2021 was the year of the used car in America. With the pandemic and semi-conductor shortage badly impacting new car sales, 40.9 million used cars changed hands in 2021 alone. 2022 is predicted to continue in the same way.
If you're considering selling a car, now is probably one of the best times to do it. If you sell to a local dealer, you'll probably sacrifice price for convenience. But when you sell a car online, you can achieve a great price and the process is simple.
There are lots of websites out there offering to advertise your car. But which are the best car selling websites? And what's involved in selling a car online? Let's take a closer look.
How to Sell a Car Online
There are two main ways of selling a car online. The first is to use a service like Autotrader. This allows you to create your own advertisement for your vehicle and then list it, reaching an audience of millions.
You will then have to be your own used car salesman. Members of the public will contact you and arrange to view and test drive the car. Be prepared for some tough negotiations!
Your second option is to sell a car online to a dealer, through a service like Nexus. You simply enter your VIN and provide a few details about the vehicle. They then forward the details to dealers, who make you an offer.
You either accept, decline, or negotiate. If you accept, Nexus will arrange for your vehicle to be collected and the paperwork to be completed.
The Most Effective Way to Sell a Car Online
The definition of effective depends on your goal in selling your car. This will determine where to sell a car online.
Best for Speed
Sometimes, you just need to say goodbye to your ride and hello to a few much-needed bucks. In that case, you could sell your car to a company that provides an instant cash offer. You may also be able to accept a trade-in credit at a local dealer instead.
One example is Kelley Blue Book. They work in partnership with Autotrader and you can also access the service directly through their website. You input your VIN and answer questions about the condition of the car.
You get an instant cash valuation and they connect you with a local dealer. You go through the same questions again and as long as everything matches, you'll receive your payment for the vehicle.
Other services such as givemethevin.com, vroom, and ALgo provide similar arrangements and will collect your car for free.
Best for Getting the Price You Want
There are times when you're not in a rush to sell your car. You're happy to wait a little while if it means achieving the best price for it. Maybe you've put a lot of time, attention, and money into the vehicle and want to see some return on your investment.
In this case, some of the best car selling websites are Autotrader, eBay, Cars.com, and Craigslist.
All of these options put you in touch with individuals. There are people out there who would rather buy a car privately. They may appreciate the in-depth knowledge of the vehicle the current owner has and value the time to talk things through.
If you're not in a rush, there's no need to accept low-ball offers. You can wait until the right buyer comes along. The disadvantage is that you're competing with a huge amount of other sellers and dealers.
Making your car stand out from the crowd can be difficult. You need to spend time honing your description so that it's clear, accurate, and appealing.
Also, take your time with the photos. Read a few articles on how to photograph your car to sell online first. It's an investment that's likely to pay off.
Best for Damaged/Current Loan Cars
It can be hard to get rid of a damaged car, one that's in negative equity, or has a loan attached to it. But there are sites out there, such as Carmax and ALgo, that will take them off your hands. They will even take salvage titles.
Your car will have to undergo a vehicle inspection at one of their outlets, so don't expect to earn big bucks for it.
Prepare Your Car to Get the Best Deal
Whether you sell to a private buyer or a dealer, relatively minor dents and scratches can cost you big time.
Look into the cost of getting these repaired and the cost of getting your car detailed. If your car's not worth the expense then at least thoroughly clean it inside and out and wax it yourself. It's especially important to make sure it looks its best in the photos.
Once it's clean, take it to a nice location for a photo shoot. It doesn't have to be a swanky hotel, just somewhere that focuses attention on the car and not the surroundings. Also, be careful not to take photos in full sun, because the glare will not give a true reflection of the appearance of the car.
How to Negotiate
This can be intimidating, but the key is preparation.
Start by knowing the value of your car. Research this using tools like Kelley Blue Book and Autotrader. Look at what price similar cars are being listed for and have confidence in your convictions.
Decide on the minimum price that you'll accept before going into the negotiations. Then you won't be wrongfooted by a low-ball offer and feel pressured to accept.
The Most Effective Way to Sell a Car Online
The best way to sell a car online depends on what you want to achieve.
For a quick sale, you can't beat instant offer companies. You can complete the deal in a matter of days and some of them will even collect the car for you. If you want to hold out for the best price, a private listing on a classified ads site is probably the best bet.
Interested in selling your car to a dealer? Check out our car selling service today!