Thinking about getting a new car and getting rid of the one you have? Oftentimes, selling a car on your own can lead to a higher purchase price for your vehicle. But a lot of people glaze over that option because it doesn’t seem manageable. With tips for how to sell your car for beginners, we’re here to convince you otherwise!

The stressful mentality stereotype

The thought of selling your car on your own might seem like too much to handle, but it can be quite an easy process that will leave you with some extra money in your pockets. And, especially with today’s technology like social media and internet sales websites, car-buying and selling is as easy as ever. Now, don’t get us wrong… Going to a dealership and buying a car and simply trading in your old car has its perks. It doesn’t require any work on your car, and there’s definitely a price that can be put on that. The dealership takes a look at the car you’re thinking of getting rid of, puts a price on it, and then offers to take it from you right then and there, making it even more attractive to drive away with the new vehicle you’ve been looking to purchase.

Remember, dealerships will most likely give you what your car is worth minus a couple thousand. They’re in the business of making money, and giving you less (most likely) than what the car is worth. For those who don’t mind and can’t stand the thought of selling their own car, then do it! But for anyone else who might want to recoup as much money as he/she can, then we have some tips and tricks to make it a smooth process.

The internet is your friend

Need we say more? Before you do anything else, pick up your phone or laptop and do some research! Look through different search engines and websites, and get to know the worth of your car. You’ll need a general idea of its worth before you can start marketing it to sell. Is your interior nicer than all of the others you see online? Is it more damaged? Does your car have upgraded wheels while the others don’t? Has it ever been in an accident? Compare and contrast all of the cars that are the same make, year, and model, and then plus/minus a year or two. Get a general idea of what you’re going up against so that you can list your car for top dollar. 

Pick a price point

Once you’ve finished your research and you have a general idea of the worth of your car, determine the price you’re going to list it at. We do have to warn you, setting the price too high will scare many buyers away. Picking a price that is both fair and slightly conservative will generate a higher amount of traffic. We want you to get the highest price possible for your vehicle, but we also don’t want you to sit around for weeks or months with no interest in the car. Ultimately, you need a number that gets the people going, so to say.

Channel your past-life photographer skills

Great quality photos of your vehicle are so important!

No, seriously…guys…believe us. When figuring out how to sell your car for beginners, start here.

More potential buyers will be attracted to your listings if the photos you posted are good quality. Whether you have an iPhone or you hire an actual photographer, make sure you’re getting good angles with good lighting. Nobody wants to click on a car for sale website and see three measly pictures of a black car at night time… That just screams, “I don’t care if you buy my car; whatever.” Make sure you take a lot (at least 20) of photos of the car’s interior and exterior! Go the extra mile here! It’s an easy way to let car-buyers see as much as possible about your car. This will make them want to inquire.

Back to the internet…and apps

You’ll be using the internet for most of your selling extravaganza. It just makes the most sense considering that’s where the most amount of people are looking to buy used cars. Start with websites like Craigslist and Autotrader. These websites are super low cost for you to post your car on, and they generate a lot of traffic. After a few days, regroup and see how many inquiries you’ve gotten. If none, re-evaluate your listing price (it’s probably too high — we all start too high in the beginning, don’t stress).

Also, consider listing on phone apps. You’d be shocked at how many people are car-shopping on apps like OfferUp, Turo and eBay. It only takes a few minutes of your time, and then you have your car up for sale on multiple different platforms, ready to take on the world. 

Sell your car for beginners: It’s really that simple

From there, communicate with buyers, negotiate the pricing, and allow people to come and see it and take it for a spin. Have fun with it! This doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Before you know it, you’ll have sold your car and kept that extra few thousand that a dealership would have squandered out of you.

You’ve gone from how to sell your car for beginners…to how to sell your car like a pro!

Cristofer Montel
Cristofer Montel is a South Florida Native, swearing that Boca Raton is much more than just a retirement destination for Northerners. He went to Florida State University for his Bachelors degree and then on to Nova Southeastern University for law school. In his spare time, he scrolls through pages and pages of car content on Instagram. When he’s not drowning in legal work, he writes for a marketing and advertising consultancy

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    9 Comments

    1. Selling yourself online also offers alot more flexibility, especially if your car is on the older side.

    2. Make sure you get it checked out too. Replacing little things like headlights it taillights can increase the value

    3. I don’t think I’ll ever want to sell my car, but this is good to know.

    4. great article !

    5. I have never sold a car before. I will fix up my car and drive it a few more years. But when I a ready for my next car I will be attempting to sell it. I know I won’t get much for it. But I already realized that selling at the dealership would not be my best option. This article had some great pointers.

    6. selling vs. trading also has a lot to do with how new your car is and the value. On a more expensive car, the tax savings can be thousands of dollars, maybe as much as the little extra, you will get selling on your own.

    7. When considering to sell privately of trade-in, don’t forget to consider the sales tax savings. When you trade-in, that amount is deducted from the amount you will have to pay sales tax on for the new vehicle. Usually, it still works out better to sell privately, but it should be considered.

    8. Whenever you sell a vehicle, do not have and personal items or junk in the vehicle. Clean your car, replace what is absolutely necessary, and be honest to people in your listing. You have more flexibility when someone shows up to see the vehicle. If you try to get away with selling something that you did not disclose, the potential buyer would not have considered the vehicle in first place. You will save yourself a lot of time.

    9. The internet has made it so easy to buy sell and trade. I have purchased multiple cars on the internet. When its time to sell my car I am hoping to have the same experience I did when purchasing, quick and easy.

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