Selling Your Car -Tips And Pitfalls

Published Date: 1st Jun 2019

Whilst a part-ex may be the most convenient way to dispose of your old car, it may not be the most financially savvy option.

Car dealers will want to sell-on your old car at a profit, and as such may not offer you the same value that you could get if you sell the car privately.

.... So here are some tips to sell your car as quickly and efficiently as possible, get the optimum price and avoid some common pitfalls.

Preparation Will Speed Up The Sale Of Your Car

…. Lets go right back to the beginning …. there’s nothing more attractive to a buyer than a full list of service stamps, receipts and paperwork showing regular services, repairs etc, it shows you have been committed to maintaining and keeping the vehicle in good condition. From day one always keep your paperwork, MOT and service records stored and organised ready for the day when you sell your car.

mot certificateMost importantly of all make sure you have the vehicles V5C registration document. It is proof that you are the registered keeper of the vehicle.

If for any reason you have lost it, you will need to order a new V5C document from the DVLA at the cost of £25.

Finally, the timing of your sale can be key, a long outstanding MOT is a massive plus…. If your car only has a month or two left on its MOT this brings an ‘unknown’ to the potential buyer. With an impending MOT, the buyer will be aware and cautious of the fact that the vehicle could have a long list of repairs needed to pass any impending MOT that could result in a hefty bill.

The ideal scenario is if your car has a full or nearly full MOT, aim for 10-12 months MOT, it will make the vehicle an entirely more attractive proposition to potential buyers.

Get The Car In Tip Top Condition – Good Photos Sell

Great photos and images sell, anything that doesn’t do your car justice will likely slow down the sale with less interest. When people are viewing in person if the car has obvious blemishes and issues that will likely put buyers off too.

car jet washYou want to keep costs of selling to a minimum, so we’re not advocating hiring a photographer but prepare the car so aesthetically it looks at it its best before taking photos:

Get the car valeted or or thoroughly clean and polish it yourself using products like, upholstery cleaner, car wax, back to black on bumpers and black trim to get the car looking at its optimum both inside and out. It will be worth the hours you put in when people come to view the vehicle.

Does the car have any obvious aesthetic blemishes that could be repaired at a minimum cost? Taking the time to T-Cut the vehicle will enhance the exterior look removing surface scratches that show up like a sore thumb when the sunshine bounces of the cars exterior. You could also invest in a touch-up pen for deeper scratches that T-Cut cannot tackle.

More obvious damage like small dents may require a professional repair but with the many ‘mobile’ repair services out there these days, it can be fairly affordable, you should at least get your money back on small dent repairs with the extra value it puts back on the car, not to mention it should help speed up the sale.

Look at addressing any other obvious defects like a cracked or dim headlight, faulty electric window and especially a warning light on the dash that may just be coming on in error but will definately raise alarm bells with potential buyers.

car dent diy repairYouTube is a fantastic resource for 1000’s of DIY car repair, maintenance and care tips, anything from touching up scratches to repairing small dents and chips yourself. For many people a video demonstrating repairs will be the best and easiest way to learn how to carry out repairs themselves and save money.

Take good photos highlighting all the strong points of the vehicle inside and out, even a backdrop that is pleasing on the eye is a good option rather than a rusty old garage door in the background.

If you have a good quality digital camera use that but many smartphones take very good quality photos these days. Some sites like Autotrader also let you post videos, so a walk-round video showing the exterior and interior is very useful.

Value Your Vehicle

You’ll need to ask a fair market value for your car otherwise interest will be minimum, consider all the factors, condition of the car, age, length of MOT and in the first instance look at similar vehicles for sale on popular websites like Autotrader and eBay Motors.

You can also look at official valuation websites, the AA and the RAC both have valuation services, leading compare websites like GoCompare have similar services. We also have a part exchange page where you can get a free valuation and sell your current car with no hassle  

Where To Sell Your Car?

By far and away the most effective way to sell your car in 2019 is online via popular websites like Autotrader and eBay Motors. Beware some less well-known websites that will claim to put your car in front of large numbers of potential buyers for a fee. They most likely will not have the exposure they claim and you may be wasting your money. Stick to the leading, proven websites.

Some smaller online platforms like Gumtree and Loot may be of use and local newspapers can be useful as they are putting your car ad in front of people in your local area within reasonable travelling difference. Many local newspapers like the Manchester Evening News for example will post your ad online as well as in their distributed newspaper.

sell car - hand over fobSome ads give limited space so get the key facts and vehicle’s strengths in like; air con, Bluetooth etc and if you have a long MOT be sure to get it in the description e.g. ‘ full MOT’ or ‘11 Months MOT’, this will be a very bigger puller.

Pitfalls And Things To Watch Out For

Avoid people who are claiming to be buying and wanting to ship the car abroad, there have been instances of such scams involving bank transfers. If the buyer is NOT prepared to turn up in person, dismiss it and report your concerns to the platform you are advertising the car on.

People may ask to test drive the car and while it seems an obvious statement, do NOT let them take the car out on their own. Scammers are very persuasive and can seem extremely plausible. Secondly if you allow potential buyers to test drive the car (with you in the front passenger seat of course), insist they produce their driving license and proof they are insured to drive the car. You could potentially be letting an uninsured driver at the wheel of your car and the worst-case scenario could be disastrous.

Taking Payment For Sale Of The Car

Under normal circumstances you will either be taking payment by bank transfer or cash.

If the payment is to made by bank transfer do NOT be afraid to ask for some ID, preferably Driving License Photo ID Card as a means to cross reference the identity of the buyer. And then of course you’ll need to confirm the money has transferred to your account before sealing the deal. Online ‘Faster Payments’ are almost instant these days, any delay in transfer of the funds should raise a few alarm bells with you.

When taking cash don’t be afraid to take your time counting the notes in front of the buyer. If you are suspicious you may be taking fake bank notes don’t be afraid to test them. You could invest in a UV bank note tester that will work with the new acrylic notes, costing around £10-£15 or even cheaper for a simple UV light. Fake notes, even the new acrylic ones have been in circulation, YouTube is your friend here again, if you search on YouTube you’ll find numerous videos on how to spot and test for fake notes.

Sealing The Deal

Firstly be aware that the V5C Registered Keepers document is not legal proof of ownership, the buyer is well within their rights to ask for some other form/proof of ownewrship before they hand over their money. As the seller/owner you should always  ensure you get and keep proof of ownership/purchase in the form of a receipt/invoice.

Providing a written receipt is a must and should include some key wording like ‘sold as seen’. Include the amount paid and how it was paid. The AA have provided a contract template which is a useful guide of what wording you should include. Create two copies of the receipt, the buyer and you can sign both copies and keep one each for your records.

V5C documentTo finalise everything you will need to complete the ‘new keeper section of the V5C document, you and the new owner need to sign it in the appropriate place and the buyer keeps the small V5C/2 section as temporary proof of being the new registered keeper of the vehicle until they receive a new V5 document from DVLA.

Finally, you need to notify DVLA that you have sold the car, you can post the V5 document to DVLA with the new owner details but these days you can notifiy DVLA online which most will find more convenient.

The vast majority of people are honest but covering yourself with the above tips does no harm.

Buying a brand-new car offers many benefits over a used one including manufacturer’s warranty, easy budgeting, no unplanned repair costs and lower running costs, many also include free insurance and roadside assistance.

You can start your search for and compare new car deals here.