I know this post about used cars is probably better suited for my car blog Drive Another Day but I wrote a similar one there roughly three years ago and it’s amazing how little has changed since then.
The situation: I’m selling my car and while waiting for that to happen, I’m looking at options for the next one. What I’m finding instead are used car ads where the details are more non-existent than affordable rentals in Sydney at the moment..
Yes it’s a shame we’ve come to this but it’s time for my 2005 Subaru Impreza RS to find a new home. Preferably one that enjoys fixing head gaskets because I don’t (more I’m not in the financial market to have someone do it and after getting burnt with this one, I’d rather move it on.) And so if you’re in the market for something like this, you’ll find plenty of details right here on Carsales.
And yes, I have listed the potential head gasket issues because I’d rather be upfront at what I’m selling. (And there’s nothing worse than used car surprises – oh boy the stories I could tell with some of my previous car choices..)
However while I like to go heavy on the details to answer as many questions as possible up front, it seems that’s not what I’m finding when I’m perusing some of the used car sales ads online and wondering ‘Wait, what aren’t you telling me here?’
Selling used cars – It’s all about the details baby!
At the time of writing, I’m still leaning towards something Japanese and high up on the list includes a Mazda 6 Wagon, an Lexus Rx350 or a Lexus Is250. There’s plenty of examples out there (unfortunately nowhere near me but that’s a whole other kettle of used brake pads..) but while people can easily fill out the bare bones through sites like Facebook and Gumtree (Make, model, colour, mileage etc) it’s when they get to the description bit that they stall.
Or in a few cases leave completely blank – and I for one can’t understand the why of it.
Remember that time when you went to a store, any store really and you asked the sales person a question about a product you were interested in, only they looked at you blankly before wandering off without a word? Well hopefully you don’t remember that because it sounds like the worst store in the world. But this lack of anything is akin to a catalogue of blenders where the description for each is just the word blender, with different prices.
Blender.-When the world’s worst sales person is asked about the features of a new wiz bang appliance on display by an interested customer.
You are keen on selling this thing aren’t you?
Now I understand that not everyone is a car person. They might not know what kind of engine they have or how many killer wasps lurk under the bonnet. They might not even know what model it is (here’s a hint, look for badges or your latest rego form) but you can still give potential interested parties something. Which truly is better than nothing.
-How long have you had it?
-How’s the tires look, are they on fire currently?
-Is the paintwork hanging on for dear life or is it okay?
-Any accidents? Any damage we can’t see?
-When was it last serviced?
-When can we call you?
-Any paperwork? Service history? Spare parts?
-How about the air conditioning? Does it still condition the air?
-Will you take cash or prefer potatoes?
-How often is it serviced?
-Why should I consider this example over other used cars I could afford (or a train)
-Any strange noises?
-Does it sound like the engine is about to go kaboom?
-Do I need to worry about head gasket related issues? (Oh god no..)
-Is the transmission smooth or is there a high chance I might break an arm putting it into first?
-Anything missing? Am I going to look at this and wonder where the engine went?
-Where is it located? (Trust me this is important, I’ve had a couple of people from Sydney ask me about my car, not reading the bit about it being in Albury which is 544kms away..)
I know I can call, I know I can ask, that’s a given. But if you put everything up there and I decide after it that it’s not for me then I’m not going to waste your time/get your hopes up with an inquiry. Tell me what I need to know without too much effort and I might come and buy it off you. Deal?
Used cars – If a picture is worth 1000 words..
Why in the name of all used cars did you only stop at two? No seriously, riddle me this – who looks at a car ad and thinks whoa nelly, that’s too many pictures and too many angles of a car I might be interested in? That’s a hard pass for me!*
And yet that’s what I’ve been finding, especially on Facebook (look I know you really get all sorts there..) two or less pictures that were so obviously exhausting to upload, they stopped for a rest before they hit three. I get to see the outside of one angle and maybe the backseat? Under my obviously crazy way of thinking, I figure if you’re too lazy to put up even a handful of pictures in an attempt to sell something the size of a vehicle, then I’m going to assume you’ve been lazy looking after it too. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that way. Therefore..
There’s plenty more fish in the sea/used cars with more than two pics taken with a potato and just a single sentence in the description.
Who buys used cars near me?
Lots of people – the price of used cars post covid has gone up rapidly and if priced accordingly, don’t last long the market. However if you’re planning to sell, I’m going to recommend paid ad sites (like Autotrader and Carsales) over free options any day of the week (like Facebook and to a lesser degree Gumtree). In my experience the people you deal with on paid sites are far less flaky and you won’t get spammed with idiot low balls, offers of rubbish trades or people who ask if it’s still available and then fade off into the digital ether soon after never to be heard from ever again.
Good luck with your used cars ads peeps and don’t forget to go hard on the details and the pictures. See you round in my new (second hand) Lexus soon enough!
*Fun fact: Carsales insisted on at least 15 pictures of my Subaru including inside, outside and under the bonnet as a minimum. Take those pictures kids if you’re genuine on selling.