Guide: Selling Cars Privately
Selling a car privately can have huge rewards: a much higher price than trading it in at a dealer. This guide covers tips and steps for creating that perfect online ad to make your vehicle stand out and attract buyers.
Most online platforms for selling cars allow around 10 - 12 photos.
- Always take high quality images in daylight
- Clean the car before taking photos
- Try to include as much of the vehicle as possible
- Do not cover or block areas
- Avoid anything in the background that could deter buyers like other damaged vehicles
- Blur your registration plate to prevent plate cloning*
*Plate cloning is when criminals find a make, model and colour of a car identical to one they may own / possess and ‘clone’ the car with fake registration plates. They then drive on tollways without paying or commit offences misleading authorities to contact the genuine owner.
Here are some examples of ideal photos for your online advertisement:
Photo 1: Front / Side (Cover Photo)
Tip: Make sure front wheels are angled facing camera. Example:
Photo 5: Front. Example:
Photo 7: Engine Bay. Example:
Photo 9: Controls / Gauge Cluster
Tip: If ‘Low KMs’ is a quality of your car, include the odometer reading as proof. Example:
Extra Photo: Back Seats
Extra Photo: Tyres
Tip: If your tyres are new, mention them in the description
List your vehicle’s selling points. Think about who or what your car is designed for, eg: a family, a city run-about, a sports or performance car, off-roading or commercial use, etc. List the features in an order that’s attractive to a buyer in the market for your car.
- Make sure abbreviations are clear, eg: ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control)
- Add common features (power windows, A/C, Bluetooth, etc) further down the list
- Don’t add features that all cars have, eg: AM/FM radio, adjustable driver’s seat
Sports / Performance Car:
Buyers will already know the make, model, year, location and likely the transmission and odometer reading from your title. The description should be specific to your car and aimed at people interested in that make / model. Note that most online platforms allow users to rate sellers so be honest and list any damage to avoid people leaving negative comments.
- Aim for around 10-15 sentences - too short and buyers won’t get enough information, too long and they’ll lose interest.
- Do not mention obvious red flags, eg: ‘Never crashed’ or ‘Never been stolen’.
- Do not include aggressive comments, eg: ‘Low ball offers will be ignored’, ‘Scammers go away’ or ‘No test pilots’ (instead, say: ‘Serious buyers only’).
- Begin with your reason for sale, followed by suitability / standout features (eg: ‘Selling due to growing family).
- Some buyers prefer to swap other vehicles, be sure to let them know if you’ll accept swaps and what kind of vehicle you’re looking for.
“Selling as I now have company car. 2 years manufacturer warranty remaining, over 3 months rego. Economical and easy to drive, perfect for first car / daily commute.
I have owned this car since new, always serviced as per log book (included). Roof racks and cruise control make it perfect for weekends away. Interior presents like new. Exterior has minor shopping trolley marks - priced accordingly.
Passengers will love multi-zone climate control, power sunroof, 8 airbags and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto. Tyres only 2 months old. First to see will buy, no swaps - cash only. Non-smoker owner with no pets. Contact me for more info / to arrange a time to inspect.”
Contact with Sellers:
Make sure to respond as soon as possible and treat every potential buyer as genuine. Avoid confrontation and be diplomatic - as mentioned, many platforms allow users to rate sellers.Tips:
- Be prepared for buyers who don’t arrive on time or don’t contact you back.
- Treat low-ball offers with a ‘thanks but no thanks’ approach.
- If buyers request a professional inspection, allow them to do so at their own expense.
- If you don’t feel comfortable having strangers at your address, meet in a public car park, service station, etc.
- Make sure to fill out any paperwork as per your state’s requirements (check a government website if unsure).
Selecting a price is, of course, critical. Get an idea of prices by searching for similar vehicles online. Almost all buyers expect to negotiate on price so allow some wiggle room.
- Keep your price realistic, buyers don’t pay for a vehicle’s sentimental value to an owner.
- To keep negotiable increments low, have your price end in a $50 multiple or less, eg: $17,450 or $9,880. Prices ending in $1000 or $500 (eg: $20,000 or $10,500) tend to be more difficult to negotiate.
Time for a New Car!
After selling your car and (hopefully) getting top dollar, you’ll be in the market for a new set of wheels. Positive has you covered. Check out our car loan calculator to get an idea of what rates look like or read some comprehensive car reviews if you’re still searching.