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Thinking of selling your car? 5 important things to consider

ByDave Stopher

Jul 17, 2020 #Motoring

If you want to sell your car quickly, get the best price, and do so with the minimum of hassle – it is crucial to know your car’s true value, where best to sell it, and what to do during and after the sales process.

Here are 5 important things you need to consider if you want to pick the right route for you – and successfully drive the sale home.

  1.   You need to know your car’s true value

How much you can get for your used car will be determined by the market; and will be affected by such factors as make, model, age, mileage, condition, and service history. Before embarking on the sales process, it’s crucial to gauge an accurate assessment of your car’s true market value, as it will save you considerable time in the long run.

If you’re thinking of selling privately, visit the Auto Trader  website and look at what cars of a similar age and type to your own are selling for. Alternatively, if you want a fast, guaranteed, and hassle-free sale, use Motorway’s price comparison tool for a view of what online car-buying services will give you for your motor.

  1. You need to decide what type of sale you want

If you decide to sell privately, through websites like Gumtree, or eBay, you are likely to get a better price for your car. However, it can be a long, drawn-out process, and will most likely result in you dealing with potential buyers arriving at your house, test driving the vehicle with them, haggling over the price, managing all the associated admin – and, at the end of the day, you are still not assured of a sale.

Whereas, with online car-buying websites like We Buy Any Car or The Car Buying Group, as long as you describe your car accurately, sales are pretty much guaranteed – and the money can be in your bank within 24 hours.

The market has become saturated with online car-buying companies in the last few years, and though they might appear to superficially offer the same service, there are actually considerable differences between them. 

  1. You need to know how to make your car sellable

If you decide against using an instant car-buying service, and want to try to get a better price for it by selling privately, then to enhance your chances of making a quick sale, you’ll need to make your car as marketable as possible.

Ensure that your car has been deep-cleaned inside and out. Paying particular attention to the driver’s seat – in case a potential buyer wants to take it for a test drive. This doesn’t mean getting the car a professional detail (though this is a good idea if you’re selling a prestige vehicle), it just means cleaning the dashboard and surfaces and vacuuming the seats, car mats, and boot. If the floor mats are beyond repair, think about buying some replacements. A good-quality air purifier is usually a good investment too.

Photographs that will help you sell

To improve your chances of making a quick private sale, you will need to take some decent pictures of the car. To do this effectively, you should ensure they show the car situated somewhere bright, clean, and tidy. Having the car parked in a dirty alleyway, a dingy backstreet, or surrounded by graffitied walls or overflowing rubbish bins, will not convey to potential buyers that you look after your car or make them rush over for a test drive.

Though the number of images you add to your advert will depend on the platform you’ve chosen to sell your car through, to properly showcase it, you will need around 8-10 good photographs – including pictures of the front, back, some side profiles, close-ups of the wheels, the engine, the seats, and the dashboard. Include a picture of the milometer too, so that it validates the details in the ad.

  1. You have to be prepared to negotiate

When you meet with potential buyers, if you’ve done the requisite research on your car’s market value, you will appear more confident and will be able to speak with a greater level of authority as to why you consider the asking price to be fair.

If a potential buyer views the car and tries to substantially reduce – or ‘chip down’ – your asking price for reasons that you consider unreasonable, simply point out that you disagree – and stick to your guns. If they refuse to listen, be prepared to walk away, and hold out for a more serious buyer. 

Don’t allow the buyer to lead the negotiation

If you find a serious buyer that wants to make an offer, don’t allow them to push you into dropping the price straight away – and try to ensure that they make the opening offer. If they begin by asking what your ‘best price’ is, simply respond: “I think my asking price is reasonable – do you want to make me an offer?”

There are a lot of scammers out there and you need to be extremely wary of anyone that promises to transfer money later or attempts to pay you with a cheque. If they haven’t the cash on them, get them to do a bank transfer – but don’t hand over the keys until you have the money.

  1.   You need to get your documents in order

Following the sale of the car, you will need to complete a number of pieces of paperwork. As well as providing the buyer with a receipt, you will need to complete the ‘new keeper’ details (section 6) of the vehicle logbook (V5C) and hand it over to them. Then sign section 8 and send the updated V5C back to the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

You should provide the new owner with the car’s handbook, keys (including duplicates), and its service logbook. If you’ve sold the car with ‘a full-service history,’ you should also provide the buyer with all the old MOT certificates and maintenance receipts.

What to do after the sale is completed

Once the sale has concluded, and you’ve watched the new owner drive the car away, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing left to do. As well as sending the remaining part of the V5 form back to the DVLA, you need to contact your insurance company to notify them of the sale, and reclaim your road tax.

Your vehicle insurance is not cancelled automatically when you sell a car – despite the name, it is actually you (rather than the car) that is insured. Thus, legally, you need to alert the insurance company to any changes.

Few people are aware that they can also claim back any outstanding road tax once they’ve sold their car. However, the DVLA makes this extremely easy – simply visit the website and follow the steps.


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