There are various things to consider when selling your car. These include whether to sell to a trader or private individual, how to achieve the best price and what to do when you complete the sale.
Who to sell to
There are various options available when it comes to selling your car. You can sell it to a trader (including trading the vehicle in a part exchange deal), sell it at auction or make a direct private sale to an individual.
The best option for you will probably depend on how much you want for the car, whether you need a quick sale and whether you're prepared to expend a little extra effort making a private sale. Traders offer a quick, hassle-free option but they do make offers with profit margins in mind. Auctions can also provide a quick way to sell but the auctioneer will take a fee, which is often a percentage of the final price. You will also have to pay extra to set a reserve price, which means that your car will not sell unless bidding reaches a certain price.
Selling to a private individual can often bring the best price, but you may have to wait longer and put in a little extra effort before making a sale.
Preparing your car for sale
One of the most important parts of any car sale, for both seller and buyer, is the price. There are many sources on the Internet offering free used car estimates. A mechanic or dealer may offer you an evaluation and you can also check what others are selling the same type of car for.
The make, model and age of the car will provide a starting point but the condition, mileage and options such as interior trim, music players, air conditioning etc. will also have a bearing on the price. Even the colour of the car can affect the price. Remember though that these are only estimates. How much you receive will depend on the current market and how much a buyer is willing to pay. In order to get the full estimated value or even more, you may have to be prepared to wait.
Many sellers will keep three basic figures in mind. These are the ideal price, a fair price that they would be happy to sell the car for and an absolute minimum price below which they won't sell.
Minor and cosmetic faults can turn a basically sound vehicle into an unattractive prospect and could lower the final sale price by a greater amount than it would cost to rectify them. Paint touch-up sticks can be used on minor chips and blemishes. Oil, water and other fluid levels can be easily topped up and tyres can be inflated to the correct pressure. A clean, fresh smelling car is also likely to fetch more than a dirty and unkempt one.
It can save time if you collect all relevant paperwork such as the logbook, MOT certificate, service history, repair receipts and any existing warranties before anyone comes to view the car.
It may also help if you make sure you know where the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) is located, as a cautious buyer may wish to check this.
There are many places to advertise a car for sale, from specialist sites online to newspapers and the local shop or post office window. It's generally a good idea to include as many details as possible in the space you have.
Important information to list on an advertisement could include:
- The exact make & model
- Year of the car
- Current mileage
- Service history
- Number of owners
- Photographs of the car can also be included, especially if you are advertising online.
While selling a car is usually straightforward, sellers (and buyers) can sometimes be the victims of fraud and other crime. If you are selling a car from home you may wish to ensure that someone else is with you whenever a potential buyer comes to view the car. It's not generally advisable to let a viewer take a car for an unaccompanied test-drive.
You should also be aware that there may be issues with your insurance when it comes to offering test drives. If a viewer says they are insured to drive any car with the owner's permission, it can be a good idea to ask them to show you the paperwork.
If you are being paid by electronic transfer or cheque, it may be a good idea to wait until funds have cleared before handing over the keys.
Documents and red tape
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) state that it's important to tell them as soon as you sell your vehicle or you'll continue to be responsible for paying the vehicle tax or penalties for the non-payment of it. If you fail to tell the DVLA you could be held responsible for any future motoring offences committed in the vehicle.
You can inform the DVLA by completing and sending the relevant part of the registration certificate (logbook).
If you are getting a new car, you may be able to transfer your existing insurance policy.Back to top