When it comes to selling your cars, some are lucky to find buyers within days or weeks of listing their cars online or contacting a dealership. Unfortunately, others often have to wait months before a willing buyer comes forward with an offer they find satisfactory enough. 

Every selling experience is unique, and even when the circumstances are similar, there is no fixed time frame for selling used cars. Here at GivemetheVIN, we focus on giving you a much better experience and a definite answer to the ultimate question: “How long does it take to sell your car online?”

A Sample Timeline for Selling a Car

GivemetheVIN can give used car sellers an offer within 15 to 30 minutes of submitting their car’s VIN (vehicle identification number). This is the beauty of selling through an established, online-based car-buying company with a reputation for fast and reliable transactions.

However, selling a car doesn’t take only 15 to 30 minutes, especially when it has already logged many years and hundreds of miles. Older cars usually sell slower than newer cars. Considering the preparations necessary to put up any vehicle for sale, it can still take weeks from the day you decide to sell to the day you receive an offer.

Here’s a more accurate answer to how long it takes to sell a car online that considers the entire process, from preparing your vehicle to dropping it off to its new owner.

Prepping Time 

Preparing your car before listing it and letting anyone see it is good practice. Cleaning the interiors and exteriors is always worth your money because clean cars are infinitely more appealing than dirty and visibly aged units. It also helps attract buyers willing to pay a higher price for good value: they will see your clean car and think it’s well taken care of, and therefore less likely to have many issues they would have to spend money on later. 

Depending on the work needed on your car and the availability of the technicians who’ll spruce it up and make it look as new as possible, prepping your vehicle can take a week or longer. 

It’s important to note if you had modifications done on the body or interiors, like a vinyl wrap or customized attachments for your sports equipment, you might also have to remove them. Most second-hand car buyers look for plain cars, and features that are customized to someone else’s taste may be offputting. Unless you have a standby buyer who shares your interests and is happy to get your car as is, the extra work of removing your customizations could add a few more days to your prepping time.

Here are a few more things to do while getting your car ready at the shop:

Take Photos of Your Car

This next step is crucial in this age of online car selling. If you want to sell your car online, you need to take clear, quality pictures of the exterior and interior of your vehicle. Buyers will be looking at them to decide whether your car matches their requirements for manufacturing year, model, interior detailing, dashboard features and passenger capacity, among other things. They will also want to know beforehand if there are any problems like faded paint, busted headlights or corrosion in the engine. 

Serious buyers will want to find a car that offers the most value within their budget, and photos will help them decide if your vehicle is worth their time and consideration. 

List Your Car or Find a Dealer

When your car and the photos are ready, you can finally list your car at an online automobile marketplace or find a dealer who may be interested in your vehicle. Upload the images, then provide a winning description of your car. Remember, a well-written description can increase your chances of finding a serious buyer fast. 

Depending on the number of buyers currently looking for second-hand cars or how tough the competition is with other second-hand car sellers, you can receive an inquiry and an offer in a matter of days.

Closing the Sale

The process of buying and selling used cars is more straightforward than what takes place in a dealership that sells brand-new cars. Since the car’s VIN, registration and title are already on hand, it’s just a matter of the buying and selling parties agreeing to a price and closing the sale. Discussions can take days, even weeks, if you’re willing to give an interested buyer time to come up with the cash to pay for your car. 

A word of caution: many second-hand car purchases are finalized through word of mouth. We advise against informal agreements if you agree to a long-term payment scheme. You won’t have significant legal leverage if the buyer doesn’t pay as agreed.

Once you accept an offer, all that’s left is to meet in person and hand the keys, title, and other essential documents to the new owner. 

Sell Your Car Online Through a Reliable Online Platform

The last decade saw many businesses succeed at selling and buying cars without the seller or buyer seeing the vehicle in person. 

GivemetheVIN’s John Clay Wolfe is an example of an expert buyer who buys cars over the radio. Years of experience talking to used car sellers and learning about the different car brands have made him an expert in online car buying. 

Wolfe and our team of professional buyers know what questions to ask to verify verbal descriptions and match them with the photos and other available information. This is why we can quickly assess the value of used cars and give sellers a competitive offer within the day, assuming that a seller did all the steps above and has the photos, description and 17-digit VIN on hand.

So, how long does it take to sell your car online? If it’s in good condition and doesn’t require any repair or detailing work, you can get it listed and receive bids in as early as one week. But if you sell through GivemetheVIN, you can get an offer within the hour and complete the process within a week. 

Learn more about selling your car online at GivemetheVIN. Contact us today.

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