How to Sell a Used Car on Cars.com (Plus FAQs, Pros & Cons)

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If you’re looking to sell your used car, Cars.com is one of the most popular websites and an excellent platform to connect with potential buyers and get a fair deal. Selling your vehicle on Cars.com is a simple process that can help you reach a wide audience of interested buyers. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to selling your car on Cars.com. 

Step 1: Gather the necessary information

Before you list your car on Cars.com, gather all the essential information about your vehicle. This includes the make, model, year, mileage, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and any additional features or upgrades your car may have.

Step 2: Research the market

Take some time to research the market to understand the current value of your vehicle. Look for similar cars listed on Cars.com to get an idea of the pricing range. Knowing the market value will help you set a competitive asking price for your car.

Step 3: Create a detailed listing

Your listing on Cars.com should stand out. Start by taking high-quality photos of your car from various angles, both inside and out. Write a compelling description that highlights your car’s features and condition. Don’t forget to mention any recent maintenance or repairs, which can boost buyer confidence.

Before you take photos for your listing, give your car a thorough cleaning. Making your car look showroom-ready is an important step for attracting serious buyers. Learn how to detail your car like a pro in just a few simple steps. 

Step 4: Set the right price

Based on your research and the condition of your car, set a reasonable asking price. Cars.com offers pricing tools to help you determine the optimal price range for your vehicle. Keep in mind that pricing your car competitively can attract more potential buyers.

Before setting the price, you may consider getting an appraisal. A used car appraisal provides valuable information about your car and can help make sure you don’t undercharge when setting a price.

Step 5: List your car on Cars.com

Go to Cars.com and create an account, or log in if you already have one. Once logged in, click the “Sell Your Car” button. Follow the prompts to provide the required information about your car, upload photos and set your selling price. From there, your car will be added to Cars.com’s listings and it’s time to wait for buyers to inquire.

Alternatively, Cars.com has an Instant Offer option. An instant offer guarantees that your vehicle will be purchased and sold to one of Cars.com’s partnered dealerships. Once you’ve submitted all the required information, you’ll be presented with an offer. The offer lasts for 3 business days and is subject to inspection by the dealers.

If the participating dealer’s inspection matches the information you’ve provided, you’ll receive payment for the vehicle. This is a fast and easy way to sell your vehicle without having to set a price or wait for potential buyers. 

Step 6: Communicate with potential buyers

If you’ve decided to list your car instead of going with an instant offer, you’ll eventually receive inquiries from potential buyers. Make sure you’re prompt in your responses and be ready to answer questions about your car. Being transparent about your vehicle’s condition builds trust with potential buyers.

Step 7: Arrange test drives and inspections

When potential buyers express serious interest, they may want to arrange test drives and inspections. Always meet in a safe, public location and consider bringing a friend or family member along for added security. Be cautious about sharing personal information and agree on a safe payment method.

Step 8: Finalize the sale

Once you find a buyer who is satisfied with your car and the price, it’s time to finalize the sale. Be prepared to provide all necessary paperwork, including the title, bill of sale and any maintenance records. Make sure the buyer understands the payment process and transfer of ownership.

Selling your used car on Cars.com can be a smooth and rewarding process when you follow these steps. By providing accurate information and being responsive to inquiries, you’ll increase your chances of selling your car quickly and to the right buyer.

Pros and cons of selling a car on Cars.com

Pros:

  • Wide exposure: Cars.com is a popular online marketplace with a vast user base. Listing your car here means your vehicle can reach a broad audience of potential buyers.
  • Cost-efficient: Creating a listing on Cars.com is often more cost-effective than other methods like newspaper classifieds or dealer consignment. You can usually list your car for free or at a minimal cost, depending on the package you choose.
  • Detailed listings: Cars.com allows you to provide a comprehensive description and include high-quality photos of your vehicle. This level of detail helps you attract serious buyers who are genuinely interested in your car.
  • Pricing tools: The platform offers pricing tools to help you determine a competitive asking price for your car. This can save you the trouble of extensive market research.

Cons:

  • Competition: With the large number of listings on Cars.com, your car may face stiff competition. To stand out, you’ll need to have a desirable vehicle and put in the effort to create an attractive listing.
  • Inquiries and test drives: Dealing with inquiries and arranging test drives can be time-consuming. Be prepared for a significant amount of communication and potential no-shows.
  • Transaction Logistics: You’ll be responsible for handling the logistics of the transaction, including verifying payment, signing over the title and ensuring all paperwork is in order.

Frequently asked questions about selling a car on Cars.com

Is there a fee for listing my car on Cars.com?

Cars.com has a one-time fee of $4.99 to list your vehicle for 30 days. It costs an additional $35 to add the CARFAX report to your vehicle listing. 

How can I make my listing more attractive to buyers on Cars.com?

To create an appealing listing, take high-quality photos of your car, both inside and out. Write a detailed description that highlights your car’s features, condition and any recent maintenance or repairs. Transparency is key to attracting genuine buyers.

How do I communicate with potential buyers on Cars.com?

Cars.com offers a messaging system that allows you to communicate with potential buyers directly through the platform. This feature enhances security and simplifies the process of managing inquiries.

Can I negotiate the selling price with buyers on Cars.com?

Yes, you can negotiate the selling price with potential buyers. Negotiation can be a part of the process and it’s an opportunity to reach a mutually agreeable deal.

What if my car doesn’t sell on Cars.com?

If your car doesn’t sell as quickly as you’d like, don’t be discouraged. You can revisit your listing, adjust the price, or consider making it more attractive to buyers. You can also explore other selling options, like Cars.com’s Instant Offer option or listing it on other used car sites.

Can I buy a car on Cars.com?

Yes, Cars.com is one of the most popular platforms to buy cars online. Reference this helpful guide to get started!

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