How to Sell Your Car Online

When it’s time to say goodbye to your old vehicle, you have many options. One of the most common ways to get rid of an old car or truck is to sell it online. However, to get the best price and avoid scammers, there are a few tips and tricks you’ll need to know about car selling on the Internet.

1. Find Out What It’s Worth

You won’t know what you can reasonably charge for your vehicle unless you know what it’s worth. The easiest way to do this is to check the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) values. This pricing source is what the majority of car buyers and sellers use. You can also use the KBB value and compare it with figures from other online used car appraisal tools, such as Edmunds.

The age, mileage, and physical condition of your vehicle determine how much it's worth. Making minor repairs like replacing tires and windshields can bring the car's value up. But if you’re getting rid of a car that needs a lot of work, you won’t want to sink more money into it than it’s worth.

If your car doesn’t run, has body damage, or is otherwise in poor condition, it might be easier to use a junk car buyer. We pay cash for junk cars so you can avoid the hassle of unnecessary repairs. Find out more here.

2. Take Photos

Car buyers will rarely take the time to drive out to you if they can’t get a good look at the car online first. If you’re selling online, you have a lot of competition from other sellers. Great photos will give you a better chance of connecting with a buyer.

Before you start snapping pictures, make sure you clean up the car. Remove personal belongings, take out any trash, wipe down the dash, and vacuum. Run it through a car wash or clean it at home.

A cloudy day is the best time for a photoshoot. You’ll want plenty of natural light but no glare. Avoid any dark shadows. The more angles you can get on your vehicle, the better. Don’t forget to photograph the trunk, interior, under the hood, and even the odometer!

3. Collect Records

It’s a good idea to have records of the service on your vehicle handy to give the new buyer. These will prove you’ve had regular oil changes and maintained the car.

These are incentives that encourage buyers to pick your car over a similar one. Service documents won’t close the deal on their own but might win over a buyer who’s on the fence. It would be best if you also looked into a vehicle history report. Entering the vehicle’s VIN on sites like Vin Records Finder will pull up the information.

You can also put your VIN in the vehicle listing. Doing this will let potential buyers take a look at the vehicle records too. Make sure to check it out yourself first, so there are no surprises when you meet the buyer. We buy junk cars regardless of the vehicle’s history.

4. List Your Used Car Online

At this stage, you should be all set to build your listing. Ideally, you’ll post your car or truck in a few different places. It’s good to be picky about where you post your ad. Craigslist is an easy way to list, but has a bad reputation.

Facebook can be a good resource if you’re looking to sell an average vehicle. Suppose your vehicle is a classic car, a collector model, or a luxury vehicle. In that case, there are specialty sites that draw buyers looking for those specific types of vehicles.

eBay Motors is another marketplace you can use. Depending on your starting sale price, you may be able to get more money from competing bids. This is the place to post as many pictures as possible.

Other options you could explore are Carvana, Cars.com, and Autotrader.

5. Answer Questions

Since cars are a big purchase, it makes sense that any prospective buyer will want to do a thorough check before putting in their best offer. Try to be patient with callers who ask a lot of questions.

Keep a list handy of the specs of your vehicle. If it’s a truck, buyers might want to know the towing capacity. If you have an SUV, a buyer might want to know how much cargo room it has.

If you have to be away from the vehicle during the day, have your schedule ready. If someone else is helping you sell the car, get an idea of their schedule also. When buyers want to inspect or test drive the vehicle, you need to know when to be available.

6. Test Drive

After the initial look, you might get a request to test drive the vehicle. However, you want to make sure the buyer doesn’t drive off with it for good until after they’ve paid. It’s not unreasonable to ride with them during the test drive.

If you don’t feel comfortable riding along with a stranger, you can ask for collateral. They’ll need their ID to drive, so you can request to hold onto the keys to their vehicle. You should also take a photo of their driver’s license.

Take precautions for your safety like meeting in the daytime, meeting in a public area, and texting the buyer’s information to a friend. Ask the buyer questions like who else will be riding along. Overall, trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, get out of the situation.

7. Take A Deposit

After you’ve done the test drive and any inspections, it’s time to finalize the deal. If the buyer is interested and asks you to hold onto the car for them, you can ask for a deposit. Once they put a deposit down, you should remove your listings and stop showing it to other potential buyers.

Asking for half the price of the car is more than reasonable as a deposit. Doing this can help you weed out the flakes and scammers. The more the person is willing to put down in advance, the more likely they are to come back and finish the deal.

8. Accepting Payment

You may eventually have to negotiate the price down from your original asking price. You can ask more for your vehicle initially to give yourself a cushion to negotiate. A few hundred dollars, depending on the overall value of your car, is expected.

Cash is ultimately the best way to get paid. That’s why we pay cash for cars. However, most people don’t feel comfortable carrying thousands of dollars in cash. In this case, you should be able to accept a cashier's check or payment through an app like PayPal.

Steer clear of anyone offering to pay with a personal check unless you know them well. If you’re selling to a friend or family member, a check is probably okay. Otherwise, it could be a costly lesson learned.

9. Check Regulations

Every state has its regulations for selling vehicles. For instance, some states require a bill of sale, even a simple one, for private party vehicle sales. Before you commit to any sale, be sure to check with your state's DMV. Have all of the necessary forms and documents ready for you and the buyer to sign.

The main document you need is the car’s title. Make sure you know how to fill it out correctly before the car sale. If your title is from another state from the one you’re selling in, there may be extra steps you need to take before you sell.

10. Don’t Get Scammed

There are a lot of different scams out there to watch for. It’s worth doing a quick search online to find out what the current scams are. You can check your state’s motor vehicle department, your local police department, and your state Attorney General’s office. A helpful article to help you avoid cashier's check fraud is this one on WalletHub.

Arrange payment at the buyer’s bank so you can easily verify funds. You can call the bank in advance to let them know about the transaction. Bring the car’s title and other paperwork with you.

Wrap Up

If you're looking into selling your car online, be sure to follow the above tips to have a successful sale. If you just want to get rid of a junk car and are looking for fast cash, go with a company you can trust to give you an honest estimate.

Our team at Carscrappers will help you get cash in hand quickly and efficiently. Contact us to get an instant cash offer for your vehicle.

Scroll to Top