Best platform for selling used car?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
Hubris
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:55 pm

Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Hubris »

I’m looking to privately sell a lightly used compact car (5 yrs old, 17,000 miles) here in a town of about 50,000. No CarMax etc here. Any recommendations about better or worse (easier and/or more efficient) platforms such as craigslist, eBay, newspaper, autotrader, etc?

And, any user/seller tips, either generally or specific to a platform?
02nz
Posts: 5505
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by 02nz »

Craigslist. Be prepared for scammers and those just kicking tires, but it also gets you the most eyeballs. Get a quote from Carvana (think Carmax but online) to set your floor.
Last edited by 02nz on Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
crystalbank
Posts: 311
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 12:21 am

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by crystalbank »

Checkout online alternatives Carvana and Vroom. They seem to offer top dollar for slightly used cars.
02nz
Posts: 5505
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:17 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by 02nz »

crystalbank wrote: Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:14 pm Checkout Carvana and Vroom. They seem to offer top dollar for slightly used cars.
I went through the process for both a couple of years ago. Carvana definitely seemed like the bigger, more professionally run operation. Quotes were within a few hundred dollars of each other (on a $30K+ vehicle), and close enough to what I got on Craigslist in the end that, were I to do it all over again, I would go with Carvana above Craigslist. But that was for a luxury vehicle.
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5139
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by lthenderson »

I live in rural America far from any of the things commonly mentioned on these threads. By far the best luck I have is going down to the local gas station and grabbing an automobiles for sale trade newspaper they all have in the little kiosks by the cashier. The cost to place an ad in them is fairly cheap and it completely avoids all the things you have to put up with to sell something on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, etc. Those people who pick up those newspapers tend to be serious buyers.
runner3081
Posts: 3506
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by runner3081 »

Nextdoor
User avatar
Sandi_k
Posts: 1449
Joined: Sat May 16, 2015 11:55 am
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Sandi_k »

I've sold two cars via CL in the past three years. My method:

1) List it using the CL anonymizer email system.

2) DO NOT include a phone number.

3) Post the listing with at least 10 clear pics: front of car, driver's side, rear bumper, passenger side, driver interior, back seat interior, trunk interior, engine bay, console, and odometer. (Of course, you've washed and waxed it first, so everything gleams, right?!)

4) Go to Edmunds, and copy their listing details of your car's trim level: include things such as wood shift knob, leather-wrapped dash, JBL speakers, sport suspension, whatever. Note any upgrades.

5) Get the private sale price ranges from Edmunds, Kelley, and NADA: list all three ranges in the ad.

6) Make sure the ad listing SUBJECT includes Year, Make, Model, and says: One Owner, All Records, Clean Title, Non-Smoker (assuming this is true). Also note CASH ONLY, sold to "first cash offer in hand." Post the ad on a Thursday or Friday, with a Saturday or Sunday "sale day."

7) Choose a day to show it, and schedule people in 30 minute increments.

8) For those who email you, desperately asking for a phone number, politely decline. When they lowball, politely decline. I ask if they have any questions specific to the car, and the numbskulls quickly move on to someone else.

9) 24 hours before the scheduled "show appointment", email the people you've scheduled with the address of where you'll meet them for the examination of the car. A local police station is a good choice.

10) Prepare by collecting your owner's manual, the key fobs, the pink slip, any extra items such as floor mats, and the Bill of Sale form from your state's DMV. Remove every personal item from the car.

11) Once you've sold it, take the cash, fill out the Bill of Sale (noting the sale is AS IS), and snap a pic of the buyer's driver's license. If your state has a legal Release of Liability form, fill that out, too.

