Tips on how to sell your car

Working out the best way to sell your car can be complicated as there are so many different ways to do it.  For most people, the two key influencers are price – where can they obtain the most money for the vehicle – and speed.

Selling privately

This usually gets the best price for a vehicle if you are not in any hurry and can ignore stupid offers and wait for the right buyer to come along.  There are so many different places to advertise online.  You can still use the industry favourites like Autotrader but there are numerous other options including just promoting the vehicle to relevant groups on Facebook via your own page.

If you do use a commercial selling site, it is very easy to upload your own photographs and write appropriate selling spiel.  Always remember to include the letters ‘NC’ at the end of your script as this indicates, ‘no canvassers’ otherwise you will be plagued by company’s trying to sell advertising space / trying to persuade you to buy a slot on their site.

It can be time-consuming selling privately but you will probably achieve the best price.  Make sure you respond to interested parties promptly and always be present at viewings.  If a potential buyer wants to test drive the car then you should always accompany them.  Check their driving licence before you allow them behind the wheel and make sure your motor policy has cover for any driver.

Ensure all of your paperwork for the vehicle is in order so service history, all invoices and receipts and the last two or three years MOT certificates.

Organising safe payment can be tricky but these days, using banking apps on mobile technology means buyers and sellers can visibly see the transfer of funds between them on handheld devices.  The other alternative is secure sites like Paypal or a banker’s cheque which may incur a charge but does represent cleared funds as the bank draws it on their customer’s account.  Always write or print off a receipt which details the car including registration, the agreed price and the buyer’s details – name and address.  Ask the purchaser to sign the receipt and keep a copy for yourself.

Selling to a dealer

car dealer selling your car

Most people don’t do this unless they want rid of a car very quickly.  It is more usual in the situation where the car is traded in as part-exchange for a new or newer vehicle.  The dealer is only going to offer you a trade price and you may well see your a car a few hours later on his forecourt at a higher price.  But, he has to make a profit and he will not give you the same amount for the vehicle that you could achieve in a private sale.

Some people just don’t want the hassle of advertising and selling privately and will trade their car in when they are looking for another one.  If you are also interested in buying a vehicle from a dealer then you may be able to negotiate as it presents a slightly more level playing field.  Franchised dealers are always keen to have quality used stock on their forecourts so if you are going for the same make again, then you should get a better price from a dealer who specialises in selling for that manufacturer.

Online car buying sites

There are lots of these sites around plenty of which advertise on television.  It’s very simple, enter the registration number and the mileage and you will receive an instant online valuation.  You then take the car to one of the company’s local centres to have it assessed before the price is confirmed.

Consumer reviews such as those conducted by Which found that prices offered by some of these organisations were substantially lower than the buyer could have achieved privately or via another route.  Most of these companies usually send the vehicles straight to auction which you can, of course, do yourself.

Online Car Auctions

Why not consider selling on eBay?  You will have to pay a fee which can be steep depending on the value of the vehicle.  You can set a reserve price for the online auction or opt for ‘buy it now’ at a fixed price so rather like advertising on any other online car selling website.  The bids are deemed to be legally binding providing the car is truthfully described and is not misrepresented in any way.

eBay doesn’t achieve top dollar for cars because usually, the buyer is buying without trying which works well for some sales items but is not so popular with vehicles.  eBay can work well however for certain types of vehicles.  Beware online scammers who cruise around eBay looking for soft targets.  Never take your business outside the site  – a common ploy – as you will lose all protection; this is a favourite tactic.  If you are offered a strangely high price and it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

Visit a Car Auction

visiting a car auction

Really the same as an online auction service just in the flesh so to speak.  There is no guarantee of a sale so this is similar to the online equivalent.  You set a reserve price and pay an entry fee to the auctioneer.  If the car sells, payment is prompt minus the auction house commission.  If the car does not make the reserve price you set for it then you will need to take the car away after the sale and find somewhere else to sell it.

However you choose to sell your car, always keep yourself safe and beware scammers and crooks.  The used car market is full of prowling tricksters who will try and rip you off so keep your wits about you.  If an offer seems too good to be true then it usually is.  Always present your vehicle in the best condition possible.  Keep it as clean inside and outside as you can, a real hassle if it takes a while to sell but worth it in the long run.  And have all your paperwork in good order – this is really important to a buyer and will help you achieve a good price for your car.