Top 10 tips on selling privately

If you are thinking about buying a new car now the new 64 registration plates are here, you might first have to sell your old model. Of course, you could always trade in your vehicle with the dealer, whether you’re buying brand new or snapping up a second hand bargain. But you might want to try your luck with a private sale in the hope of bagging a better price. Faint heart never won fair price… Bear in mind that a private sale is not for the fainthearted. Be prepared to negotiate – and you might have to deal with some tricky customers. But here are MoneySuperMarket’s top 10 tips to help you get the best price for your old car.

1 - Set the right price

Don’t just pluck a figure out of the air, or you car could be stuck in your driveway for months.
Instead, research prices for similar vehicles by reading the classified ads in the local paper, magazines and online. You can also use an online valuation service. Auto Trader, for example, charges £3.95 for a single, expert valuation. But remember to leave some haggle room so that you can negotiate with the buyer.

2 - It pays to advertise

Think about the best place to advertise your car. You can put a classified ad in a local paper or a magazine. Or how about an auction site such as eBay? If you don’t want to pay any fees, you could try social media sites. You could even put a notice up in the car window if you often park the car where it can be seen by other motorists or passers by. The advert should be clear and concise, giving details of the price, make, model, year, mileage, colour and condition. You can also include some of the car’s additional features, such as air conditioning or leather seats. Just don’t make any false claims, or you could be breaking the law.

3 - Clean up your act

washing car img
If you want the best price for you car, your car should look its best, which means it should be clean inside and out. A little air freshener is always nice, too. You might even want to pay for a full valet service if you want the car to really shine.

4 - Don’t let the buyer find fault

It can boost the sale price if you repair any minor paintwork damage or simple mechanical faults. So give your car the once-over before the buyers come round.

5 - Max your MoT

If there’s less than three months to run on the MOT, it’s a good idea to get a new one. It will make it easier to achieve your sale price and gives the buyer some basic information about the car’s condition.

6 - Spin the latest record

An up-to-date service record can add value to your car.
Some buyers are impressed if you provide a mechanic’s report and a vehicle history check will confirm that the car is not stolen or clocked. Remember that you can’t sell a car with outstanding finance. You therefore need to pay off any outstanding debt, or get the finance company’s permission before you sell.

7 - Check the buyer’s documents

Offering the prospective buyer a test drive is essential. But don’t just let him or her jump behind the wheel and set off. You should first check they have a driving licence and appropriate insurance should be in place – either via your policy or theirs. And, if you deem it safe to do so, always accompany a prospective buyer on a test drive, or get someone to sit with them as your proxy.

8 - Sell on your own terms

If the sale goes ahead, give the buyer a receipt that states the car was ‘sold as seen, tried and approved without guarantee’. You then minimise the risk of complications further down the line. You should also exchange contracts. Organisations such as the AA have model contracts that you can print off, so you don’t have to worry about the legal jargon.

9 - Get credit where it’s due

Don’t let anyone drive your car away until you’re satisfied that you’ve been paid in full. A bank transfer is probably the safest payment method, but you should still wait until the funds are cleared before releasing the car.

10 - Sort out the paperwork

You must notify the DVLA as soon as possible that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle. So, you and your buyer should complete the relevant parts of the logbook when the sale is finalised. Any more tips on selling second hand? Let us know in the box below…

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