How to Sell Your Car Quickly – What should you include in your classified ad to shift your car quickly? Read our guide on what information to include and how to present it
Anybody who’s ever sold a car privately knows that it can be a pretty agonising process. Dealing with timewasting buyers, keeping track of numerous websites and selling services, making sure you’ve taken all the right photos and got all the details you need – it’s a hassle, but it’s essential if you want to shift your car quickly and get a good price for it.
Selling a car quickly, especially in these days of online buying and Covid-secure collection, begins with a really great classified ad.
Making your advert stand out from the rest really comes down to four things – where it is, what it looks like, what information it contains, and what the price is.
Where to post a classified advert
There are dozens of places you may choose to sell your car, and each one is suited to different kinds of vehicles and different kinds of buyers. Some classified websites charge you to post an advert, while others do it for free.
First up, three of the largest vehicle marketplaces in the UK – Auto Trader, eBay, and Gumtree. These sites are suitable for selling anything from a £500 supermini to a £50,000 luxury saloon and having your advert posted to these three sites virtually guarantees it’ll be visible to a very wide range of prospective buyers.
Of these three sites, Auto Trader charges you to place the advert, eBay charges a range of fees including a percentage of the final sale, while adverts for private sellers on Gumtree are totally free.
Another free option that’s growing in popularity is Facebook Marketplace. Ideal for cheaper motors, Facebook is wide-ranging, though it’s notorious for timewasters and lowball offers – so grow a thick skin before posting on there.
If your motor is a classic or specialist vehicle then you may find it’s better suited to a more targeted site. Classics marketplaces such as CarAndClassic or ClassicCarsForSale provide a brilliant outlet for older vehicles, while sites such as PistonHeads are great for performance cars, specialist vehicles or modified motors. For high-value or particularly unique vehicles you could also consider listing them at an auction house.
How to price a classified advert
No matter how good your advert looks, if the price isn’t right, buyers won’t bite.
Many factors affect the price you can charge for your car, including but not limited to condition, mileage, optional equipment or even colour.
The first port of call is to get a find out roughly how much your car is worth. Sites such as Parkers.co.uk can do this for free, or offer a more targeted valuation for a small fee.
It’s then up to you to adjust that value depending on the condition of your car. If your vehicle’s been kept exceptionally well – garaged all of its life, serviced every year, never carried pets, etc. – then you can justify charging a bit extra. If the opposite is true and the vehicle’s a bit more tired, consider dropping the price.
Take a look around the internet for vehicles similar to yours and consider pricing similarly to these – though bear in mind that having a vehicle listed for a certain price by no means guarantees it will sell for that!
For a quicker sale, consider pricing your vehicle at the lower end of estimates. Everybody loves a bargain, after all. Be prepared for buyers to barter and don’t be afraid of sticking to your guns.
How to write a classified advert
The thing to keep in mind throughout is to get to the point. People buying a car want as much information as possible in as short a time as possible, and they don’t want to wade through paragraphs of text to get there.
Be wary of including buzzwords or slang, and don’t write a lengthy narrative either.
It’s recommended to include the following essential information right at the top of the advert:
Make and model of car
Year of manufacture
Engine information – petrol or diesel, capacity in litres, and number of cylinders
Type of gearbox and number of gears
How long the MoT is valid for
Number of owners
List of equipment
Concentrate on the features buyers are interested in and don’t waffle. If the car has a full manufacturer service history, then write that – you don’t need to list every service and date. Equally, don’t get too deep into the car’s exact specifications, as any owner who wants to can easily find those out for themselves.
When listing equipment, concentrate on features such as a leather interior, sat-nav or Bluetooth – items that buyers care about and not every car has. If there are any unusual features that set the car apart, such as luxury upholstery or practical options like a towbar, mention them.
It’s also good to include a genuine reason for sale, as buyers will want to know you’re not simply shifting the car on because it’s become unreliable or expensive to maintain.
If there are any problems with the vehicle that you can’t get repaired before selling, list them and be honest. It’s illegal to sell a car without disclosing any issues, especially those which may affect its roadworthiness, and even as a private seller you’re liable for major issues that may develop as a result of faults that weren’t disclosed. Tell the buyer everything.
Finally, make sure the advert makes sense, and run a spellchecker through it. If using a site such as eBay, ensure you’re using a legible font and that all the information is readable.
Words are only half the story – buyers want photos before they make any potential purchase, and within-person car viewings made more difficult and risky by the coronavirus pandemic it’s vital you include plenty of clear, high-quality photographs of your car.
Almost any modern smartphone will take good enough photos for a classified ad, but if you have an older phone consider using a dedicated camera instead.
Take your photos on a bright (but not too sunny) day, and preferably outdoors in an open, empty area. Make sure the car’s clean both inside and out, and remove personal effects including car seats before you take the photos.
We recommend including the following shots as a bare minimum:
A front three-quarter shot
A rear three-quarter shot
The interior dashboard
Rear seats (if present)
Dials/gauges with the mileage visible
At least one wheel (or a collage of all four)
Depending on the site you’re listing on, you may be able to upload significantly more photographs. We recommend using the full allowance to really show off every detail you can. That includes interesting features, but it also means taking clear, up-close photos of any defects so that potential buyers know exactly what they’re getting.
If possible, it’s also great to upload a walkaround video of the car so buyers can see it from every angle.
If you’re limited to the number of photos you can upload, make sure potential buyers know you can send them more on request.
Once you’ve followed these tips, your classified advert has the best possible chance of ensuring your car sells quickly and for a good price!