Advice on selling your automobile

When selling your car, whether you can’t wait to get shot of it or not, you need to make it as attractive as possible to all potential buyers. If you are offering it as part exchange, advertising it locally, through a paper or online, it’s imperative that you get the maximum value. Try to remember these points before, during & after.

Firstly, remove all personal belongings and anything else that will show your relationship with the vehicle, including window and bumper stickers, your personal cd collection and any kids toys, baby seats and tools from the boot which you do not intend to be sold with the car.

Clean your car


Thoroughly clean the car inside and out. That includes, seats, mats and all plastic and fabric surroundings. Pay attention to the steering wheel, gear stick and seat adjusters; these are the first parts the viewer will touch and they will need to be spotless. Clean the inside of the windows as well as the outside, so as much light as possible can get in.

If you need to spend money on decent car cleaning products, do so; it will make a difference. Try to avoid products with strong smells as it will be obvious that the car has been scrubbed up for selling. Needless to say, whatever you use, make sure that you do it properly to give a professional finish.

You can also brush excess grime from the engine gently, but don’t over-do it. It may give buyers the wrong idea and make them suspicious. Ensure the oil cap is clear of any deposits and check that battery terminals, fluid levels and electrical connections all look presentable. Any loose cables or pipes should be neatly put in place, so as not to give the impression of an overworked engine.

Check your tyres


Check the tyres, water, wipers & windscreen wash etc. Remember, check everything you would check as a buyer, and be prepared for questions that you would expect to ask if you were looking to buy.

Ensure that all the paperwork is in order. That includes receipts of any work done, services, MOTs etc. If it is incomplete, at least the majority of receipts will reassure buyers that you've maintained & cared for the vehicle. Be sure to present it in a folder with the V5, latest MOT & insurance at the front, with receipts etc in chronological order afterwards. Then any manuals relating to the car in their own folders. The buyer will want to see the registration certificate (V5C) to check the vehicle’s details. You may not be able to sell your vehicle without one. If you've lost it, you can get a replacement from DVLA.

Do some car selling research


Do your research before you sell. Look for other advertisements of the same vehicle, selling for similar mileage of the same age (reg) etc and base your selling price realistically on what these are selling for. If you use ebay for ideas then watcha few examples and after the bidding is ended have a look at the final selling prices. Selling privately means you should expect to get around £200 more than the average you see a similar model go for on ebay. Likewise if the vehicles you are comparing to are being sold by a used car dealer, then drop £200 to £350 pounds and that should be close to the selling price that you could achieve if you do so yourself.

Unfortunately, you will have to protect yourself from becoming a victim of crime when selling your vehicle. Thieves can appear as potential buyers. Never let someone go on a test drive alone. Never be tempted to leave a potential buyer alone with your vehicles keys in the ignition. Always get proof of name, address, phone numbers-mobile, landline and driving licence. If they are reluctant to give this information, walk away. Be cautious when accepting cheques or banker's drafts-let them know that you will not hand over the vehicle until funds have cleared. If in doubt, contact your bank first. There are unfortunately many scams when it comes to the actual payment side of seeling a car! Cash is king.

Ensure you give as much information as possible when first contacted about your vehicle. Then try to make the viewing appointments during the day. Therefore any flaws cannot be argued about at a later date. Ensure that any buyers know to bring a driving licence & proof of insurance, especially if they want a test drive. You might want to have someone with you during the appointment, for extra security and peace of mind.

Allow the buyer to take their time and view the car properly. Don't distract them from carrying out their own inspection & checks. Some potential buyers may decide to pay for a used car inspection; you shouldn't have any objections to this unless you know that there is a problem & you have not disclosed the information.

Before the test drive, check the buyer has the correct insurance cover before allowing them to drive your car. Otherwise you could be liable for any damage they cause. Let the buyer go their own way along the drive, or suggest a variety of roads with different speed limits. They may be tempted to drive the car quite hard. If it really is too much for you, ask them to calm down- it is still your car.

If they are happy with what they've seen, they will inevitably try to haggle the price, especially if there is something that you have agreed needs attention. However, be firm without being unreasonable and stick to what you realistically expect to get for the sale. Try not to refuse all the offers, as they might make the buyer walk away.

If possible try to offer a free accessory; this can make the sale more attractive. You may not need it anyway. Half a tank of fuel is also tempting.

If the deal is sealed, it’s always best to get any money handed to you in a bank, so you can pay it in straight away. It will also be checked by the cashier. If you receive payment by cheque or electronic transfer, the money can take a few days to appear in your account. Double check the buyers ID and address again. If they are reluctant to give this information, you should be prepared to cancel the deal.

Remember that whether you sell your vehicle privately or through a motor trader, you must notify the DVLA by using the registration certificate V5. This must be done immediately or you’ll continue to be responsible for the vehicle (including tax or penalties for any non-payments relating to it, along with any motoring offences committed in the vehicle). When the DVLA have been informed, you should receive an acknowledgement letter confirming that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle. You should always keep a separate note of the buyer’s name and address, for any further correspondence. If you don't have a V5C you can still inform DVLA that you no longer have the vehicle. In order to do this you must write to DVLA stating the vehicle registration mark, make and model, exact date of sale & name and address of the new keeper. The new keeper must also inform the DVLA of the purchase & sign the relevant documents.