Six top tips on how to sell your car online in tough times

A motoring expert explains the best way to trade in your vehicle, in no time

Advertise on digital spaces, but don't ignore traditional ways of marketing. Unsplash
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We are all trying to navigate our "new normal" at the moment, as the Covid-19 pandemic has been affecting financial situations across the globe. Families have been separated from loved ones and many residents across the UAE are choosing to return home, while others have been forced out of work due to a worldwide economic downturn.

This is why there is a sudden influx of second-hand goods available online, including, quite literally, thousands of used cars.

If you’ve found yourself in this situation and you are worried about how to sell your car successfully, or concerned you might not get a good price for it, we are here to help.

1. Decide where you want to advertise

It wasn't long ago that selling a car meant writing a sign and sticking it to the car window, then placing a small advertisement in the local newspaper or printing a poster and pinning it on to your local supermarket's noticeboard.

Times have changed and, nowadays, there are numerous outlets to choose from when it comes to finding a buyer for your beloved run-around.

Online trading platforms are very popular, with sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Dubizzle and Auto Trader all offering a great sales space.

But don’t rely on digital sites alone. Other options to consider are traditional auctions, part-exchanging at a local dealer or selling via a company that offers to "buy any car".

2. Prepare your car

Don’t even think about advertising your car until it is ready for inspection. Take your vehicle for a deep clean and make sure it’s tidy inside and out. There are plenty of valeting companies across the UAE, and many offer a professional service at a reasonable price.

Displaying a car that has been washed, polished and deodorised shows you have taken care of your vehicle both on the exterior and under the hood.

Make sure you get your car cleaned inside and out. Unsplash
Make sure you get your car cleaned inside and out. Unsplash

If you are hoping to achieve a good price, invest in the removal of any chips, dents and wheel damage from a professional company. It’s not as expensive as you might think.

3. Take great pictures

With your car sparkling, it’s time to take some photographs. You don’t need a professional photographer, as a modern smartphone will do.

It’s essential to take a good range of shots, including of the exterior and interior, in daylight and with a simple background.

Show every angle of the car, any damage or modifications and, if it’s a convertible, take pictures with the roof up and down.

4. Describe your car accurately and don’t lie

The two most important elements to catch the eye of any potential buyer are great photographs and a killer description. The more relevant the information you include in your write-up, the more effective your advertisement will be.

Be honest about your car's capabilities. Unsplash
Be honest about your car's capabilities. Unsplash

Start with the basics: include the make, model, mileage, body type and trim. The trim level is important because it represents how many features are included on the car and this can really affect the price. People are willing to pay more for a car with alloy wheels and the latest safety features, after all.

Make sure to highlight all the features on your vehicle and be honest: if it still has a tape deck, don’t describe it as having a "state-of-the-art digital sound system" simply because you bought an auxiliary cable to connect to your phone.

5. Price your car accordingly

The Middle East is famous for its love of cars and many of us believe ours is extra-special. Take a step back and remember: it’s a commodity and car values are set by demand.

The value of your car will be affected by age, mileage, condition, service history and modifications, which can often have a negative impact on the price.

Take great photos of your car from all angles. Unsplash
Take great photos of your car from all angles. Unsplash

Take your car to a couple of dealers and ask for their opinion on its value. Check out online advertisements for other vehicles of the same make and model, then assess the age, condition and trim level to determine where your car fits into the market on price.

6. Be patient

With so many cars up for sale, its good to prepare yourself and remember that some prospective buyers will try to offer a ridiculously low price, knowing that it’s a buyer's market.

Make sure you are armed with the research about what your car is worth and don’t come to a deal too soon. Give yourself at least a month to sell your car and definitely don’t add “Must sell today”. This will only encourage low offers.

Ultimately, be patient, but be prepared to negotiate.