Both cars sold to the first person who came to test drive it. I spent about 30 minutes answering emails total for each sale, and we weren't pestered by CL buffoons calling at 6 am, or berating me for the sale price (yes, this has happened to us twice before, when we had listed phone numbers). :annoyed

ETA: to give you an idea of the difference in selling it yourself: the car I sold in October 2019 was a 2010 Lexus RX350. It had been very well-cared for, but had extremely high mileage (250k+ miles). I had all service records, and had maintained it impeccably. The dealer offered me $4500 as a trade in, and I sold it for $8k a week later via CL.
fishnhunt
Posts: 54
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 8:53 am

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by fishnhunt »

Facebook Marketplace. Craigslist is becoming obsolete in my area.
Jack FFR1846
Posts: 12529
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Sandi_k wrote: Tue Jul 28, 2020 9:57 pm I've sold two cars via CL in the past three years. My method:

1) List it using the CL anonymizer email system.

2) DO NOT include a phone number.

3) Post the listing with at least 10 clear pics: front of car, driver's side, rear bumper, passenger side, driver interior, back seat interior, trunk interior, engine bay, console, and odometer. (Of course, you've washed and waxed it first, so everything gleams, right?!)

4) Go to Edmunds, and copy their listing details of your car's trim level: include things such as wood shift knob, leather-wrapped dash, JBL speakers, sport suspension, whatever. Note any upgrades.

5) Get the private sale price ranges from Edmunds, Kelley, and NADA: list all three ranges in the ad.

6) Make sure the ad listing SUBJECT includes Year, Make, Model, and says: One Owner, All Records, Clean Title, Non-Smoker (assuming this is true). Also note CASH ONLY, sold to "first cash offer in hand." Post the ad on a Thursday or Friday, with a Saturday or Sunday "sale day."

7) Choose a day to show it, and schedule people in 30 minute increments.

8) For those who email you, desperately asking for a phone number, politely decline. When they lowball, politely decline. I ask if they have any questions specific to the car, and the numbskulls quickly move on to someone else.

9) 24 hours before the scheduled "show appointment", email the people you've scheduled with the address of where you'll meet them for the examination of the car. A local police station is a good choice.

10) Prepare by collecting your owner's manual, the key fobs, the pink slip, any extra items such as floor mats, and the Bill of Sale form from your state's DMV. Remove every personal item from the car.

11) Once you've sold it, take the cash, fill out the Bill of Sale (noting the sale is AS IS), and snap a pic of the buyer's driver's license. If your state has a legal Release of Liability form, fill that out, too.

Both cars sold to the first person who came to test drive it. I spent about 30 minutes answering emails total for each sale, and we weren't pestered by CL buffoons calling at 6 am, or berating me for the sale price (yes, this has happened to us twice before, when we had listed phone numbers). :annoyed

ETA: to give you an idea of the difference in selling it yourself: the car I sold in October 2019 was a 2010 Lexus RX350. It had been very well-cared for, but had extremely high mileage (250k+ miles). I had all service records, and had maintained it impeccably. The dealer offered me $4500 as a trade in, and I sold it for $8k a week later via CL.
This is a great guide. I've sold well over a dozen cars this way except the "schedule" is when I and the buyer is available and I set it up at my house. Why? If your price isn't amazingly too low, you're not going to get people lined up to look at the car and Craigslist is notorious for people setting up a time to come see the car and they just flake. So I never go out of my way or meet people away from my house. If you're too squeemish to meet people at your house then just go to carvana/car max or the local dealer and stop trying to squeeze another couple hundred dollars out of the deal by doing it yourself.

When the car does sell, the procedure is somewhat state specific. I know that in some states, the plate stays with the car and you file some kind of paperwork to disconnect you from the car. In my state, there's no such filing except for retaining the plate. How does the buyer take the car home? You could drive it to their home and get a ride home or they can pay you in full, register the car and get their own new plate and come back for the car. I've done both, depending on what the buyer wants to do.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid
Nowizard
Posts: 2977
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:33 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Nowizard »

If this is a sale to be followed by the purchase of another vehicle, be certain you consider the impact on sales tax of not having a trade-in when you purchase. Many may feel they sold for a good price but find that the sales tax eats up more than the difference between a trade-in and individual sale difference.

