Top tips for selling your car

Selling a vehicle can be a fraught process – but follow these guidelines and you’ll be more likely to achieve a quick and painless sale

The process of buying a new car can be really exciting, but unless you’ve handed your old one back to a finance company you’ll first have to deal with the headache of moving your old car on.

Selling privately doesn’t have to be difficult, though, and there are plenty of ways to minimise the pain and ensure you get the best possible price and the quickest possible sale. We’ve got seven of the most useful tips for private sellers below…

  1. Be honest – it could save you money

No matter where you’re selling your car or who you’re selling it to, honesty is the best policy. People are more likely to offer a good price if they consider you a trustworthy seller, while being transparent about any of the car’s defects will mean buyers can’t use them to knock the price down come sale time.

It’s also a legal requirement to disclose any issues with the car – even as a private seller, you’re liable for major faults that were present when the vehicle was sold for a period of up to six months.

  1. Take good-quality pictures

A good-looking advert is one that’s likely to attract more high-quality buyers, and a major factor in this is the pictures you include. Most sites, including eBay and AutoTrader, will allow you to upload several pictures with which to represent the vehicle, and it’s best to have a folder full of spares to send to potential sellers so they don’t waste your time coming to view something you could easily have shown them beforehand.

Clean the car inside and out before you take your photos and use a decent camera – most smartphones will do the job these days. Take the pictures on a bright but not too sunny day, and photograph the car from a distance and close up. Take a photograph of the mileage on the dash as well as detailed shots of any faults, dings or dents.

  1. Part-exchange or private sale?

There are many perks to part-exchanging your car at a dealership and it’s usually a quicker and more hassle-free way of moving a vehicle on than via a private sale. The price you pay for that convenience is that you’re likely to get a higher price selling privately, though, so do your research before you consider it.

Remember that buying cash is a good way to get a better deal on your next vehicle, so not only will you get more money selling privately, it’ll go further.

  1. Price your car appropriately

Asking the wrong price is a potential pitfall when selling a car – you could ask too little, and potentially miss out on money you deserve, or you could ask too much and risk the car not selling at all until the price is lowered.

The first port of call should be to value your car. Online tools such as Parkers car valuations can help with this, giving you a range of prices – or, for a small fee, a more exact figure tailored to the condition, mileage and model of your vehicle. Pricing your car within these figures is the best way to ensure you’re getting a fair sum and that buyers will still be interested.

  1. Do your homework

Don’t just take the word of a valuation service – do research elsewhere to figure out how best to sell your car. Look through the classifieds at similar models to see what others are charging. If you’re trying to sell a convertible, consider waiting until the summer – or if it’s an off-roader, wait until winter to get the best price.

  1. History check your new car

Before you sell, it’s worth taking out a history check on your new wheels – to make sure there are no looming secrets that could put you off switching. Basic checks can be a few pounds, though it’s well worth spending a bit extra for a comprehensive check which may throw up hidden issues.

You don’t, after all, want to take delivery of your new car to then find out it’s got outstanding finance on it or has been written-off. It can also be useful to do a history check on your existing car and to share the results with potential buyers, proving you’re trustworthy.

  1. Get your paperwork in order

Keep all your car’s paperwork together and organised – a big chunk of receipts, MOTs and service history is a very attractive thing to be able to hand to new car buyers.

Make sure the V5 is handy, as you’ll need it when transferring ownership, too.

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