When selling your car you can choose where to sell depending on your preferences and requirements. Do your research and work out which option is best for you. For some, selling to a dealership is preferable as it’s straightforward and you can arrange a part exchange on the new set of wheels. However, if getting a top price is your aim, selling privately is more likely to achieve your goal.

Always be honest in your description of your car. Regardless of where you sell it, or you will end up with less money for it than you want. Dealers know all the tricks and savvy private buyers will have done their homework and know exactly what they’re looking for. Trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes about your wheels is likely to land you with less at best or in hot water at worst.

Clean sailing for a top price

Always clean the car thoroughly inside and out before you take any photos for advertising. The same goes for before you show it to anyone. A clean and sparkling exterior is far more attractive than mud-spattered, scratched up car Duco. First impressions count when you’re vying for a top price.

With the interior, you’ll want to give it a good going over for the photos. It pays to keep it looking and smelling sweet for the buyer viewing too. Although we may not be consciously aware of it, sweet smells can help you get a higher price for your wheel. There really is a sweet smell for success.

If you can repair any damage or touch up any cosmetic issues such as scratches and small dents, this will make a huge difference to the final price any potential buyer is willing to pay.  If your car looks clean and well cared for you will reap the benefits.

Leave room for a haggle

When it comes to setting the price in your advert, leave a little room for haggling. That’s right, list to for a little more than you expect to get for it. That way, when it comes to negotiating, you have room to move. In the unlikely situation that the buyer doesn’t haggle, you still win.

It’s much more likely that they will negotiate on price though, so if you can move a little they be a happier buyer and you’ll be a happy seller that still gets a top price. The key here is not to list the car at an unrealistically high price or you won’t get any nibbles at all. Check out the going rates for cars of the same make and model, and list yours at the higher end without being unrealistic.

When it comes to preparing for the sale, remember… 

  • If the MOT has less than one month left, you might want to consider getting a new one as it will make your car seem a lot more attractive to any prospective buyer and will add value. 
  • Have all the necessary paperwork to hand. Full-service history, MOT details and maintenance receipts. Most importantly the original bill of sale to prove you own it. The V5 document is essential to complete any sale. If you don’t have this, get it replaced before you list your wheels. A lack of paperwork can reduce the price or stop the sale going ahead at all.
  • Price it fairly and check out the prices of similar vehicles for sale. If selling privately you might want to add to the asking price by a couple of hundred pounds to give you negotiation room. If selling on an auction site a low starting bid will generally attract more bids. If selling on an auction site it is sensible to have a reserve price to ensure the car isn’t sold too cheaply.
  • When negotiating with potential buyers, always ask to see a photo ID document such as a passport or driving licence to ensure the buyer is who they say they are. Always ask to see that they have the correct valid insurance documentation before agreeing to a test drive. 
  • Once sold ensure that both parties complete and sign a dated receipt as proof of sale to cover both parties legally. Retain one copy and give the buyer the other.
  • And always remember to inform the DVLA you have sold the vehicle.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to get a good price for your motor. Selling a car for a top price takes a little more leg work and a lot more elbow grease, but you’ll win the day with more money in your pocket! Happy selling!

Download our FREE Used Car Checklist.

Join our community to download our Used Car Checklist with everything there is to know about buying a used car.