Selling a car online

Products by on April 15, 2005 at 2:13 pm
This post has been preventing me from doing any posting as I’ve been meaning to rewrite the post that blogger lost.

I recently sold my VW online. The actual transaction was completed on eBay, although the buyer was someone that I had met through I posted classified ads on five sources: ($40): 8 leads
San Jose Mercury News ($70): 2 leads (online and offline)
Craigslist (free): 2 leads (free): 0 leads
AdWords: 1322 impressions & 13 clicks & 0 leads

I listed the car at $9500 - just above the Kelly BlueBook and Edmunds values for a good condition car:
KBB: 9100 (Good)
TMV: 9100 (Clean)
I had bought the car certified, and it still had 6 months left under its certified warranty.

Obviously, generated the most significant number of leads and performed much better per dollar than the SJ Merc ad. I couldn’t be bothered to do the ‘CraigsList Shuffle’ of reposting every day to keep the car at the top of the list, so arguably CL could have generated more actual leads.

A quote from our local VW dealer came in at $4000 (the price they would pay for the car).

After 1.5 months (during which time I was in Peru for a bit), I was due to leave California and wanted to sell the car. So, I posted it on eBay.

I struggled to find data that would guide me in setting up the eBay listing (see Andale below). So, I made a few educated guesses and set up the listing.

After I posted the listing, I received a lead from from an interested buyer. I followed up and was able to agree on a price around $9000. He test drove the car and was gradually moving along the sales process to the point of making a purchase. I became so convinced of his willingness to purchase, that I tried to cancel the eBay auction (unfortunately I was too late).

I informed the buyer that the car was listed on eBay, and he ended up winning the auction at $7800. Ouch.

So, what’s the best practice for selling a car online? If you have time, post at and do the Craig’s List Shuffle. You will get the highest selling price. If you don’t have time, sell it on eBay, and the car most certainly will sell.


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