Should I Sell My Car Privately

If you are unsure about whether selling your vehicle privately is the right solution for you, then it could be helpful to answer a few questions.

  • Is it important to get the maximum amount of money for your car?
  • Are you prepared to invest the time doing so?
  • Do you feel confident enough to deal with tyre kickers and bargain hunters?
  • Are you aware of the scams out there and able to recognise them?
If you have answered yes to all the questions, then selling privately is a clear option.
buyers checking out a car

The biggest advantage to private selling is that this is the most likely avenue to get the maximum value for your used vehicle. The price you should get it likely to be somewhere in between trade vaulation and retail, the former being a price you would get by trading-in your vehicle and later what a car dealership would expect to sell as a business.
But with that extra benefits, there comes extra work, effort and concerns.

Receiving Payment

The preferred method of being paid for your vehicle is cash. This way the buyer can get the keys immediately and the seller will have a wad of cash in their hands. But if the vehicle is worth several thousands then this option starts to diminish.

Times have changed and taking large quantities of money out of a bank is harder than it used to be. First of all, there a fewer local branches and there are security arrangements to be made to withdraw. Putting all this effort in before seeing the vehicle, can be very inconvenient if the vehicle does not match expectations or a deal is not made.

So not all buyers will want to go down this route until the vehicle has been seen.
Another option, is for the buyer to leave a deposit after the viewing and then returning, with the balance. This of course requires a level of trust that the seller will hold on to the car, not change anything within the car and remain honest with the deposit.

Immediate online bank transfers can be arranged from the buyers account to the sellers, but often times are restricted to banking hours. But with the increased usage of smart phones to communicate with the bank and instruct it to pays or transfer money, this could be a suitable solution.

This can be a stressful time for both seller and buyer and often where there is a lack of trust between the two parties, no deal is struck for this reason.
It is worth deciding from day one, how you want to be paid and make this a condition of sale, and be prepared to walk away if these conditions are not met.

Advertising Your Vehicle

There are multiple options to get your vehicle into public view, but frankly the biggest audience is likely to be online. The biggest players are Autotrader a traditional online classified platform, Ebay, where your vehicle can be advertised as a classified, or sold at auction and the free classified platform Gumtree.

Autotrader started out as a car selling magazine that was published every Thursday, but modern technology now, means a seller can take photos on their smartphone and upload them in minutes. There is a charge to the service, but there is a guaranteed large audience of car buyers always using Autotrader to research and buy.

Then there is Ebay the biggest online auction site in the world. The good news is, you can choose between paying as set charge to sell your vehicle as a classified, or list it as an auction. The latter is a much more expensive option and should only be considered, if your vehicle is rare and has and demand is so high, that buyers will bid higher. The most likely option is to sell the vehicle with a set price advert.

A free option to sell your vehicle is the online classified platform, Gumtree. It does seem a “no brainer” to add your vehicle to Gumtree, even if it is advertised elsewhere, bearing in mind its free. If you wish you vehicle to be shown at the top of the listings, you can pay a premium, so it is seen first.

Make Sure It Has A Decent MOT

No-one wants to buy a car only to get a large garage bill soon after, at its next MOT, having a long MOT minimises that risk. So consider getting an early MOT test done, so the new buyer can have the maximum time before the next test.

Is All The Paperwork In Order?

It can seriously put buyers off, if they have to apply for the logbook, or there is missing service history. A well organised folder with receipts, old MOT certificates and any other paperwork, can really help to maximise the price received.

Prepare How It Looks

A good valet is more appropriate than just cleaning. If you can make your vehicle look just as it would on showroom forecourt, then you can maximise your return. Small detail can make a difference and many buyers use the condition of the vehicle to match mileages and service history, especially interior. An investment in time here can pay dividends.

Dealing with People

This is a very significant issue when deciding to sell your car privately. All negotiations are going to be solved between the people involved and if there is a lack of confidence in these matters, then maybe it is not for you. There will be tyre kickers or those who will turn up in the hope you are desperate to sell only to offer a very low offer. Being able to brush these off without any anger or worry, is a strength that will aid in the prospect of gaining the best price.

Taking a car for a test drive without you is a no-no and don’t forget about insurance issues, does your policy cover this stranger driving your car, or can they show proof, that their insurance will make the test drive legal.

Road Tax Cannot Be Included

Do not forget that any outstanding road tax cannot be included with the sale. The correct process is for the seller to claim back any unused full months and for the new buyer to tax the vehicle in their name immediately after buying or register it online as SORN.

How quickly you sell your vehicle will depend on the model you are selling its condition and the price you are asking and the flexibility to reach a deal, once a buyer has committed to buying. Rarer models with a bigger demand, will get the easier sales, but models where there is plenty of choice and a smaller demand, are likely to longer to dispose of.

There is good reason why many choose to used services as “We Buy Any Car” or just trade it in for a newer car, because even though the Monetary value may be less, the time saved preparing and selling may be greater.