Everyone wants to get as much money as they can when they sell their car, and the good news is that just a few simple steps are all that’s between you and a great deal.
Selling your car is an exciting time, but possibly a bit daunting, too. However, as long as you follow a few simple steps, you’ll be able to get the maximum money for your motor.
Before you start to think about adverts, part-exchanges and the like, though, the most important thing to do is find out how much your car is worth, so that you can set a decent asking price and assess any deal you’re offered. The free Auto Trader valuations tool will tell you how much your car is worth, but remember to also take into account any extras fitted to your car, as well as its history, mileage and condition.
Next, take the time to prepare your car for sale. Not only could it mean that you sell the car more quickly, it might also mean you get more money for it.
At the very least, make sure it’s clean and tidy inside and outside, but it might be worth considering a professional valet. After all, if a £20 clean adds £100 to the value of the car, you’re quids in.
Likewise, go around the car and check that all the electrics work, that all the tyres (including the spare) are in good condition, and that all the mechanical bits are in good working order.
If you come across any minor problems or damage, it’s worthwhile getting them fixed. But, you don’t have to fix everything; the older a car is, the more likely it is that buyers will be prepared to put up with the odd ‘war wound’ here and there. Also, if your car has an MOT that is due to run out in the near future, consider getting a fresh one done.
Finally, gather together all the paperwork you have for the car. This is not just because a clean bill of health and a full history will make the car more appealing, but also because any obvious problem provides the buyer with the perfect opportunity to try and beat you down on price.
Where should you sell?
It may be a surprise, but where you sell your car can have a huge influence on how much you get for it. An auction or car-buying website will certainly get rid of your car quickly, but you’ll probably get a relatively low amount of money, because the buyer will want to maximise their profit when they sell the car on.
You’ll probably get more selling or part-exchanging at a dealer, but selling the car yourself is likely to be the way to get the most money – 10 to 15% more than selling to a dealer, according to the Money Advice Service. And, if you advertise on Auto Trader, you’ll be putting your car in front of the UK’s largest car-buying audience.
However, you’ll need to have time – and the patience – to create an ad, as well as respond all the enquiries. You’ll also need to make yourself and the car available for potential buyers to view; and, depending on where you place the advert, you may need to pay for it.
If you do decide to advertise the car, it’s important to price it right. If you set the asking price too high, no one will take a second look. At the same time, though, you do need to leave a little wriggle room because potential buyers will expect to be able to haggle the price down a little.
Beyond that, you can be pretty certain that the first thing people will look at in an advert are the pictures of your car, so you need to make sure they stand out. After all, to receive the full price for your car, you need people to look at your advert and think, ‘That looks nice.’
The first rule of car photography is to make sure the car looks good before you even think about picking up a camera. So, ensure that it’s clean and tidy inside and out, give it a good wash and throw away any clutter from inside.
In terms of locations, choose somewhere bright, with a plain background. If possible, only shoot the car when it’s dry and in daylight, and try to take the photos from a natural height. Don’t crouch down or stand on something to make them look more dramatic.
How you write your advert – making the car more attractive to potential buyers – is also crucial. And, remember: it’s against the law to mis-describe a car, so you must be honest and as accurate as possible in what you say, and include any defects you know about.
The number of owners the car has had, and whether you’ve made any modifications, can be of interest to a potential buyer. Then, you can include details like the car’s MOT, warranty information, service history and any attractive, optional features it may have.
Above all, though, be concise. In our experience, between 50 and 75 words is the ideal length for an online advert; and you should avoid block capitals (which make the advert harder to read) and clichés, such as ‘lovely driver’ and ‘first to see will buy’; and, don’t use terms that won’t mean anything to buyers.
What’s great about all this is that there’s nothing complicated about any of it, and none of it requires any specialist knowledge. So, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t get the right deal when you sell your car.
Still not sure about selling your car? Then begin by getting your car valued for free.