February 2022

How to sell your car privately

According to research by R.L. Polk, the average length of time a driver in the UK keeps a car is a shade under 6 years. Here at Thame Cars, our own data suggests that drivers change their cars around every 4 years.

What this means is that most of us will buy and sell a car 15 times over the course of 60 years of driving.

We buy new cars for a variety of reasons: changing needs as a family, changes in financial status, accidents, or just fancy a change.

But what is the best way to sell your car? The two most common ways are private sale and part exchange so let’s take a look at these.

Private sale

Advertising your car on a private sale website or the local newspaper can often get you the best price but is usually the most amount of work.

Follow the tips shared below on how to get the best price for your car, and then decide where you want to advertise. There are many options here, from online to local print and they will all have their own pros and cons.

Take a look at other similar cars that are for sale and see what their owners have written about them. Get a feel for how the adverts are put together and try to follow a similar format as you craft your own.

When setting the price you don’t want to go too low, but a high price may put off potential buyers as well.

Use the Thame Cars free valuation tool to get an idea of how to price your car.

When arranging viewings make sure you feel safe and consider having a friend or relative with you if it increases your confidence. You won’t have to invite a potential buyer into your home.

Your prospective buyer is likely to want to go for a short test drive so make sure you ask them before they arrive to bring a copy of their insurance documents. They will need to have cover for driving other cars, alternatively, you can arrange ‘test drive insurance’ from some providers.

Once the car has been inspected and tested it’s time to negotiate a price. The best approach here is to let them bring up the subject and make an offer. You have your advertised price and you may feel comfortable dropping it by a small amount but don’t be too quick to settle on a much lower figure.

Be prepared to allow them to walk away without a sale while you hold out for a buyer who will give you what you want.

Once a price has been agreed you need to take payment before they drive away. Cash is the safest way depending on the price of the car, and if you feel unsure about the legitimacy of the notes you can ask to be accompanied to the bank where you can pay it in whilst the cashier checks the notes.

The other common way is through bank transfer which can take a few minutes. You’ll see the money arrive in your account and at that point you can complete the paperwork.

Print out two copies of a receipt template (this one from the AA.com website is a good one https://www.theaa.com/car-buying/buyers-sellers-contracts) and fill them in. You and the buyer need to sign both copies, you keep one and they keep the other.

You also need to tell the DVLA that you have sold your car and you can do that by completing and sending off the V5 document, or through the online form on the DVLA website https://www.gov.uk/sold-bought-vehicle.

Once all of this has been completed you can wave your buyer off in their new car and decide what you’re going to spend all your money on!

Part exchange

At Thame Cars, we’ve been part exchanging cars with our customers for many years and it’s a popular, hassle free method that most people prefer to a private sale.

We pay a fair price for your car and take that amount off the price of the next car you buy from us. One simple transaction is required and we are also able to help with finance options.

To find out more about part exchanging your car take a look at this post which explains the process in more detail and answers the most frequently asked questions:


Tips to get the best price when you’re selling your car

How much money you can sell your car for depends on the way you sell it. Private sales tend to release the most amount of money but are the most amount of work, whereas quick sale websites can guarantee a speedy and stress-free sale but you’ll probably get less for it.

Certainly, in the case of private sales, auctions and part exchanges, there are a number of things you can do to help maximize the amount the car is worth

1. Clean the car

Clean the outside and interior as best you can and remove any rubbish tucked into the doors.

You have to assume that your car will be inspected by any potential buyer so make it easy for them to see the best of it.

2. Assess the cosmetic damage

If your car has any dings or scrapes you may decide to get these fixed before putting it up for sale. On a cheaper car, this will be less of an issue, but for a more premium vehicle, the cost of repairs may be more than made back with an increased sale price.

3.Take good photos

If you’re selling your car privately then quality photographs will make a big difference. Make sure you capture the car from a range of angles in good light, including the interior.

4. Paperwork up to date

Make sure your car has an in-date and valid MOT and any servicing paperwork are easy to lay your hands on. Any prospective private buyer is going to need this information to help them assess the quality of the vehicle.

You’ll also need the logbook (V5C) as this contains important information about legal ownership and registration of the car.

If you’re looking to trade in your current car for a new one, take a look at our vehicle valuation tool on the website, or come in to speak to one of our team who will be happy to find out more about your needs.

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