The Internet has made shopping for old cars a lot easier. In the olden days, buyers needed to wade through scores of classified advertising listings in newspapers and magazines, containing only a basic description of the car and maybe a grainy picture.
Nowadays there are many car buying and selling websites, filled with hundreds of car listings from all across the country.
In such a flooded market it is a bit hard for individual sellers to be noticed by a prospective car buyer. With this in mind, here are some tips to make your car more click-worthy in online marketplaces.
Give it a wash
First impressions are important, especially when you are making a purchase. A mechanically sound yet dirty car will give off the impression of a poorly maintained vehicle, leading to a poor first impression and in turn, a lower than expected offer.
Getting the car detailed by a professional detailer is a viable option since you are at most spending thousands to get a better deal on something that will be sold for lakhs. That said, you can always pick up a bucket and a brush and do it yourself.
We wrote an entire article about how to wash your car on your own, but here are the main points: don't wash it under direct sunlight, use a microfiber towel and two separate buckets for clean and dirty water, and dry the car after the wash. A pressure washer and vacuum cleaner makes the job a lot easier.
After the car becomes presentable, keep it under a tarp to prevent it from becoming dirty again.
Take some pretty pictures
If you are one of the many people in this country who did business studies in the secondaries, you will know that packaging is one of the most important steps of marketing a product.
In the online marketplace, that translates to a set of pretty click-enticing pictures. Much like detailing, you can probably pay someone to take the pictures, but if you want to do it yourself here are some quick tips.
Take your car to a bit of open space, a clean empty road will do fine. Park the car at a 45-degree angle if possible. Pull out your phone, move back 5 steps, squat down and start taking pictures. Take advantage of your phone's panoramic lens and grid lines if it has them, using the latter to guide the frame of the pictures.
Team Wheels did an entire story on how to take pretty pictures of cars, written by one of our best photographers. Pick up a copy if you want a better, more comprehensible guide to automotive photography.
Mention the details
Registration, engine displacement, paper status, fuel and transmission type are all important information when buying a new vehicle. Some people factor in the cost of papers when making a purchase decision, others like to consider the AIT (Air Inlet Temperature) as part of the long-term upkeep.
While a manual gear, petrol run car might not be appealing to a general buyer looking for personal transport, but it can be perfect for auto enthusiasts looking for an engaging driving machine.
Speaking of enthusiasts, if you are among the small group of like-minded folk who like to tinker with your car's internals, do disclose that in the sales post. The best practice is to list all the installed aftermarket parts on the sales list, so any potential buyers know what they are getting into.
Information such as these is vital to making a purchasing decision, and is actively sought by anyone looking to buy a used car. Lack of such information on sale posts causes people to become suspicious, with many opting to disregard the post entirely.
Post an actual price
All purchasing decisions, no matter how big or small, depend mainly on one critical thing, the price. It doesn't matter how good the pictures look or how thorough the description is, the lack of actual asking price in the seller's post automatically makes any prospective buyers suspicious.
Since it usually means either the seller has an unreasonable expectation about the value of the car or there is something else awry with it.
Take a brief look at what cars similar to your model are selling online if you need a rough idea about the current market value of your car.
When posting, consider asking a little over what you are actually expected to get, as it will give you some room to negotiate.
If you are posting in a social media marketplace such as Facebook, you can either turn off the comments section to avoid hecklers or keep it on to drive up the engagement rate.