How to write a compelling Used-Car Advert

The most important factor is honesty as you will be found wanting if your ad is not truthful. It’s not difficult to write a decent ad as it plain fact, keep it short but accurate as its the photos and detail that sell the car…not the poetic write up you may be contemplating.

1. The most important first: Make, Model, Year, it’s current mileage and colour. Simple.

2. MOT (UK)- basically the test which indicates if your vehicle is roadworthy. In the UK vehicles three years or older require such a test. It’s important to include the next required test date in the ad. To some it could be a deal breaker, if the vehicle requires an MOT a few weeks after the sale it could indicate that the seller has doubt if it would pass the test, so the longer an MOT it has the better really.

3. The vehicles condition: Not many words required here, but be careful in your choice of said few words.

 “Immaculate” means exactly that, the vehicle is in showroom condition. Unless you spend every weekend polishing your pride and joy and don’t use the car very much or it is in fact spotless be careful using immaculate. If your prospective buyer seems but a slight mark on the car they will have doubts from that point in which makes it more difficult to get the sale.

“Reliable”as it says on the tin so be truthful. It’s no good putting reliable and the car breaks down the moment they take it off your drive.

“Project” you guessed it, it needs work. Adding “running” or “non running” helps as someone may actually want a project that they can commute in.

4. History: Tell us where she has been ( in a car sense obviously). Every buyer wants to know if there is some servicing history. Some people are not as fussy and don’t mind if people say they have serviced it themselves. Saying that a car has full service history can add serious value as it shows the car has been checked over and the necessary done to keep it on the road. I prefer stamped service history as it may show the car has been somewhere reputable to have the work done.

As a secondary to service history tell buyers what has recently been done to the car or if something is due like a Cam Belt change or a recent exhaust replacement. People want to know if they will be laying out more cash on the car in the near future so tell them what they need to hear.

Number of owners is also important if you know the number.

5. Photos: if the platform you are using to advertise the car allows photos (and if it doesn’t you are advertising in the wrong place). Ensure that one the photos aren’t blurry and if you have time, do clean the car. I have been put off many an ad where the person could not be bothered to clean the inside of the car. Which tells me they could be bothered with the car which is like scoring an own goal.

6. Secondary details: emphasise a little more on the condition of the car lower down in the description such as number of dents if any, other imperfections like paint fade or rust.

7. Show me the money: How much do you want for the car? You need to do some research here, most people think their car is worth more than market value. If you have a rare, special edition or desirable car you have levrage so you could add some money to the asking price. Many like using the ONO (or near offer) tactic by increasing the asking price hoping to get the market value after negotiation. Personally I don’t like using ONO as you get tyre kickers and time wasters offering you all sorts and can make the entire process hard work. Stating no offers and or swaps helps with this. Personally I have no interest in swapping my BMW for a bicycle, 4 onion rings and kitten. I must add if that bike won the Tour De France we can talk. On a whole that won’t be case and I don’t have the time for it.

8. This may sound stupid but add contact details where people can actually reach you. Using a work number that you are not allow to use for personal business is not the best way of saying you want to reach a deal.

Just be honest and make use of the space on the ad to declare as much as you can, don’t be the one responsible for deal breaking.


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