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Creating a Captivating Online Car Listing: A Comprehensive Guide

new car

from the Gumtree Team

26 Oct 2023 4 mins read

A compelling online car listing is critical, as it serves as the first impression for potential buyers. The listing must grab their attention, conveying essential details about the vehicle’s make, model, and key features in a concise and engaging manner. 

An enticing online car listing can lead to more inquiries and faster sales. In a competitive used car market, a captivating listing sets your car apart from others, helps buyers envision themselves in the car, and ultimately encourages a successful sale.

Car Listing Checklist

Before you list your car for sale, make sure you’ve followed this car listing template: 

  1. Choose the right platform.
  2. Upload high-quality photos from all angles, as well as a video if possible.
  3. Include a detailed description with all necessary information.
  4. Set a competitive and realistic price.
  5. Enhance the listing with multimedia if possible.
  6. Prepare for prompt and clear communication.
  7. Share and promote the listing.

1. Choose the Right Platform

Selecting the right online website for selling your car is crucial to ensure a successful and hassle-free sale. Choosing the right platform for your used car ad can help you get the listing in front of the right buyer. 

Popular Websites

Some of the most popular websites for listing cars for sale online include: 

Gumtree Australia

As a popular online marketplace, we can help connect you with potential buyers for your car. 

  • Large User Base: We have a large user base, increasing the chance of the right buyer seeing your car listing. 
  • User-Friendly: We make it simple to list your car for sale, and to easily communicate with interested buyers. 
  • Cost-Effective: Gumtree is a cost-effective way of listing your car for sale. There is a one-time Gumtree car listing fee until your car is sold, which varies depending on the type of advert you choose. 

Local vs. National 

When it comes to listing your car for sale online, you may be deciding between listing on a local classifieds, or on a broader platform. 


  • Local Audience: The targeted audience is local to your immediate area, making it easier to connect with local buyers, and organise a vehicle inspection and test drive.
  • Convenience: It’s convenient for both the seller and the buyer if the car is local to both parties. For example, transfer of ownership can be more complicated if buying from interstate. 
  • Limitations: There may be limitations to the reach of your listing. 


  • Wider Audience: National platforms attract a wider audience, which increases the chance of reaching potential buyers. 
  • Competitive Pricing: Reaching a wider audience helps your chance of finding a buyer who’s happy to negotiate and pay a higher price. 
  • Comprehensive Listings: Many national platforms such as Gumtree include additional features for your listing, such as allowing you to add more photos and more detailed descriptions. 

2. Tips on Taking High-Quality Photos

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Good quality photos always rank high on the priority list of any car listing guide. High-quality pictures are a must when it comes to posting your car for sale. They play a pivotal role in the success of your car sale. 

  • First Impressions: Photos are the first thing potential buyers see. High-quality images create a positive first impression and grab their attention.
  • Transparency: Clear photos provide an accurate representation of the car’s condition, allowing buyers to assess its overall appeal, inside and out.
  • Trust and Credibility: Quality photos signal professionalism and create trust for potential buyers, making them more comfortable about pursuing the listing.
  • Price Justification: When buyers see a well-photographed car, they are more likely to accept the asking price, as they can see the value in the images.

Exterior Shots 

A photo of the exterior of the car is usually the first photo an interested party will look at. 

  • Angles: Make sure you capture photos from all angles including front, side and back. Ensure you include photos of the car’s full profile.  
  • Close Ups: Take close up photos of notable features such as the wheels and grille. 
  • Imperfections: Be sure to photograph any imperfections such as scratches or dings. 

Interior Shots

Buyers want to be able to see inside the vehicle to view the aesthetics of the car and how well it’s been looked after. A clean and well-maintained interior is viewed favourably by many buyers. 

