How to Sell Your Car (and Get Good Money for It)

How to Sell Your Car (and Get Good Money for It)

Last Updated March 15, 2022 | C.J. Tragakis

It doesn’t matter if you’re selling your car to get something larger with more room for the kids, upgrade to a newer model year, or just put a little more money in your savings account: Selling your vehicle can be a stressful process. Things are complicated even further when you decide to sell a performance car like the Ford Mustang. Being enthusiasts ourselves, we’ve learned a thing or two going through the process of a car sale

Check out our video to get some great tips from Bill; he’s owned more than 50 Mustangs over the years and spends a lot of time shopping for them on the web. It’s safe to say that he’s got a lot of perspective and knowledge when it comes to writing a great for-sale ad for your Mustang, as well as pitfalls to avoid. Remember, more effort equals better results!

Use Correct Grammar and Spelling in Your Advertisement

We’re not saying that you have to go out and get your master’s degree in English Literature, but there are some really simple things that you can do that will make your ad stand out.

Ford Mustang Mock Craigslist Ad
This Mustang advertisement shows some of the things *not* to do in a Craigslist posting.

Use spell-check and re-read your entire posting before it goes live. Spell-check won’t always catch grammar (like brakes vs breaks), so give it a read-through when you’re done. Don’t forget to double-check manufacturer and part names that might be less intuitive, which also likely won’t be caught by spell-check.

Additionally, don’t use shorthand or slang. Expressions like “lol” or “wut” have no place in an advertisement and will set the wrong tone.

Be Extremely Detailed and Honest in Your Description

Even if you’re selling a run-of-the-mill car with no aftermarket modifications, having a listing description that just says “good car, runs great” is not nearly sufficient information for the buyer. Moreover, your advertisement and the effort that you put into it are a direct reflection of you as an owner, and of the car itself (whether you like it or not).

Project Mustang Foxbody Rear ViewIf your car is a project car or needs work, that's ok! Just be honest and upfront in your ad.

Truly, there’s no such thing as too much information, as long as it’s relevant to the car or the selling process. Give a very detailed description in terms of the specifications and configuration, what’s been done to it, and what aftermarket parts have been added (if any).

Even more important than providing lots of information is providing truthful information. Be honest. We know your Mustang has been driven fast (or at least quickly), and a car with slicks has most certainly been raced. Coming across as an upfront and honest poster definitely helps to attract good customers and justify your asking price.

Finally, be sure to mention any mechanical or cosmetic flaws/issues, or any problems with the title. You’ll weed out questions that would arise later while demonstrating your honesty and professionalism. You don’t want to “forget” to mention that the AC system is currently working, only to have a prospective and unaware buyer drive three hours to come see it.

What Would You Ask if You Were Buying the Car?

In order to get a jumpstart on providing all the necessary information and preempting some of the questions that buyers might ask you, do your best to provide all of the vital information in the advertisement to begin with. What would you want to ask the seller of a car right away? Is there a clean title? What’s the mileage? Have any aftermarket parts been installed? Getting the basic attributes out of the way is important to have a nice-looking ad, but will also save you the time and hassle of answering further questions down the road.

How to Price Your Vehicle

Orange Fury S550 Mustang Front Quarter View
By searching comparable models in your area, you can find a good baseline price range to set.

While you can spend days trying to figure out and analyze the perfect list price for your car, the most important thing is to have a listed price. Don’t say “make offer” or list it for $1 just because the platform requires you to input something.

Be realistic, setting your price to be competitive with comparable vehicles that are currently for sale. You can start with a high price to maximize your upside with the understanding that people are going to want to negotiate. Just don’t set your price unreasonably high; you’ll scare off buyers who will think you’re ridiculous and out of touch with reality.

You can use a price estimator like Kelley Blue Book to get a ballpark idea of where to start, and then use similar models that are on the market to fine-tune your exact asking price. Don't go crazy with trying to figure out if you have a sought-after color or rare group of options; it probably won't markedly affect the value. Also, remember that mods will rarely ever add value to your car.

Take Good Pictures of the Car

Red Ford Mustang GT Front WheelHigh-quality photos that show the details of your whole car will give your ad credibility.

The attention to detail that you give to your writing should apply to the ad’s images as well. Take pictures and lots of them! Close-ups of underhood, underbody, wheels, and tires are a great place to start. If you do have any dents or dings, showing them in a photo will help alleviate buyer fears.

You don’t need Instagram filters or Photoshop, just some simple pictures with a smartphone will do just fine. Being super artistic isn’t necessary, but it’s good to keep the background uncluttered and the car fully in the frame.

To go the extra mile, you can also make an HD video! Show your car running or some panning shots under the hood to give an up-close and personal view. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and videos can do even more when it comes to showing off your vehicle.

Answering Questions from Prospective Buyers

Even if you think the person emailing you is not a real prospective buyer, answer with politeness and give a detailed answer that will satisfy them. Don’t ignore, be rude, or send a one-word reply.

With these tips, you’ll be off to a great start when it comes to writing your ad and figuring out the selling process. If you’re ever unsure of whether or not it’s worth including something in your ad or going the extra mile, just remember to treat others the way that you want to be treated. Be the seller that you would want to transact with if you were in the buyer’s shoes.

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About the Author

C.J. is a Focus ST owner and car industry buff. He uses his first-hand experience and passion for the industry to craft interesting and helpful topics for fellow enthusiasts. Read full bio →

Image Credit: Ford | Craigslist | Super Hobby

How to Sell Your Car (and Get Good Money for It)

It might not be as fun as shopping for cars, but selling your vehicle is simply the other side of the coin. By making a solid advertisement for your car, you’re on the right track to attracting the right customers and getting a fair price.