How to Write a Used Car Ad That Sells

March 12th, 2013

BMW used car ad

Prices sell cars.

Without a doubt, the quickest way to sell a car quickly is to price it below its value. Nothing generates inquiries like a price that seems too good to be true. A few years ago I listed a car online, but made an error filling out the form, so two zeroes were missing from my price. You wouldn’t believe how many people called thinking I had a $45 car for sale. A few even demanded I sell it for that “advertised” price. Ummm, no.

As a seller, though, you want to get as much as possible for your car. So where’s the balance? Write a good ad and come up with a price that’s good for you, and too good for buyers to ignore. Here’s how to do it.

Every post on this topic since the dawn of the Internet has pretty much given the same advice: Include the year, make, model and mileage. Duh. Also include the car’s features, but it could be argued that there’s no longer a need to mention things like power windows, power steering and cruise control. These aren’t amenities anymore—they are assumed to be standard equipment. If your car does’t include air conditioning or cupholders, you should probably say so. Otherwise, there’s no need.

This is a good chance to sell the benefits of the car, not just its features. If you get outstanding mileage, tout its money-saving capabilities. If the vehicle helps haul stuff, tow stuff, goes through any weather, gets you second looks on the road or garners plenty of attention from the opposite sex, mention it. Take a cue from the automakers when they advertised the car new. Create an emotional connection with the car, and it’s more likely to get sold at a price you can handle. Be sure to include the condition of the car, whether it’s got an auto or manual transmission and options that are genuinely options. If it has heated and cooled seats, mention them! Leave the cigarette lighter out, though.

As for price, check out CarGurus and click Sell Your Car. There you can research a fair price, post a free listing and include pictures. You can even post to Craiglist with the CarGurus price analysis for even better results.

The CarGurus used listings are unique, are seen by over 5 million consumers per month, and geared to help you sell, or buy, a used car fast.

Do you have any advice for selling a used car?

-tgriffith

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

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  1. Bobby
    | #1

    I’ve run into cars that are priced low, only to discover they are salvage titles after wasting some time. Please, when writing an ad, state that it’s a clean title, if it has one!

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