Which is the best way to sell your car?
Planning to sell your car? There are different options you need to consider as each alternative will affect the price you get for it.
So how do you decide which is the right option for you?
You probably already know that you’ll get most for your car by selling it privately but is it really worth the extra hassle of advertising it yourself and dealing with the time-wasters that will inevitably come with it? The next best option, value-wise, is dealer part-exchange, finally followed by a car-buying website. You need to be sure you consider the overall cost of each option and not just the value of the car sale alone. So consider such aspects as advertising costs and check for hidden admin fees before you make your choice.
If you sell privately you might get 10% to 15% more for your car than you would from a dealer but it’s definitely not the easiest option.
TOP TIP: Whichever way you decide to sell your car, make sure you delete any stored locations or phone numbers from your car’s infotainment system before you pass it on to your buyer.
Selling a car to a dealer
Part-exchange is the easiest way to sell your car – trade it in when you buy your next car, whether that’s at a used car dealership or new car dealership.
If you’re looking for a quick sale and easy solution this option means you can avoid the work and expense of advertising and dealing with enquiries, viewings and test drives so trading your car in as part-exchange can be your best option.
Selling outright is again a relatively quick and easy process – you could sell your car direct to a dealer without buying another car. There are lots of used car dealerships looking to maintain their stock through buying direct and you could be leaving the dealership within half an hour with cash in your pocket.
Selling a car privately
This is possibly the most time-consuming option, but you’ll probably get a better price. That is of course depending on how good you are at resisting someone’s negotiation tactics, as everyone is usually looking for a deal or a cheap car!
Here are a few things you need to consider to help this option go well:
- Advertising to potential car buyers – do you go with a ‘For Sale’ sign on the window of your car, classified ads in a local paper, or ads on sites such as Gumtree, Pistonheads, Autotrader and Motors? You might even be able to find a buyer through friends or social media like Facebook marketplace or Facebook groups such as Used Cars & Motorbikes for Sale.
- Make sure you describe your car correctly in any advertisement. For example, it’s no good saying it’s in perfect condition if a potential buyer turns up and starts pointing out the chips down the driver’s door where it’s been banged against other cars, you’re only going to end up having an argument with them which isn’t worth it and alienates your buyer. Make sure you can also prove you are the car’s legal owner.
- If you’re communicating via messages, texts or emails, make sure you get back to potential buyers quickly, or they tend to go away and find someone who does respond and you’ll miss out, ultimately taking you longer to sell your car than you’d really like.
- Be present for all viewings and test drives and decide whether you want to go on the test drive with the prospective buyer or not. If not, what are you going to do to make sure you have some form of collateral from them to reduce your risk of them not coming back?
- Arrange a safe way of being paid for the car, you don’t have to accept cash on the driveway there and then. You could arrange for electronic payment to be made before collection, but your buyer also has to have trust and confidence in the sale. These days most people have a banking app that could be used to transfer funds while they’re with you and you can see it arrive in your account before you hand over the car keys.
Online car buying sites
There are lots of online car buying sites now and most will offer to take the work out of selling your car. You can enter your car’s details on the company’s website – age, mileage, etc and receive a valuation before you have to take it to a local site where they will assess it and make sure it meets expectations. Be aware that any online valuation will usually be subject to a physical inspection of your car and could be lowered if faults or damage are found, again, it pays to be honest with your description. In most cases there is also an administration fee that is applied for the service, so be sure to ask if this is the case before finalising anything as it can considerably alter the final value you receive.
TOP TIP: Before you start down any of these routes to selling your car, take a little time to evaluate it against other similar cars out there. CarGuru’s has an Instant Market Value tool that can help you find out what your car’s current market value is and even though a dealer will naturally offer you less than via a private sale, you will at least have an idea of value in mind to start a conversation.