Most of us don’t have too much space to spare on our driveway. And most of us could use a bit of extra cash. So ask yourself, how many cars do you really need? Maybe you don’t need a car at all. It depends on your situation. If you have kids that need to be taken to school and your partner needs to get to work, you’ll probably need 2 cars. But maybe you’re a young couple with two cars sitting on the driveway and only one of you ever uses them. Maybe you could sell your car and start cycling to work. There are endless scenarios.
If you feel like your car spends more days on the driveway than off it, it might be time to think about selling. That clunky automobile could pay for your next holiday.
That’s why we’ve teamed up with Gumtree to take you through a step-by-step guide to selling your car, from valuing it, to putting up an ad with the perfect pics and preparing it for sale. It seems like a lot of effort, but by the end of this article it will all make sense. This info all comes direct from Gumtree, so if you use their marketplace to sell, you’ll know you’re doing it right!
Valuing your car
Main sources of evaluation
- If the car is rare and/or worth a lot of money, it might be worth having the car professionally evaluated.
- Use valuation guides
- See the competition. The car is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it.
Look at other people’s car adverts of the same make and model with similar level of trim. Price your car competitively.
Factors affecting price
- Mileage – A high mileage car reduces a cars value.
- Service records – including when the last service was carried out. full service history can be an indication how well the car has been looked after.
- Overall condition – scratches and bumps would cost the buyer more money to put right and could lower the purchase price.
- Condition of consumables – including tires, brake pads and disks. Warn consumables will require replacement, further attention and cost to the buyer.
- Factory fitted features – extras such as leather seats can increase the appeal to the buyer.
- Modifications – assess carefully whether the car is more desirable to buyers to refit standard parts or the modifications ad value to the car.
- Latest repairs – e.g. new windscreen. New parts can indicate a well looked after car, or the car has had an accident. Be prepared to explain the reason for carrying out the repairs.
- Transferable warranties – and break downs could be covered therefore peace of mind to the buyer. This can increase the cars appeal and the asking price.
- Accident history, damage, although repairable can reduce a cars value
- Spares or repair – usually indicates a car is not road legal. The car cannot be driven on UK roads. The price should reflect a lower price due to the high risk to the buyer.
- Time of year and demand – sell 4×4 in autumn and convertibles in spring to get the best response and price.
All aspects need to be considered i.e. a high mileage – car could have be mostly motorway miles driven, full service history indicates a well cared for car.
Selecting an asking price
Although in real terms there’s not much in it, £1995 looks visually better than £2000. If the buyer is interested in the car, expect for the buyer to try and reduce the asking. So increase the asking price slightly to factor this in.
If the car doesn’t sell
First thing to do is to review the advert again. Ask yourself – Are the viewing angles and quality of the pictures appropriate? Is the description correct and appealing? Has the Gumtree sale options Select an option to promote your ad been selected to promote your advert and stand out from the crowd? Have any factors that are deter potential buyers been addressed (e.g. short MOT)?
If the answer is yes to all, then the asking price may need reviewing. If you do decide to reduce the asking price, the state that you have done so in the description. Don’t keep changing the asking price every day.
Preparing your car for sale
You’ve decided to sell your car. One of the best ways to achieve the maximum value is to prepare the car for the buyer. You will need to think like a buyer – make the purchase as attractive as possible. First impressions count. Visual and mechanical improvements should increase a cars value and help you to obtain the best price.
Get a mechanical inspection
It might be worth having a mechanical inspection of all possible faults. This will help you develop a picture of the mechanical state of the car before buyers turn up for a viewing. A vehicle history report will give buyers piece of mind and increase saleability. If the mechanical service is due, it may be worth having this carried out.
Renew the MOT if close to expiry. Having a fresh 12 month MOT will also increase desirability.
Correct any faults
To get the best price and to increase the cars saleability, the seller will have to assess whether they have the time or the resources for any faults to be fixed. Bearing in mind, any faults on the car become potential leverage for the buyer to reduce the asking price. It’s good practice to present the vehicle in the best possible state of repair.
At the very least get free quotations for the repairs to any faults.
Consumables and low cost replacement parts such as hub caps, carpets, window wipers wear over time. Replacing such items will give the impression the car is well cared for. If you don’t attend to them, they may even detract the buyer from the positive aspects of the car. Make sure all the tires are road legal, replace any blown lamps, repair chips in wind screen or replace entirely. On a test drive the buyer will want to check the brakes. Faulty brakes can put off most buyers. Small dents and scratches can be dealt with by a specialist and can make the world of difference to an appearance of a car.
Collect your paperwork
Collect all owner paperwork such as V5 certificate, keep all service receipts and user manuals in a file with a stamped service book, ready to show potential buyer. A fully stamped service book with service sheets can add value to the car. Unless filling out the proof of ownership to the new owner V5C/2 don’t alter any other paperwork yourself.
Clean inside and out
As the seller you can save some money by doing this yourself. If you are short on time, you can call on a car cleaning company can do this for you. Cleaning will help the car look its best for the photos and for when the buyers view the car. Remove cigarette smoke stains, animal hair, food crumbs and mess made by children.
Get rid of any smells
The car may look clean, but having lingering smells can put buyers off. Using an air freshener can overcome this.
Check fluid levels and tire pressure
Check fluid levels such as oil, coolant and screen wash. Have enough fuel in the tank for at least a test drive. Check the tire pressure as per the car user manual.
