10 things you need to know when selling your car

Get your car ready for a sale

Picture: PA

Get your car ready for a sale Picture: PA

Used car prices are booming at the moment, with the shortage in supply of brand-new cars causing more buyers to turn to used models instead.

As a result, many people might be considering selling their own car in order to get the best possible price for it. But to do that, there are some things you need to consider…

1. How much should I sell my car for?

There are a number of factors to consider when it comes to how much you should be pricing your car. Age, mileage and general condition are key points, but you should also take into account its servicing history and the ‘life’ left in consumable parts, such as the tyres and brakes.

There are also many websites that will be able to give you an instant valuation. However, remember that many of these are based solely on mileage and age, so have a look at online classifieds and at other similar cars for sale to make sure you’re on the right track.

2. Is there a quicker way to sell a car?

Of course. Many car-buying services are there if you need to sell your car quickly. Companies such as webuyanycar will give you an instant valuation and if it’s acceptable to you, you can take the car to a multitude of drop-off locations and get paid for it quickly.

Just remember that, though you might get a better price compared with a trade-in value at a dealership, you’re unlikely to get as much money as you would selling privately. It is likely to be quicker, however.

3. Should I prepare my car before I sell it?

Absolutely. Nothing is more off-putting to a prospective buyer than a dirty, unprepared car, so put some extra effort into making sure your car is looking top-notch. You can save money by doing this yourself at home, or you can always get it valeted by a professional. Don’t be tempted to overload the car’s interior with strong fragrances or air fresheners though, as this could put people off too.

4. If my car’s MOT runs out in three months, is it worth renewing?

Definitely. If your car’s MOT only has a short amount of time left on it then it’s always a good idea to get this renewed prior to sale. Though it might slow down the whole process, there’s a better chance of it selling quickly if the car has a full MOT.

5. Where do I list my car when I want to sell it?

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to car selling websites. The big hitters are in the likes of Auto Trader and eBay, which offer access to thousands of prospective buyers and have easy upload processes to make selling your car as hassle-free as possible. Remember you’ll have to pay to list your car on many sites, while others will charge fees once you’ve successfully sold your vehicle.

6. Is it best to be honest in an advert?

Of course. When writing your advert, try to be as detailed as possible and don’t leave any negative points out – people will inevitably find them when they come to see the car in the metal. Talk about any mechanical work the car has had done and any noticeable issues that you may have had with it. Buyers will feel far more confident about a car if you’re open and upfront about it, so make this clear in the description.

7. What documents do I need to have together?

Much like the advert description, it’s best to have as much information about the car’s history as possible when you first meet with a prospective buyer. Receipts for mechanical work, MOT sheets and servicing manuals can all help to show that you’ve taken close care of your car. Have all of this prepared in one folder so it’s simple and easy to find.

8. Should I accompany a buyer on a test drive?

It’s likely that a buyer will want to take a test drive of your car, but it’s paramount that you accompany them when you do so. In order to remain Covid-secure, it’s good to make sure you’ve cleaned down all of the major touchpoints in the car and drive with the windows ajar to aid ventilation. Make sure that the buyer has appropriate insurance to drive your vehicle too.

9. How do I accept payment?

If the buyer offers you a certain amount and you’re happy with it then there are a number of ways to proceed with the payment. Remember – if you don’t want to accept the offer, then you’re completely free to back out, so don’t feel pressured into a sale.

If you are happy, take time to think carefully about the payment process (scams do happen). You can accept cash for a vehicle, but it may be worthwhile doing the handover of this near a bank in order to transfer it to your account quickly. Don’t be tempted to accept a cheque; as these take a few days to clear so it’s a more risky method. A bank transfer is one of the safest methods, and PayPal is also an option. But remember, don’t hand the keys over until you’re confident that the new funds have hit your account.

10. Do I need to transfer ownership once I’ve sold my car?

Yes. Thanks to the DVLA’s online service this process is pretty streamlined. Make sure you give the new owner the V5C/2 section of your V5C form to give them proof of ownership for the immediate period and then you can notify the DVLA online that you’ve sold the car.

Ownership will be transferred and the new owner will receive their updated V5C in the post automatically. You’ll also be transferred any tax which has yet to be used. You can still do this via post too, by completing the new keeper details on your V5C, signing the declaration along with the buyer and sending it to the DVLA. This method will take slightly longer than going online.

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