Tips For Sellers

Maybe you’re in the market to buy a new project, but first you’ve got to sell the old one. Here are some handy pointers. You don’t want to be that crummy guy with no integrity who just takes advantage of people.

Be ready to sell. Have the title in your hands. Take the time to round up all the extra parts, paperwork, documentation, books, magazine features it’s been in, plus any old photos. If you’re just flipping it and you haven’t crawled under it yet, familiarize yourself with all the rough areas. If you haven’t driven it in a while, fire it up and drive it around the block.

Don’t be evasive. If a buyer asks you a pointed question about something you know is a problem, you’re much better off giving him the straight answer without beating around the bush.

Don’t be ignorant. Know your car, its history, its options, and make a list of all known problems. Look at your car critically the same way a buyer will look at it. Don’t be afraid to list pros and cons in your ad.

Don’t be a jerk. If you list a car for sale, people are going to call to ask you questions, set up a visit, or make an offer. Stating in the ad you don’t want tire kickers (aka inquiries) or low ballers (aka negotiation) just makes you look like a belligerent fool.

Be honest. You are part of a wonderful community of car enthusiasts, and what comes around goes around. Don’t be the scumbag everybody hates.

Always post photos when listing a car on Craigslist. We don’t even look at car ads that don’t have photos.

Post good photos. If you want people to drive out to see your junk, take the time to push the car out of its hovel in the corner of your driveway and shoot pix from several angles.

Don’t hide the bad side. How friendly do you think a buyer’s going to be if he humps all the way out only to find the other side is smashed in? Photos should include at a minimum both sides, front, rear, engine bay, interior, and driver seat. If you show three near identical photos of the driver side and a photo of the rear seat, you’re basically shouting that the driver seat got shredded by a Bengal tiger and the passenger side got hit by a train.

If you’ve sold your junk, take the listing down. This will also save you from tons of random calls and a slammed email inbox.

Beware of the shakedown. People with nice cars often have nice houses with nice stuff in them. Once you give out your address, crooks can case your house. If you’re unsure about a buyer, don’t give out your home address, meet him with the car in a nearby public place. Don’t let laziness be your downfall.

Be realistic on your price. Buyers and sellers both know there’s wiggle room, but if you expect to sell quickly, don’t pad it up to a stupid level. Take some time to research what similar cars have sold for.

Always list a phone number or email address. Selling on Craigslist? Don’t rely on the Craigslist email link to funnel buyers your way—it almost never works. Using eBay? Buying a car is a huge purchase. Don’t expect people to bid without first having a phone conversation. Many sellers like the eBay system because it absolves them from the scrutiny of direct contact with potential buyers. You up your odds of selling by including a phone number or email address in your ad.

If you want stupid money for your junk, you’ll have to earn it. It’s a good thing for you that some buyers want a specific make, year, and model of a car so bad, they will pay top dollar regardless of condition. If you’re honest, if you’re accommodating, if you can provide good photos, and if you’re willing to go out of your way for a kindred collector, you may actually get stupid money and make a friend at the same time.

Special tip for Mopar guys: Life is too short. If you’ve got more Mopars than you can restore in 10 lifetimes, let one of them go to an enthusiastic newbie at a price he can afford before the car turns to dust. One more car will be saved, the hobby will grow, and you’ll have cash in your pocket. More Mopar owners means a broader, more vibrant, more inclusive hobby.