Written by: Cally Worden
If the idea of selling your car privately feels a bit daunting, then relax – our no-nonsense guide to finding a buyer for your wheels will see youÂ signing over your logbook in no time, leaving you free to worry about what to do with the cash!
Decide on a Price
Before you can market your car, you need to decide how much you want for it. Getting the price right will help to secure a speedy sale, so it’s worth spending a little time on this. But where to start? If, like me, you are a somewhat clueless about all things mechanical then tapping into the expert knowledge available online and via respected trade publications is the way to go.
Auto Trader and Glass’s Guide are two great places to start. Their magazines and internet sites contain guide prices for most cars, backed up by a wealth of industry knowledge and experience. Following that, a little second-hand car-surfing on the net will help you to test and compare your price against what else is up for sale, and should ensure you pitch it right. Things to consider when setting your price include the car’s age, mileage and general condition. Most buyers will want to haggle, so add a little on for negotiation purposes.
Prepare an Advert
The internet, local press and shop windows are all good places to advertise your car for sale. Many specialist car sales websites have a template to help you capture the important information, and reading adverts placed by other sellers can be a great source of inspiration.
Point out all the good things that make your car special, but be careful not to exaggerate and keep your descriptions brief and concise. Features like air-conditioning and heated or leather seats are interesting to note. And any buyer worth their salt will also want to know if the car has a current MOT, and what kind of service history you can provide.
It is often the picture that will first catch a buyer’s eye, so taking time to clean and polish your car inside and out is a worthwhile investment. Wait for a sunny day if you can, and then take shots of the car from angles that show off the exterior, and a good spread of the inside too. Sharp, clear and in-focus pictures are a must. A blurry shot is going to make buyers think you are hiding something.
Preparing for Viewings
A clean car looks like is has been cared for, and can have a dramatic effect on buyer-perception, and the price they are prepared to pay. Clean and fresh is the order of the day. Invest in an air freshener if an older car smells a little musty, or if you are a smoker. Simple maintenance checks should also be done before anyone comes to view. Top-up water and oil reservoirs, make sure you have at least a quarter tank of petrol, and check your tyre pressures. Having paperwork to hand will help you field any questions that buyers may ask.
Most buyers will want to test drive a car before they buy. Always ask for proof of their insurance, and accompany them on their drive. If you swap over at any point make sure you keep a hold of the keys. Allow your potential buyer to take a good look over the car, and agree to further inspections if they want them.
Closing the deal
People love to haggle, so be prepared for this and have a fixed lowest-price in your mind before you start. Beyond that, the single most important point here is to make sure you have received the cash before you part with the car. Cheques can bounce, so be sure you can draw against them before you hand over the keys.
Writing a receipt for your buyer is important, as it is proof that you are no longer responsible for the car. Similarly, it is essential that you and your buyer follow the transfer of ownership instructions in your logbook, and pass the relevant documentation to the DVLA promptly. Finally, don’t forget to advise your insurance company that you no longer own the car, and cancel your cover.