Selling a car

The only calls I’m getting from my AutoTrader ad is from finance companies that want me to give them $200+ to sell my car. Sounds like a scam but is this how people sell cars these days? I’ve got an excellent car with privae sell blue book of 11,800 and I’m asking 11,000. I don’t get it.

You sell a car today the same way Henry sold them If the price is right it will sell. If you can’t get someone interested at $!!,000 then $11,000 is too much. Blue Book does not set the value on cars, it is only a measure of what they were selling for the last time they computed it. Some areas will consistently sell for more and some areas will be less. Keep lowering the price until it sells.

Keep in mind someone out there does want the car,  but is not willing to pay what you are asking.

No, this is not how people sell cars (unless they’re desperate) these days. Ignore these responses to your ad.

Wait for the legitimate buyers.

What do you mean, “I don’t get it?” Every scammer in the world will jump on your ad. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be. Ignore them, and wait for the legitimate offers.

Some people just do not have the time or are uncomfortable selling their own car. $200 is small change to get rid of a headache. The finance companies may be looking for cars to sell; they are really acting as brokers. So, in their eyes, everyone wins.

I’ve always sold my own cars privately; it takes some cleaning up and lost of posters with color photos on supermarket boards. A good place to sell your car is at a local university; there are always students who want to buy a car. Make sure you plaster it on the bulletin boards of each building and residence. Also make sure the guy can pay you. Years ago my brother sold his old Gremlin to a student whose down payment check of $150.00 bounced.

Kelly Blue Book and NADA retail values mean nothing these days. Wholesale or trade-in numbers (or much lower) are more realistic in today’s market. I was looking at a 2004 MB CL600 with 22,000 miles – new price was $140,000. Today’s private party KBB is $41,000, trade-in is $37,000 and asking price is $32,000.

It’s a buyer’s market.


Go to ebay, find your car, and check what the sales prices or final bids are on ‘completed items’. Bet they’re under blue book.

I sold a car in January. After a month on AutoTrader with one or two lukewarm leads I listed the car on Craigslist. In a week I got 3 leads from Craigslist and one was “hot”. That guy wanted to see the car the next day and bought it.

Try listing the car on another site. Your price maybe too high. My car had a KBB retail price of $5,000, and it sold for $3,000. I’ll guesstimate you car will sell for about $10,000. The asking prices in the ads don’t mean much, it is the sold price that is important. Someone suggested checking ebay “completed listings” to see some realistic prices, that was one tool I used to set the price.

Another place for information is They will give you a price for your car in your zip code. Just be honest about the condition (they explain it). If it needs work, you could get the ‘clean’ price and subtract whatever is needed (tires, for instance). If much work is needed, you should subtract 5% to 10% for the buyer’s trouble.

If your state requires an inspection certificate before the new owner can register it, you should get the inspection cert. now. Remove as many obstacles to buying your car as you can.

Might not be a pricing issue. You can even ask more than posted averages if you feel it’s better than that.

---- You may have missed your target audience with your ad.–

Depending on where you live it might be best to use the local newspaper or a bulletin board at a college.
If I wanted to buy in this small town, I wouldn’t even consider AutoTrader.

Act as if you are a buyer.
Re-think your maket venue and target the ad to the viewer.

Who might you actually expect to see walking up your driveway to buy your vehicle ? Put nice signs on it and park it all day ( or many hours at least ) in the lot at ; WalMart, Target, church, schools, the busy intersection near your house, etc.

The local newspaper did fine for me, I tried on a major street for a few weeks and got no responses, though the replacement I bought was off the street, and am look ing at another alongside the road for my daughter. I based my sale on bb dealer value and purchase on min trade in value, there was a little compromise in both scenarios but the parked along a major road was the least effective, which is where I am going to look at the next one. Go figure, makes no sense to me either.

It’s also about location… regardless of how good you think your car is, if the demand isn’t there, it’s not going to sell easily. You did not say the make of your car, but in this area, Toyotas and Subarus sell themselves. I have sold mine for near retail for a dealership. My Ford and Chevys, prices were lower than Blue Book and much tougher to move. It wouldn’t be a bad idea if you could advertise in areas you know the demand for your car is higher if possible.
I also recommend cars that have a very good resale value. That’s why I suggest a Honda over a Hyundai for example. Now it would be any Ford over any Chrysler product. Blue Book price may not be as sensitive to your location with the car you have to give you a good starting price. The asking prices of models like yours in local ads for private sales would be a better indicator.

Year, make, model, mileage??

Private sellers are fighting an uphill battle. Few buyers of used cars have $11,000 cash. In the past, if they had half-way decent credit, banks would loan them the money. Guess what. Banks don’t loan money to individuals for used cars anymore.

You can try craigslist and if you have a popular, trendy model you might get lucky.

Have you tried http://www.kijiji ? Not that I can totally recommend it, but it is a big place for selling used cars. Did you include pictures with your ad? Pictures always help. Do you have an answering machine for people to reach you by phone? I’ve never used a company to sell my used cars - it is a hassle though. I even sold my 14 year old toyota to a guy for $200.00 - it was all anyone would pay - but, hey, cash is cash.

Thanks everybody. The suggestions were helpful. I posted it on Craigslist (1114094930)and I’ve made some flyers for the university. My pictures are posted at I’ll report the outcome (soon I hope).