How to sell your car online for a higher price

holding car keys

David Toscano

Posted March 15, 2022


Thinking about selling your car amid record prices for used cars? Nailing the basics of your online advertisement brilliantly can help you cash in on the used car boom.
 
With used car prices at record levels, there’s never been a better time to sell your car. 
 
The latest car market conditions have seen prices of second-hand vehicles soar to an average of $61,000, with more price appreciation expected throughout the year thanks to a shortage of brand-new cars and persistent concerns over the safety of public transport and ride sharing. 
 
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 guide to creating an online car advertisement that helps you maximise the sale of your set of wheels.


Tips to sell your used car online

Take lots of high-quality photos 

Aim to upload as many high-quality photos of your car as the online marketplace allows, 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 and settings such as an empty car park. Ensure that your best photo appears first in your online advertisement, such as a front ¾ angle, and upload photos of things such as key fobs, logbooks and other accessories.

In addition to photographing the basics, 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, including SUVs like the Kia Sportage and utes like the Isuzu D-Max, 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 hybrid and electric cars such as the Kia EV6 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, such as the Subaru BRZ, or a luxury car aimed at someone that appreciates the finer things in life, such as the Lexus UX300e, should show off the more emotional elements of the vehicle including the engine, badges and branding, panoramic roof, audio speakers, alloy wheels and exhaust. 

couple driving in car

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


Tailor your commentary 

Like your photos, tailor your commentary to the target buyer of the car. if you're stumped for words, look to the manufacturer’s website for inspiration on how they market the vehicle. While abbreviations are common for car technology such as safety features, avoid using these in your online advertisement.
 
Once you cover the standard features of the car and additional extras such as sunroof, safety technology and other accessories, highlight key reasons to buy your car over others for sale. This may include things like its condition, low kilometres, accident-free history, long warranty, long registration and even low running costs such as fuel economy and car insurance
 
While you don’t need to justify the reason for sale in your comments, buyers will appreciate transparency, authenticity and insights about the ownership experience. If the car has been a joy to own and the only reason for the sale is that you need something bigger, don't be afraid to mention it. 

Make your car a safe and easy choice

In contrast to buying a brand-new car, buying a used car can be riskier and it’s not an experience that many people enjoy. Along with transparent photos and comments, buyers shopping for a used car online look for details that give them peace of mind about ownership history and mechanical condition – the last thing they want to do is purchase a lemon.
 
Including the results of a comprehensive vehicle inspection in your advertisement can help to build trust in both the car 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 justify your asking price - enabling you to negotiate on price from a position of strength.

toy car on top of a laptop

Research the price of similar cars on different online marketplaces. Image: Getty


Get your price and ranking right

While the used car market is very much in favour of sellers, advertising a price that is too high may hurt your chances of selling your car quickly. In contrast, advertising a price that is too low will result in lots of buyer enquiries and a fast sale, but you may leave money on the table.

Research the asking prices of similar cars for sale on different online marketplaces, and then price your car accordingly. Car valuation sites are a good source of information, but may not consider the market conditions of the day that may affect your price, such as the number of similar cars available to purchase immediately. 

Price is a huge consideration for those looking to buy a used car. It’s important to note that many people, and especially those shopping practical and A-to-B cars, sort their search results on online marketplaces using a ‘Price Low to High’ option.

Always check where your car ranks in a search with this sort option. Much like a Google search, the amount of attention your car receives from buyers can fall if it’s not on page one of search results. 

RACV Car Insurance can protect you against loss in the event of a motor vehicle accident or theft of your vehicle.
Discover more →

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Comprehensive Car Insurance issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.