Awkward? Yes. Essential? Of course! You can’t sell your car privately unless you’re prepared to deal with buyers. Along with the usual social courtesies, our tips below will give you the confidence you need to make selling your car less cringe and more fun.

Making appointments with buyers

It is always a good idea to be flexible when potential buyers want to make an appointment to view, as you will come across as being a genuine reliable seller. If you find it hard taking calls from strangers, smile when speaking on the phone. It’ll make it easier for you and help you to come across as friendly when dealing with buyers over the phone.

Make sure you get all the prospective buyer’s contact details, and if you want to confirm they are who they say they are you can always call them back, or text etc. Remind them to bring their photo ID or driving licence and a correct insurance document when they come to view. 

Always meet them at your home and check their documents before you proceed.  Give them as much time as they need to go over the car.  Don’t get distracted with small talk or overly enthusiastic to sell as it will raise suspicions with any buyer. 

Have your paperwork ready when you deal with buyers

Make sure you have all the relevant paperwork to hand when buyers come to view the car. No one likes to wait around and when it comes to making a sale easier, it pays to be prepared.

That means things like the service history, MOT details, logbook and any receipts you may have for major works.

A lot of buyers will want to have a look at the engine compartment and boot and closely examine the car so allow them to look at whatever they want. They will also want to check the doors open and close, check the interior is in good condition, check all the electrics and lights so be prepared that it could take some time so don’t rush them.

Some buyers may be accompanied by a mechanic or arrange a 3rd party full inspection on your vehicle, which is pretty standard practice so don’t be put off by this. When dealing with buyers looking over your car – either on their own or with a mechanic – give them some space, but keep them within sight.

If you are worried about showing your car alone to a stranger ask someone to be with you.

Test Driving

Before you allow any buyer to test drive you want to have made sure you’ve confirmed their identity and that they have a full driving licence. Also, ask to see an insurance document to prove they have adequate insurance cover to undertake a test drive.

When accompanying the prospective buyer on the test drive stay calm and relaxed and let them drive where they like on different types of roads etc, (within reason). It can be quite daunting being the passenger in your own car with a stranger but don’t let them see your nerves or it could go against you. 

NEVER let a potential buyer test drive your car alone, and never leave them with the keys. 

Negotiation when closing the sale

When it comes to the negotiation try and stay as confident as you can even if you are desperate to get rid of the car. 

Assuming you have been honest in your description and highlighted any faults about the car, it’s not necessary to keep pointing them out when you deal with buyers.  Try to avoid discussing negatives at length. However, only mentioning positives about your experience owning the car could come across as false. Be honest and open, anything else will definitely put the buyer off buying the car.  

Have in your mind the absolute minimum price you would be willing to accept. Resist any persuasion by the buyer who will be trying to get the car at the lowest price possible.

When you come to deal with buyers for the sale of your car, having a friend or family member with you can provide security and a little support while you fill out paperwork and exchange offers in the haggle.

If you’re comfortable about the car you’re selling and the details you’ve given in your add, the selling process will be a whole lot smoother. Dealing with buyers doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable, be prepared, be friendly and you may even anjoy the experience!

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