How to Sell Your Car Quickly for Top Dollar

Taking the Guesswork Out of Selling Your Car

When you're selling your car, you want it to be fast, painless and make you the most money possible. Sound like an impossible combination? Not if you use the Internet.

Everybody from big car dealers to everyday people are putting their used cars up for sale. Individual sellers have found that the Web provides access to a national pool of interested buyers, as well as robust protection and additional service offerings such as financing, insurance and shipping. More importantly, individuals have found they can make significantly more money by selling their used vehicles online.

Having access to buyers across the country bidding on your car via the Internet gives you a better chance of selling your vehicle than just placing an ad locally and hoping someone near you is looking for a car similar to yours.

Simon Rothman, global vice president and general manager of eBay Motors, the world's largest online automotive marketplace, has some tips for first-time online car sellers when starting the process, to help you develop the most effective listing that will net the best value for your used car:

• Do Your Homework: Research sites such as and to find out how much your vehicle is worth. Also, reviewing online resources like eBay Motors' "Completed Auction" feature to see what comparable vehicles are selling for online.

• Describe Everything: A well-written vehicle description is attractive to potential buyers, and there's no such thing as too much information. Is there a tiny ding in the fender or do you have cool custom wheels? Lay out the pros and cons of the vehicle in clear, honest terms and your potential buyers will be far more responsive.

• Paperwork Counts: Document ownership and maintenance history, accidents, warranty and title issues in the body of your listing.

• Pictures are Worth 1,000 Words: Take and post photos of the car from every angle, under the hood and inside the passenger compartment. Photograph any of the dings, custom wheels or other distinctions mentioned in your listing.

• Define the Terms of Sale Beforehand: Are you going to require a deposit or are you taking advantage of an escrow service such as to safeguard the transaction? Who will pay shipping? (Buyers traditionally pay for this.) At what point in the process will you transfer the title?

• Answer Your Mail: If you're contacted by a potential buyer with a question about the vehicle or your terms of sale, answer quickly and completely.

• Set A Reserve Price: When using auction-style formats, don't worry about somebody buying your car for five dollars. As the seller, you set the minimum ("reserve") price for which you will sell the vehicle.

• Note Any Extra Benefits: Many sellers choose to take advantage of value-added services offered by online marketplaces. For example, eBay Motors offers sellers the opportunity to have their car inspected by independent experts at Pep Boys with the report posted on their auction listing; a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check by the seller providing buyers with an independent history of the vehicle's past ownership and free purchase insurance up to $20,000 and a free one-month/1,000-mile limited power train warranty on most vehicles sold with under 125,000 miles.

It doesn't take long to list your car, and if you follow the above tips, it's possible that your car can be sold in just one short week! To learn more about how to quickly and effectively sell your used car go to and click on the "Sell" tab to read about the tools and services available and how to get started.

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