10 Tips for Selling a Used Car Online

Selling your used car has never been easier (or potentially more lucrative) thanks to the Internet.
Selling your used car has never been easier (or potentially more lucrative) thanks to the Internet.

Your car has been good to you, or maybe it hasn't. Either way, now's the time for you to move on. Sure, you could be emotional and sentimental about it (we won't judge) but no matter how many miles the two of you shared or what you named it, when you're selling it, you want to get the most money you can get. It's nothing personal — just business.

If you take your car to a dealer, they're just going to turn around and sell it. To maximize his profit, he'll offer you less money. Listing your car online exposes it to a wider audience, which means more people who will potentially want to buy it. Selling a car online isn't without pitfalls, however. Here are ten tips that will help you sell your car online like a pro.

10: List it in the Right Places

It used to be that if you wanted to sell a car yourself, your only options were to put a "for sale" sign in the car window and/or take out an ad in the local paper. Now, however, there are numerous websites that are all but begging you to list your car with them.

Deciding which website depends largely on how you want to sell it. If you're comfortable with paying some dough for a site that gets a lot of traffic, a fee-based option may work for you. You might get the best price by going for an online auction site. Or, you may be most comfortable using a free classifieds site. Whatever you choose, make sure you understand and are comfortable with all of the terms and conditions that come along with listing your car there.

9: Know What You Have

Once people start contacting you about the car, they're going to have a lot of questions. You'd better be able to answer them. Even if you're not technically inclined, now is the time to find out what kind of engine it has, how many speeds its transmission has, what kind of gas mileage it gets, all of its safety features and the size of its cargo hold.

Be realistic about the amount of miles on the car and any possible repairs it might need. Worn parts, like tires, are something that car buyers aren't going to want to pay for. Do some research and decide if you want to fix your car up a bit before you sell or if you'd rather just sell it for a lower price.

8: The Price is Right

When you know what you have to sell, setting the right price is the next step. Sure we all want one million dollars for our cars, but you have to be at least somewhat reasonable. Price your car too high and you'll get ignored by buyers. Price it too low and you'll get a lot of responses, but you'll end up making less money on the deal.

To find out the right price for your car, do some research. See what similar cars with a similar mileage and condition are listed for in your area. Pay attention to the features and options those cars have. If your car is missing some of those, you'll want to list it at a lower price. If your car has features that other similar cars don't have, bump the price up a bit. Stay realistic, though — it's Bluetooth, not a Picasso.

One final note on price: Not all the extras you love on your car will appeal to buyers. A crazy paint job or shag carpeting may seem great to you, but they don't have a lot of mass appeal and may actually lower the price you get for your car.