How Selling a Car Works

Getting the Word Out

­S­ome people sell cars by word or mouth, but you may not find too many buyers within your circle of friends and family. That is why you have to advertise. There are a variety of places where you can advertise your car. Remember that some ads, such as those in the newspaper, cost money, while others may be free.

Here are some markets for advertising your car:


  • Online classifieds such as, or, where you can reach a geographically large area of buyers
  • Local newspaper classified ads
  • Local weekly papers and free newspapers, often found at supermarkets
  • Bulletin boards at supermarkets, libraries and college campuses
  • A ­"For Sale" sign in the car's window with your contact information

­It will probably benefit you to advertise in more than one place. Remember that once you place your ads, people will begin calling to inquire about the car. Many people are hesitant to leave messages, so do your best to answer any incoming calls.

Deciding where you want to advertise is one piece of the puzzle. The other piece, of course, is what to say about your car. To attract buyers to your advertisement, you will need to include your car's characteristics. These include the car's make, model, year, color and special features. You can check out other ads to use as a model for your own.

There is more to a winning ad than car specifications. Your ad should emphasize the most important selling points of the car. For instance, if the car has low mileage, say so! Use the selling points that first attracted you to buy the car. Is the car very reliable? Does it use fuel efficiently? These benefits should be emphasized in your ad, but only if they are truthful. Avoid exaggeration.

Finish up your ad by listing an asking price. (Some sellers choose not to list a price. This will result in a lot of phone calls from people asking for this information, who may not be looking to pay what you want for the car. It may just be easier to list the price in the ad.) Include your contact information and wait for the calls to come rolling in.