Your guide to selling a car

Are you thinking about getting a new vehicle and need to sell your current one, or have an old car that you no longer need but not sure where to start? It’s important that you sell your car in the safest possible way, aiming to obtain maximum value for it. We’ve written a blog to hopefully help you to do just that!

There are a few different ways in which you can sell your car, however if you sell your car privately you will typically make 10-15% more than if you sold it through a dealer, but what else do you need to consider?

How do I sell my car through a car dealer?

There are several ways you could approach this, but the most common would be part exchange. So, are you looking to upgrade your current model? If so, this might be a good option if you want to purchase a new car, the dealer will part-exchange your current car and the price you pay will reflect this. That sounds great, but what are the risks associated with part exchanging a vehicle? Well firstly the dealer will most probably offer you less money for the vehicle than you would get in a private sale and this is mainly due to the fact that part exchanging is very easy and convenient for the seller as you wouldn’t have to conduct viewings, advertise or let people take the car out for a test drive, it’s simply a done deal.

If you don’t want to part exchange, you simply want to sell the car, you can sell it outright to a dealer or garage and again this should be a fairly simple and straightforward process. More often than not the dealer will not give you as much for the car as you could achieve by selling privately, mainly because they have to make money on it also. The price they offer you will reflect the car’s trade in value, condition and current market situation.

How do I sell my car privately?

Selling your car privately is most definitely the more time-consuming way, however you could get a better price for your efforts. So, what do you need to do first?

Begin with doing your research and see what you believe your car is worth and decide on a price. Once you’ve got the price, you need to advertise it. It’s always worth posting it on social medias such as Facebook, you’d be surprised by how many people the post can reach just from a few people liking it. If you don’t use social media, you can put an advert in the car window, local shop or use specialist car selling websites.

Other things you need to be mindful of when selling a car privately are:

  • Always be honest in your description of the vehicle
  • Make sure you reply promptly to people enquiring about the car and be present at test drives
  • Gather all the vehicle documentation and spare keys you may have as the potential buyer will more than likely want to see everything
  • Arrange a safe way of receiving payment for the car
  • It’s advisable to not hand over the car before you receive the money just in case

Tips for writing a good car advert

So, you’ve decided to sell your car privately, what’s next? After you have determined the price you want to sell your car for, you will need to write an advert. The key pieces of information this advert will need to include is:

  • All vital statics, make, model, colour, miles driven, engine size etc.
  • How many owners the vehicle has had
  • Service history
  • Gear box type and number of gears
  • Remaining warranty period (if there is one)
  • The year it was registered

Buyers will want to know all the vehicles service history, so make sure you clearly state if it’s a full or partial service history in your advert and where this service has taken place. Has your car had any modifications? If so, these also need to be stated. Does the car have any optional extras included or a built-in satnav? Anything that might add value or be desirable need to be added onto the advert, for example, Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning etc.

It’s important that you are honest about the vehicle quality and whether it has any damage before you start any conversations with potential buyers. If you try to hide anything you could not only be wasting your time, but potential buyer’s time as prospective customers could discover faults when they take it for a test drive.

Once you’ve given your car a good clean or had it valeted, make sure you take enough pictures to fully showcase it, this way it can support your written content. Making sure your advert is easy to digest, snappy and concise will potentially increase interest.

How do I know whether I can trust an online car selling site?

There are several online sites you can use to sell your car depending on what you want to achieve. If you want to simply get your car sold quickly and are not driven by getting the maximum price, there are websites such as WeBuyAnyCar where you can sell your car in as little as 30 minutes! They also advise that with their Premier Pay option you can have the money in your bank within 30 minutes.

However, if you are not in a rush and want to achieve the maximum price possible, the largest websites in the UK to sell your car are and Auto Trader. Both sites operate slightly differently with syndicating their listings to over 175 newspapers and partners such as Yahoo autos. Auto Trader offers the security of a recognised and established brand, however most of the listings on the site will be from dealers.

eBay and Facebay are other options to explore, with Facebay often being a cheaper and quicker way to spread your advert to the maximum number of people.

What pictures of the car should I include in my advert?

As we’ve previously advised, make sure your car is clean inside and out and that you park it in a nice location. You need to make sure you can easily fit the whole car in the shot without lots of distraction. Make sure you choose a sunny day to take your picture as a wet weather photo won’t leave your vehicle looking its best.

The pictures you should include in your advert are:

  • Stand diagonally away from the front wheel, so both the nose and side are in shot
  • a picture of each side of the car in profile
  • a picture of the nose and tail of the car from directly in front and behind

Interior photographs should include:

  • The centre console
  • The front seats
  • The rear seats
  • Any items of desirable equipment, such as a sat-nav screen
  • The instrument cluster, preferably showing the car’s mileage

What documents do I need when selling my car privately?

When you come to a deal you will need to fill out the new buyer’s section of the V5C document. There are instructions on the document to help you fill it out correctly and once you’ve done that you need to post it to the DVLA. If you prefer a digital approach you can fill this out online too. It’s advisable to write up a receipt detailing the price of the car, date of sale and stating it was ‘sold as seen’. Make two copies so that you can keep one and give one to the new owner, that way you are all on the same page.

If you’ve lost, misplaced or damaged the V5C you will need to apply for a new one from the DVLA. Be mindful that it can take up to five working days to issue a new one as long as you are the registered keeper. You can send a completed V62 ‘Application for a vehicle registration certificate’ to the DVLA, but this can take up to six weeks. Both of these options cost £25.

Finally, you need to keep your insurer in the loop about what’s going on. They need to know that you’ve sold the car, who you’ve sold it too and if there’s any outstanding finance you will need to settle the difference.

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