  • Dashboard: An important feature to show anybody who is looking at your listing. 
  • Front and Rear Seats: This will show the condition of the seats as well as the configuration of seating. Make sure to include leather upholstery or other notable features. 
  • Centre Console: Make sure you show off the features of the centre console, as well as the entertainment system. 
  • Boot: Prospective buyers want to see the condition of the boot, as well as how much room there is.

Under the Hood 

Capturing photos of the engine bay can show potential buyers the condition of the engine and close ups of specific components. 

  • Clean Engine: The engine should be cleaned prior to taking photos to show that it’s in good working order and well-maintained. 

Top Car Photography Tips

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to capture good quality pictures of your car. 

  • Lighting: Pay attention to lighting. Utilise the ‘golden hours’ of early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. This provides a soft, warm light that enhances the car’s appearance. 
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Harsh, direct sunlight can create strong contrasts and reflections. 
  • Eliminate Distractions: Consider where you take the photos. Remove clutter and unnecessary items from the background to keep the focus on the car.

3. Creating a Detailed Car Listing Description

An honest and detailed description is vital when listing your car for sale online. The right description is not only informative, but it tells a story and can evoke emotion in potential buyers, making them more interested in organising a viewing of the car. How to write a car description is simple with these steps: 

Basic Information 

Include a clear title with key details about the car, with the rest of the information in the description. Be sure to include: 

  • Make and model 
  • Year
  • Mileage 
  • Colour 
  • Price 

Vehicle’s History 

  • Accident History: Be upfront about the accident history of the car. 
  • Previous Owners: If the car had previous owners before you, include this information in the description. 
  • Reason for Selling: This transparency is important for prospective buyers, so they understand why you want to sell the car. 

Maintenance Records

  • Service Records: A full service history is highly favourable. 
  • New Parts: Mention any new upgrades or replacements that have been made, such as to air conditioning or other systems. 
  • Repair History: Any major repairs that have been undertaken on the vehicle. 
  • Honesty is Key: Mention any minor flaws or issues, but position them neutrally or positively.

4. Setting a Competitive Price

Every owner wants to ensure they get the best price for their car when it’s time to sell. But at the same time, it’s important to be realistic to avoid listing a car for a price that’s too high, and losing potential interest. 

  • Market Research: Do some research into similar listings to get an insight into a price range. 
  • Consider Negotiation: Set your asking price slightly higher than you’d be happy to accept to allow room for negotiation. 
  • Free Online Valuation Calculator: Use an online tool such as Gumtree’s free valuation calculator to determine a price range estimate for your car. 

5. Effective Communication Strategies

A buyer will appreciate clear and effective communication leading up to, during, and following a sale. 

  • Quick Responses: Respond promptly to inquiries and messages from potential buyers. Quick responses demonstrate your commitment and interest in the sale and ensure they don’t lose interest. 
  • Clear Communication: Be transparent and respectful, and avoid jargon in your description and contact with buyers. 

6. Enhancing Visibility

Sometimes it’s all about getting your listing in front of the right person. There are some things you can do to enhance the visibility of your listing and increase the chance of a speedy sale. 

  • Promotion: Share your listing on social media and ask your family and friends to do the same. 
  • Paid Features: Consider ‘featured listing’ options for more visibility. This is where you pay a fee to ‘boost’ your listing, or to add extra features. 

7. Safety First

While most online car sales go smoothly, it’s essential to be cautious and prioritise your safety. Trust your judgement and take appropriate precautions during the selling process.

Avoid potential scams by listening to your intuition and recognising red flags. If a potential buyer offers to be pay more than the asking price, or to pay before inspecting the vehicle, then these could be signs of potential scammers. 

Worth the Investment

Investing time and effort in creating a compelling listing can significantly impact the outcome of your car sale by attracting the right buyers and ensuring a seamless and satisfactory experience for both parties.

While it can be tempting to hurry through your listing to get it posted, make sure you take your time to ensure every detail of your listing is perfect to attract genuine interest in your car. This way, you can ensure you attract buyers who are genuinely interested and you can get the best price.