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How to sell a car

How to sell a car
Image source: Getty Images


Selling a car may seem daunting at first, but if you follow the process it can actually be relatively easy. So, if you are looking to get rid of your old set of wheels, we’re here to break down everything you need to know about how to sell your car privately.

How do I sell a car privately?

Here in the UK, it is easy to sell your car privately. The first thing you need to do is advertise it.

This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Place a ‘for sale’ sign in the car window.
  • List it on auction sites such as eBay or eBid.
  • Put a listing on car seller sites such as AutoTrader or Gumtree.
  • List the car on Facebook Marketplace or specialist Facebook selling groups.
  • Place an ad in the local newspaper or on local shop noticeboards.

When advertising your car, there’s certain information that you need to include. For a full list, take a look at the Money Advice Service website.

How do I work out the value of my car?

Estimating the value of your car to sell it privately can be a bit tricky. The best thing to do is to take a look at cars similar to yours that are already advertised. Try to compare like for like as best you can. Look at cars of the same make and model that are of a similar age and in similar condition.

Alternatively, you can put the details of your car into a car insurance comparison site and it will generate an estimated value for you.

Just remember to include some haggling room in the price that you advertise. If you have a minimum amount in mind, perhaps because you know how much the deposit needs to be on your new car financing loan, then make sure that there is enough wiggle room to still achieve that price from the buyer.

What do I need to do before I sell a car?

When someone is coming to look at a car for sale, the minimum they will expect is for it to be clean. So make sure that you clean the inside and the outside. Not only will this make a good first impression, but it will also show you aren’t trying to hide any minor dents or damage.

If the MOT on the car is due to expire in the next few months, it is usually worthwhile putting it through its test and having a more up to date certificate.

And if you really want to make sure that the buyer is satisfied with the car’s condition, also put it through a full service before advertising it.

How do I ensure safe payment?

It is a sad fact, but selling a car privately can be a risky business. There are people out there who could try to rip you off.

The likelihood is that any potential buyer will want to view the car before making a purchase. Try to do this at your address, and make sure you have someone with you when they come. If they want to go for a test drive, always go with them.

Once a sale is agreed, it is time to exchange money. The safest possible method for this is payment in cash. This way it can be done on the spot and you can count the full amount.

If cash isn’t an option and the buyer wants to pay by bank transfer, then keep possession of your car until the funds have transferred. Be prepared: this could take a few hours.

Finally, if the buyer wants to pay with a cheque or banker’s draft, then make sure you have proof of the buyer’s name and address. You can do this by asking them to show you their details on an up-to-date utility bill.

What documents do I need?

When selling your car privately, there are documents that you will need to hand over once the sale is complete:

  • Receipt – Write two copies of a receipt – one for you and one for the buyer. This should include the date; the agreed price; the make, model and registration of the car; and both of your names and addresses.
  • V5C – You will need to complete section 6 (new keeper’s name and address) and section 8 (declaration) of the V5C form and send that portion of the document to the DVLA. Fill in section 10 (new keeper’s details) and hand this portion of the form to your buyer.
  • Handbook – The car’s handbook, including its service history and any receipts for work done on the car, should be handed over to the new owner.
  • MOT certificate – If the car is over three years old, you will also need to give the new owner the car’s current MOT certificate.

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