How to sell your car online for the best result

man holding car keys out while gesturing at car behind him


Posted April 03, 2023

Thinking about selling your car amid strong prices for used cars? From photography to pricing, nailing the basics of selling your car online can help you find a buyer faster.
Thanks to a short supply of new cars into Australia since the onset of the pandemic, used car prices have increased significantly in recent years. Despite some improvement in new vehicle supply this year, long wait times still persist for popular models such as SUVs, pushing buyers to consider purchasing a used car instead.

These car market conditions spell good news for those thinking about selling a used car. So, if you’re looking to save money, or simply move on a car that’s spending more time in the garage than on the road, dive into our tips to selling your car online for the best result.

Tips for selling your used car online

Take lots of high-quality photos of your car

Aim to upload as many high-quality photos of your car as you can, covering all important exterior angles and interior features.
Always avoid harsh lighting, rain and cluttered backgrounds, so try to photograph your car in overcast conditions or a setting such as an empty car park. Ensure that your best photo appears first in your online advertisement, such as a front ¾ angle, and capture photos of things such as key fobs, owner's manuals and other accessories.

In addition to photographing the basics of your car, it’s also important to focus on the rational and emotional benefits that are relevant to the target buyer of your car. 

For example, if you’re selling a practical car such as an SUV or ute, upload photos of a high driving position, the size of the boot or tray, and the car’s ability to carry a pram, sporting and recreational equipment, tools or suitcases. 

Buyers of hybrids and electric vehicles such may look for different things in photos, such as screens that show battery charge and power consumption data and even the close-ups of interior finishes that are made from sustainable and vegan materials

Photos advertising a performance or sports car targeted at an enthusiast, or a luxury car aimed at someone that appreciates the finer things in life, should show off the more emotional elements of the vehicle including the engine, badges and branding, panoramic roof, audio speakers, alloy wheels and exhaust.


exterior shot of Ford Everest

Lead with the best photo when selling your car online, such as a front ¾ angle. Image: Supplied

Tailor the commentary about your car to the target buyer

Like your photos, tailor any commentary about the vehicle to the target buyer of the car. If you're stumped for words, look to the manufacturer’s website or trusted car reviews for inspiration on how they describe the vehicle to target buyers, and its key selling points.
Once you cover the standard features of the car and list out any additional features such as sunroof, safety technology and other accessories, highlight key reasons to buy your car over other similar cars listed for sale. This may include things like its condition, low kilometres, accident-free history, long warranty and long registration.

Try to avoid the use of car jargon in your vehicle commentary. While the use of acronyms and abbreviations is common when describing car technology such as safety features, always explain the benefits of this technology to help the understanding of the buyer. 

While you don’t need to justify the reason for selling your car in your commentary, buyers may appreciate transparent and authentic insights about your ownership experience. If the car has been a joy to own and the only reason for the sale is that you need something bigger or smaller, don't be afraid to mention it. 

Make your car the safe and easy choice

Buying a used car can be a riskier proposition than buying a brand new car from a dealer with a warranty, and it’s not an experience that many people enjoy. Along with transparent photos and commentary, buyers shopping for a used car online look for details that give them peace of mind – the last thing they want to do is purchase a lemon.
A great way to be transparent is to include the results of a comprehensive and independent vehicle inspection in your advertisement, which can help to build trust in both the car's mechanical condition and you as a legitimate seller.

An independent vehicle inspection undertaken by a qualified mechanic, such as an RACV vehicle inspection, will not only give a buyer a trustworthy assessment of the car's condition, but help to justify your asking price.


interior shot of MG ZS EV 2023

Tailor your photos and comments to the car's target buyer. Image: Ben Weinstein

Research similar cars and price yours accordingly

Your selling price should reflect your goal. Advertising a price for your vehicle that is too high may hurt your chances of selling your car quickly. Contrastingly, advertising a price that is too low will result in lots of buyer interest and a faster sale, but you may end up leaving money on the table.

To maximise both the speed of sale and your final selling price, research the asking price of similar cars for sale, and then price your car in line with the market. Car valuation websites that look at historical valuations of used cars can be a good source of information, however they may not consider the market conditions of the day that could affect your price, such as the number of similar cars available to purchase immediately and any options or additional extras fitted to your vehicle. 

Price is a key consideration for buyers shopping for a used car, especially for those using car finance. It’s important to note that many car buyers, and especially those shopping practical and family cars, may shop for cars online using a ‘Price Low to High’ sort option.

Always check to see where your car ranks in a search for your vehicle with this sort option. Much like a Google search, the amount of attention your car receives from price-conscious car buyers will be less if it’s not on page one of search results.

Thousands of Victorians get their used car loan through RACV.
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R.A.C.V. Finance Limited ABN 82 004 292 291 Australian Credit Licence No. 391488. RACV Finance is subject to RACV lending criteria. Conditions, fees and charges apply.