Selling your car in September? 5 tips to get the best price

Getting rid of an old car can be an emotional experience – after all, you might have shared some memorable experiences with your beloved motor…
  But at least the parting blow is eased with a nice little windfall. So, to help you make the separation as painless as possible, here are five car-selling hacks to make sure you get as much cash as you can for the old girl (or boy).

1. Get a realistic valuation

To you, the car you’re selling might be an invaluable treasure of memories and nostalgia, so you might look at it through rose-tinted spectacles. In your eyes, every dent is a memento for the years you shared, and every scratch a memorial to your friendship. But come on, get real. It’s probably worth less than you think. You’re going to need to be realistic about what it’s worth, otherwise you’ll feel like you’re being short changed – or it just won’t sell. You can use free, online valuation services such as the on Glass’ motoring guide to get an objective view on what it might be worth. You could also search for similar vehicles on something like AutoTrader. Remember to look for something made in the same year, with a similar spec and mileage, for the best estimate.

2. Get it valeted

You can get your own marigolds on if you prefer, but a professional valet job will really show the car off at its best, and could land you a better price on the sale – which means you’ll recoup what you spend on cleaning it anyway. Bear in mind that if you do want to clean the car yourself, you’re going to want to spend on the best cleaning products, including products such as tyre shine. These costs will quickly add up, and potentially be more expensive than paying someone to do it for you.

3. Find a good used car ad online and use it as your template

If a potential buyer can’t see all the information they need in your ad, they’ll either carry on walking or skip onto the next ad – so it’s vital you get this right. Here are the kinds of details your ad MUST include:
  • Make, model and year
  • Mileage
  • Colour
  • Condition (be honest here)
  • Service history information
  • Extras and modifications
  • Tax and MOT information
  • At LEAST two ways to contact you
Use a site like Auto Trader to find an ad you think is comprehensive enough, copy it, and start swapping out the details so that it applies to your car. When you’re done, get someone else to proofread it. HOWEVER! Be sure to triple-check all the details are correct before you post online or on a notice board, as an inaccurate description could break the law. And even with all this information, there’s something even more important your ad needs…

4. Get some good pictures (with tips from a pro)

When it comes to advertising your car, it doesn’t matter how detailed your description is if your pictures are rubbish. Here are three tips for getting the best shots from MoneySuperMarket’s video editor, Suzanne Biddle:
  • Take pictures in good light, outside is best – not in the garage.
  • Don’t just take photos while standing, try crouching down for some sexy low angle shots.
  • Make sure there is as little going on in the background as possible.

5. Get a pre-emptive MOT

You can get an MOT at any time of the year, not just every 12 months – so if you have three months or less left on your current MOT certificate, it’s worth putting it through the test early, because a full year’s MOT will be more attractive to a buyer. With a bit of luck and effort, your pre-loved motor will be in tip-top condition and you’ll get the price you were after.

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