Remove personal items
The buyer would like to visualise owning the car themselves. You can assist by removing personal items. Don’t forget to clean out magazine racks, glove box and cubby holes.
How to create an effective car ad
You’ve decided to sell your pride and joy. Here is a quick and effective guide for completing your car advert and how it can stand out amongst the crowd.
Honesty is the best policy
It’s no good generating interest in your car, only to disappoint prospective buyers when they view and carry out a test drive. Be accurate as you can be throughout the whole of the advert. It is against the law to intentionally miss-inform when advertising.
Listing the basics
By entering your car licence plate in the licence plate tab, your vehicle specifications will automatically be selected for you. If required, these details can be edited. It is advised at this point to add any other relevant information that may not have been found such as transmission type. The information will be set out clearly for you and your prospective readers. This feature will save time when creating your advert. Don’t duplicate the same information in the description box.
Adding a punchy title will make your car advert stand out and appeal to your target audience. Avoid clichés. Be consistent, but don’t repeat the information you enter in the description tab.
When buying a car, readers of want to make an informed decision before making contact. They will look at the car specification, photos and check the information in the description box. It is possible to include 10000 characters of extra information. Use them wisely. Buyers maybe short on time, so be clear and as informative as can be without adding extra waffle.
Include relevant information such as:
- Overall condition of car
- Reason for sale
- Next MOT due date
- Trim: cloth, half leather, leather
- Car features such as power steering, electric windows, keyless start
- Car modifications – non-standard alterations such as aftermarket stereo
- Service records and history
- Number of owners
It would be best to list the known faults and near future component failure. This will develop trust between you and the prospective buyer. They may discover them during the test drive, so it’s worth a mention. Don’t forget to mention any major work that you have had done – e.g. new tyres, new turbo – this gives potential buyers confidence that these items will not need to be paid out for soon.
Spell check and review
When entering text in the description box, the spelling will automatically be reviewed. It may seem simple enough, but pay special attention to punctuation. Abbreviations can slow the reader down. Try to reduce these where ever possible.
Avoid large blocks of text. Break the text down into paragraphs and bullet points. Blocked capital text is a big no no. This can reduce reading speed and annoy the reader.
It is worth trying to get a second pair of eyes to read over your advert. They may be able to spot a few discrepancies for you to edit.
Making your ad stand out
There are 3 main options on Gumtree. Adding these options can make it easier to find your car and increase the number of buyers viewing your advert. Choose the options you feel appropriate for your advert.
How to take photos to sell your car
A picture speaks a thousand words. Spending the time now to take effective photos will pay dividends to your advert, increase response rate and may impact final sale price. Having great pictures on you advert will give buyers the vital information needed to take the next step and contact you further for a viewing and test drive.
Only include photos of the actual car you are trying to sell, and not the manufacturer’s brochure pictures.
1. Prepare the car
The buyer wants to see the car has been well cared for. The car will look better in the photos if it is cleaned first. Don’t let a dirty car be the reason for car buyers to not place your car on their short list. Remove personal items when taking the photos when buyers view the car in person.
2. Prepare the background
It shouldn’t matter whether the location is on a public road or your private land; try to avoid busy, distracting backgrounds. The focal point for each picture should be the car. Make sure no one is in the background and avoid having other people’s property in view. There needs to be plenty of space – it’s best to try to keep the car in one location to move around the car.
Take a few practice shots and check to see how they look on the computer. To double check and see how the location look in screen.
3. Pick the best camera you have
Buyers want accurate images of the car and to see the overall condition. Choose either a Digital SLR, Digital compact or Camera phone and go for quality pictures. Practice with the camera first. If you have a DSLR and a wide angle lens, getting low down to headlamp level will provide some stunning images, giving your images depth and presence.
4. Choose the correct lighting
For your chosen location natural light should work best and bring out the natural colours in the paint. Direct light such as a flash can create glare but could be necessary for interior photos. If glare from the sun is a problem, you could try cloudy days when there is not so much sun glare, mornings just before sunrise or evenings just after sun set. Or make sure the sun is behind you when taking the picture. Avoid night time photos.
5. On Gumtree you can post up to 9 images
It is recommended to include 9 pictures. The aim of the pictures is to help the buyer visualise the car. Try to select angles as though the buyer is viewing the car themselves. This will help buyers make a quick and final decision when viewing in person.
Pick from the following aspects
Inside – people want to know what it will be like inside the car.
- Front driver seat
- Rear seats
- The whole of the Dashboard or as much as you can fit in
- Inside the boot
Try to include
- Under the bonnet
- Close up of the alloys
- Any visual defects
- Milometer and VIN numbers
- Keys service history file (often overlooked but if you have a full file, fan out all of your receipts for the pictures along with MOT certificates, open stamped service book and the tow keys).
Avoid taking pictures too high or too low. Normal standing height will work best. As though buyers are present and viewing the car for themselves.
Keep the car in the whole picture unless you are focusing on one particular aspect or feature.
Make sure you take pictures that are clear and in focus, hold the camera steady to show the general condition of the car. Autofocus setting is advised.Take several pictures of each area and pick the best one.
Only use Photoshop to hide faces, personal information and the car number plate if necessary.
7. Select your chosen pictures
All that’s left is to save your chosen pictures in a separate file on your device and add them to your advert.
All that is left is to create your advert and post it online.