Thursday, February 26, 2015

How To Sell Your Car On The Internet with Photography

SOLD: 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7; Dark Metallic Green Over Saddle

We are always amazed how little effort sellers make when they list their cars for sale. After all, first impressions are lasting - and pretty always sells. TheClassicCarFactory is doing everything we can to only offer quality well-cared for cars, but nothing inspires lack of interest in a car more than a bad presentation.

When selling, don't forget what it's like to be a buyer. The challenge of the hunt and being able to obsess over a potential acquisition when it has great photographs - and lots of them - gets a Buyer's attention and loosens their wallet.

How To Sell Your Car On The Internet:

Forget the sign in the rear window....The best way to sell a car today by owner is to utilize the internet. sells several restored collectible or special interest cars every year. Since we restore these cars to a extremely high degree both mechanically and cosmetically, we must reach buyers who recognize quality and are willing to pay for it. 

If you're selling a clunker, your car will still benefit from the advice below - but this is really for car lovers and enthusiasts.

This Is How We Do It:

First: Clean The Damn Car!!!!

How many times have you seen car ads with interiors full of crap, baby seats, candy wrappers, coats, boxes, jumper cables and gods know what? Doesn't it make you laugh just before you move on to the next listing?.....

A car should be spotless inside and out. The exterior should be polished and detailed, using rubber dressing for the trim and tires. If it's an older vehicles with white wall tires, use bleach or lightly rub with a Brillo pads to get those white rings pearlie white. Make sure to get the areas at the bottom of the body including the rocker panels and the under the front and rear bumpers.

For the interior, first REMOVE all personal items and shampoo the carpets and floor mats.
Vacuum the carpeting, especially around the seats. If you have set in stains, try using a stronger cleaner or Simple Green full strength to remove them.

Use a vinyl or leather cleaner for the seats, dash and door panels where appropriate. Finish with an Armour All or similar protectant. ( DO NOT use Armour All on the steering wheel rim or foot pedals - for obvious reasons :)

Get a detailing brush or a few Q-Tips and clean the a/c vents in between the blades. You'll be amazed how much crap accumulates in there and if you've never cleaned it - it smells.
If you've smoked in the car, make sure to also clean the headliner with a soft sponge. If the headliner material is a durable vinyl, you can even use Soft Scrub quite effectively. While you're at it - pull out any ashtrays that have been used and clean them until they look like they haven't.

Finally, invest in a bottle of Unscented Febreze and spray the entire interior well including the car, headliner and into the air vents. All odors and smells from mildew, pets, children etc will be eliminated and replaced with freshness.

Does the Car Have Small Parking Lot Dings, Chips or Road Rash?

For a very small investment of a few hundred dollars, you can have a mobile Paintless Dent Removal technician come to your home and remove all of them. The cost may be as little as $100 per panel or a few hundred for the entire car.....well worth it to eliminate a major excuse.

How about small nicks, chips and front " road rash"? - This is the cheapest fix there is if you're willing to do it yourself. For about $50, will provide you with factory match touchup paint that even the most untalented among us can do well. It is almost idiot-proof and superior to even paint pens and dealer touchup paint because there will be no runs and blobs....check them out.

Great Photography And Lots Of It.

Now that the car is clean in and out, you're ready for pictures:

Just as clean cars ride better, pretty cars sell quicker and for more money. The purpose of good photography is to first attract a buyer's interest, and second to show as much of the car as possible that an astute buyer would want to see - which allays the fear of buying a car long-distance.

Location Location Location: When I look at photos I am often more interested in what's in the background. If I see a run down neighborhood and junker cars I move on; Conversely, if I see exotic cars and three car garages - you have gotten my attention. 

Even if you don't live in a mansion, pretend that you do and find a either a great house or country club to show up in the background or a setting with field or lake views and nothing else. Try and take the picture during "the magic hours" when the light is indirect: 9-10am-ish and late afternoon are best.

Rule #1 is always shoot with the sun BEHIND you - even if that means you will have to rotate the car's position during the photo session. This is a basic rule of photography to avoid white-out and "flaring" - those rings and lines which occur when direct sunlight hits the lens.

What does a buyer need to see? - well, ask yourself what YOU would want to see if you were buying a's what is a checklist that has proven to work:


1. full driver side - straight on
2. full passenger side straight on
3. full front and hood straight on
4. full trunk and rear straight on
5, 6, 7, 8: step back take a shot from a 45 degree angle at each corner; you will get the front/back and ONE complete side in each photo.
9. the engine  compartment ( does it need to be cleaned first?)
10. The trunk compartment ( empty and vacuumed first! )
11,12,13,14: Kneel down at the corners of the car and take a shot of the LENGTH of the car to show it is straight and not wavy - move a foot or two away if need to get the whole sweep.


1,2,3,4: Open each door and photograph each door panel.
5,6,7,8: Take a long shot through each open door so you view the seat cushions and back.
9. Photograph the headliner, especially if you have a sunroof.
10. From the backseat, sit in the middle a shoot the entire dash - pillar to pillar
11. the factory door stickers on the drivers pillar
12. the rear parcel shelf


1. If a convertible/removable hardtop, get shots with it up and down
2. If you have books, records and full sets of keys - shoot them
3. If the tires are new or the wheels are a selling point, take a picture of each one.

Choosing Where To List Your Car Online:

Car Websites can be expensive and not all are effective. Here are the ones you should consider:

1. Craigslist - but it expires every 30 days.
2. - free and effective
3. - Free and Paid Ads, Very effective.
4. AutoTrader - Fee Only, somewhat effective.
5. Ebay: - Fee based and expensive but a wide audience; unfortunately most seem to have no money or if they do, little desire to part with it.

Basic Selling Tips:

1. Never negotiate over the phone if the buyer has not seen the car. Make them come see it.
unless the buyer is not intending on seeing the car in person ever.

2. Never show the car at your home. Pick a local public place to meet like a Starbucks, Panerra Bread's safer for you and will give you a place to negotiate or complete the paperwork over coffee.

3. In person sales: Accept Cash or if comfortable, a MAJOR NATIONALLY- KNOWN BANK Cashier's Check - nothing else.

4. If you are selling the car to someone sight unseen have them WIRE the full amount to your bank account and do NOT release the title until funds have shown up.

5. Always remind the buyer that they are buying a used car, AS IS WHERE IS With All It's Faults And Charms. If there is remaining coverage on the factory warranty great - but otherwise the only guarantee you should offer is that the car is going to want something fixed  at some point.

6. Know The Market For Car; Know Your Time frame.

If you've got something rare, low mileage, collectible then you may deserve a premium price IF you are willing to be patient, sometimes for months. If you want a quick sale or are desperate for the money, see what other similar cars are listing for and price accordingly.

Make sure your ad points out ONLY good things:

Clean Carfax, Low Miles, Low Number of Owners, Original Paint, Everything Working, No Rust, No Dings, No Dents etc IF they are true....NEVER make excuses or give a reason for selling in the ad. Follow these steps and your car will sell.

Don't Think You Take Good Pictures?......Call Us!

Anyone should be able to take some good pictures of their car - but if you want great ones, we're here! We offer professional photography services in the Northern NJ Area for $225 ( slightly more if travel exceeds 1 hour ) For that we'll provide you a minimum of 25 high-quality pics of everything we know a Buyer wants to see. 

The more Buyers you attract - the higher your sales price will likely be. Professional Photography pays for itself and is a no brainer. It's also good to have great photos for insurance purposes on collector cars, since non-collector insurance companies will not value your car anywhere near what it may be worth should mayhem occur.

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