that the buyer pays you the agreed amount in the agreed format. Ensure that you have received the payment before handing over the car unless you’ve previously discussed and decided upon this specific arrangement. 

Summary

Navigating the sale process for your car online can be tricky. Having proper documentation is a critical part of this whole process. Ensure that you have appropriate records of your vehicle, including original receipts for when you bought the car and any service records. 

Buying a car is an important decision, so you need to be able to inspire trust in your buyer. Take the time to do things right: get your car serviced and cleaned, have your paperwork in place, and educate yourself before getting started.

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