Tim
wfrobinette
Posts: 1258
Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:14 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by wfrobinette »

Hubris wrote: Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:11 pm I’m looking to privately sell a lightly used compact car (5 yrs old, 17,000 miles) here in a town of about 50,000. No CarMax etc here. Any recommendations about better or worse (easier and/or more efficient) platforms such as craigslist, eBay, newspaper, autotrader, etc?

And, any user/seller tips, either generally or specific to a platform?
I sold mine using cars.com years ago. Autotrader is another option.
Topic Author
Hubris
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:55 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Hubris »

Thank you all,very very helpful.
Topic Author
Hubris
Posts: 75
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:55 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Hubris »

Hi all, following up on this...how do you deal with test drives? Ride along with Buyer? Something else?
bob60014
Posts: 1669
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:59 pm
Location: The Land Beyond ORD

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by bob60014 »

Yes, always ride along. If the potential buyer balks, well too bad. Your car, your rules.
smitcat
Posts: 6374
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by smitcat »

Hubris wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:14 pm Hi all, following up on this...how do you deal with test drives? Ride along with Buyer? Something else?
Any test drives occurr after a price and details have been agreed upon (how much, when, how paid ,etc)
There is absolutely no reasons anyone should take your car without you in it - please ensure he/she has a valid license before they take the wheel.
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5139
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by lthenderson »

Hubris wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:14 pm Hi all, following up on this...how do you deal with test drives? Ride along with Buyer? Something else?
These days I just take a photo of their ID with my smartphone, hand them the keys and tell them to bring it back in one piece. They always have.
random_walker_77
Posts: 1169
Joined: Tue May 21, 2013 8:49 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by random_walker_77 »

Good tips above. You can also post to cargurus.com

After washing, I recommend applying nufinish, which helps an older vehicle look shiny. If there are any known issues, disclose. You want anyone who comes to be serious and ready to buy if your car matches their expectations. Help set those expectations with lots of pictures and full disclosure.
Boglegrappler
Posts: 1289
Joined: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:24 am

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by Boglegrappler »

We sold a car last year that was 13 years old. Got a Carmax offer for 8k, and then took it to a dealer who offered 8.8k. Sold it there for convenience and to avoid hassle. The car needed some body work, and had about 165k miles, but was a unique sporty model with off road interest.

The dealer listed it at around 13k, which was about 2-3k above what I thought was a likely price they would get. I apparently sold within about a week, but I don't know their price.

It's pretty painless to get a price from a dealer.
jimmo
Posts: 120
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:49 am

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by jimmo »

I use Craiglist. Still the best place for buying/selling used cars in my area.
atikovi
Posts: 825
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:20 pm
Location: Suburban Washington DC

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by atikovi »

Hubris wrote: Tue Jul 28, 2020 5:11 pm Any recommendations about better or worse (easier and/or more efficient) platforms such as craigslist, eBay, newspaper, autotrader, etc?
Craigslist, Facebook and newspaper are generally local and will limit your exposure, but why would you want to? You'll often get a bunch of nearby joyriders. You get what you pay for on those sites. Cars.com and Autotrader are better in that they give national coverage. If someone is coming 5 hours to see your car, he must be pretty serious. Personally, I've sold most cars on Ebay. It costs the most but it also gives the best results. Use the auction format with a reserve and a Buy It Now a reasonable amount above that, and start at $100.
tibbitts
Posts: 11525
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Best platform for selling used car?

Post by tibbitts »

Nowizard wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:21 am If this is a sale to be followed by the purchase of another vehicle, be certain you consider the impact on sales tax of not having a trade-in when you purchase. Many may feel they sold for a good price but find that the sales tax eats up more than the difference between a trade-in and individual sale difference.

Tim
Depending on where you live you may be charged sales tax on the full ("gross") price of the new car, or its book value if that's higher, whether you trade or not.
Post Reply