How To Write Attractive Used Car Ads

When you're considering selling your car, there are two primary types of ads you may need to write: classified print ads and online ads. Since they will be advertised in two different mediums, the requirements for writing an attractive ad are different as well.

Classified Ads

  1. Follow the format. The standard classified ad format generally follows this pattern: Year, Make, Model. After that, it becomes arbitrary, but you should include information about transmission, accessories, mileage, condition, color, price, and your phone number.

  • Use correct abbreviations. You should always use the proper abbreviations for writing classified car ads. If you don't know them, take a look at Edmunds.
  • Include price. The most important aspect of a classified ad is the price. If you say, "Call for price," then buyers will likely assume that your car is overpriced and most won't even consider it in their search. See #4 below for a quick overview of how to appraise your car.
  • Online Ads

    1. Use lots of pictures. You know the old saying "A picture's worth a thousand words?" Keep that in mind when selling your car online. Since people usually can't see the car before purchasing from a national posting, pictures are the key to getting the sale. If there are problems with the car, take a close-up, detailed picture of the problem. This demonstrates to buyers that you are willing to be completely honest with them by disclosing all the facts.

  • Details, details, details. The best descriptions aren't those with a long list of adjectives. Instead, they include significant details about the car that are described using a few well-chosen, descriptive words.
  • Brag about the positive traits. Identify your selling points. For instance, if you're selling a convertible during the summer, highlight that the convertible is perfect for road trips. If gas prices are high at the time, tout the gas mileage as the major selling point.
  • Talk about the price. The most attractive part of your sale will always be your price. Always include it. If you're not sure how much to charge, then you need to take the steps to determining an accurate value. Here's a quick overview of how to appraise your car:
    • Check around on websites such as Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, and Nada Guides to determine an approximate value for your car. Some of these sites don't provide a private party value, but you can estimate a good selling price by averaging the trade-in price with the dealer price.
    • Be honest with yourself and make necessary deductions for imperfections that auto guides cannot predict. For instance, you can't tell the guide that somebody keyed your car six months ago. Knock down the price if the tires are badly worn or if there are stains on the upholstery. Also, consider the market conditions. If gas is expensive, then it may be harder to sell a car that gets poor gas mileage. Similarly, convertibles sell better during the summer.
  • Whether you're selling your car in the classifieds or online, if you follow these steps you should be able to appraise your car appropriately and write ads that are attractive to buyers based on the quality of the pictures, the writing and the price.


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