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What to Do When Selling A Car: 7 Easy Steps You Can Follow

By Kathleen Burgess


Updated on

Selling a used car doesn’t really have to be a stressful experience. As long as you know what to do before, during, and after posting your ad, you should be able to turn your used car into cash in no time.

To help you with that, here are the steps you need to follow in selling your car, negotiating with the right buyer and closing the deal.

Be Familiar With The Market

The very first thing you need to do is to know your market. One way you can do that is to check classified ads online and see how much other people are asking for your car type and model. You can narrow down the results by entering more specific criteria in your search. For example, instead of just searching for your car model, you can include its year in your search. Take note that mileage, condition, and your geographic location can affect your selling price.

Now, to sell your car quickly, you need to know how appealing your vehicle is and to what group of people you should sell it to. For example, collector cars can take a longer time to sell. They are also difficult to price most of the time but with the right buyer, you’ll find the best deal. Family sedans, on the other hand, are in-demand to people who want basic but inexpensive transportation.

Know The Competitive Price

After surveying classified ads, it’s time to determine the fair value of your car. While there are a few exceptions to pricing, you should try to follow your intuition and allow a little wiggle room in case your potential buyer negotiates the price. With that, try to ask slightly more money than what you are willing to accept.

For example, if you want to get about $14,000 for your car, you can list it at $15,500. Whether your buyer negotiates in big chunks or small increments, you’ll get something close to your desired price.

Now, here’s a tip:

Try to get creative in pricing your car. A car priced at $15,445 would be more appealing to buyers than a car at $15,500. However, if you are acting as a private party seller, you wouldn’t want to appear like a car dealer. With that, you can take the simple approach and place your car at $15,500.

Boost Your Car’s Curb Appeal

Your potential buyers will make their minds as soon as they have a first look at your car. With that, you have to make a good first impression.

Before you take pictures of your car and put it up for sale, make sure that it looks attractive and clean. Wash and vacuum the inside of your car and have it detailed. Make sure that there are no scrapes, dings or dents and get rid of all the junk inside it.

Clean and wipe the brake dust and make your tires look attractive by applying a tire gloss product. Your windows and mirrors should be spotless as well. Clean the dashboard and make sure to empty the ashtrays.

Know if your car needs a routine oil change. If there’s an issue, have a mechanic check out your car.

Know Where To Advertise Your Car

If you know that your car is in great condition, it’s time to put it up for sale. While you can try placing it on newspaper classified ads, putting it up online would be better. An online ad has a wider geographical reach. It can also connect you to a wider audience.

To start with, look for websites that allow sellers to advertise their used cars. Craigslist and eBay are good choices. You can also put your car on sale on your preferred social media platform. You can put it up on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and ask your friends and contacts to share your ad.

You can also try posting on online care forums. They usually have classified sections in which you can post your car. If you want to go old-fashioned, you can put a “For Sale” sign on your car window. You can ask your friends and family members to refer you to potential buyers as well.

Create The Right Ads

By now, you have a good idea of your audience and what they like. So, in writing your ad, be sure to think about them. Apart from your price, you should also include the year, model, make, and trim level of your car. Additional information like the color, condition, and mileage are helpful as well.

To establish credibility, it’s best to get familiar with terms car sellers often use. Also, try to know your vehicle as much as possible. That way, if a potential buyer asks you about a part or a particular feature, you’ll be able to answer it right away.

Respond Fast

Be sure that you are available to take calls and answer texts as they come. Don’t let potential buyers wait too long for a reply from you. Don’t forget to be polite as well. Answer questions honestly and establish trust and rapport. Create a good first impression as that will help you get potential buyers to see you and your car in person.

Show Your Car

As a potential buyer reaches out to you, be careful and use your intuition to evaluate him or her. If he seems pushy, difficult or shady, don’t feel the need to hurry the process. It’s best to be safe and wait for another buyer.

Now, if that buyer wants to test-drive your car, make sure that he has a driver’s license. Also, ride along with that person so that you can tell him more about your car and its performance.


Selling your car won’t be an easy process and it will take time. There are also a lot of steps you need to take to make sure that you get the right price for your car. However, with the right tips and information, you should be able to sell your car without any problem.

About Kathleen Burgess

Kathleen started her career in journalism writing about cars during her Journalism degree at CUNY and even though she didn't like it at first, she quickly became an ace, writing news, reviews and comparisons like one of the best car writers out there. Today she writes content focusing on the latest trends in the car industry, looking at sales, policies and green alternatives. Learn more about GCB's Editorial Process.

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