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Preparing to List Your Vehicle for Sale

Before you jump in with both feet, a little planning will go a long way


Preparing to List Your Vehicle for Sale

A bit of planning and checklisting can help you to make the most of your eBay Motors vehicle sale.

Image: Mikhailmishchenko / Dreamstime

Lots of things get bought and sold on eBay, but cars and vehicles are different in that:

  • Many are more valuable than most other things sold on eBay
  • Cars may go (and have gone) through many more owners
  • Cars are difficult to transport and/or ship
  • Authorities monitor vehicles and use them to identify drivers
  • One make/model of car may have a large number of significant variations
  • Most other buying/selling platforms (e.g. Amazon.com) aren't car-friendly

All of these differences make selling cars on eBay something of a special case requiring a few special steps that aren't normally involved in an eBay sale.

About This Article Series

The articles in this series are designed to help the prospective eBay vehicle-seller to carry out a successful and low-risk/low-hassle sale. They include:

  1. Preparing to List Your Vehicle for Sale
  2. Listing Your Vehicle for Sale on eBay Motors
  3. Attending to Your Active Vehicle Listing
  4. Preparing to Conclude Your Vehicle Sale
  5. Transferring Payment and Vehicle Ownership

They're designed to be read in order, but can also be read individually for tips related to specific stages in the eBay Motors vehicle selling process.

Preparing for an eBay Motors Vehicle Sale

Smart vehicle sellers attend to a number of tasks before they actually list their vehicle for sale on eBay Motors. Though these might seem a bit obvious or unnecessary to some, most veteran motors sellers have found that it pays to do a little bit of preparation work before actually creating an eBay listing for a vehicle.

Not only does prep work make the listing process faster and easier; it also helps to ensure the best possible sale price and to limit the amount of trouble that can occur later on—an important consideration for a class of goods often worth many thousands of dollars and closely supervised by government authorities.

  1. Do some market research. Check the Kelley Blue Book or another used car value resource to see what the market value of your car is. Visit local car dealers to inquire about sale and trade-in value. Then, visit eBay Motors and do a search for vehicles similar to yours (preferably a completed listing search). Compare prices. If you don't like the eBay prices, stop here: you're probably better off selling some other way.
  2. Create an eBay selling account. You'll need to be an eBay member with a free selling account in order to sell a vehicle on eBay, so if you haven't done so already, now is the time to join eBay. You might also want to consider building a feedback profile, too, before listing your vehicle, since sellers with no previous feedback tend not to realize the full value of their items when selling on eBay.
  3. Photograph or scan your vehicle title and edit it. After you have a .JPG image of your title, load the file into an image editor (like Photoshop or the free GIMP for Windows, Mac, or Linux) and black out your personal information (address, etc.). Then, "watermark" the image (add big text across the entire image) with your eBay member ID in it: "Car Sale by My-eBay-Member-Name." This text should be laid across the image so that it overlaps almost the entire file.
  4. Take vanity photos. Shoot some nice pictures of your vehicle: exterior, interior, and any improvements that you think will enhance the vehicle's value.
  5. Take practical photos. Now take pictures of things that will help buyers to make an honest decision about your car. Take clear photos of the information plates inside doors, in wheel wells, or in other places that buyers can use to more specifically identify the car and its features and capabilities. Also photograph under the hood (even if it's not so clean in there) and take pictures of any damage or wear areas that are significant.
  6. Complete eBay's checklist. Visit, print, and fill out eBay's Sell Your Vehicle Checklist so that all of the information you'll need to post an eBay motors listing is ready to go.
  7. Decide on delivery, pickup, and payment policies. Are you willing to deliver or must the buyer collect the vehicle themselves? If you're willing to deliver, how far are you willing to deliver? What kind of payment will you require? Be sure to understand the ins and outs of the deal-closing process as you make these decisions, or consider reading through all of the later articles in this series to help you decide before you begin.

Once you've covered your bases in the preparation stage, you can move on to listing your vehicle for sale, where you'll use everything you've assembled and learned in this stage of the process to smooth what's to come next.

Go on to the next step: Listing Your Vehicle for Sale on eBay Motors

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