how to prepare your car for sale
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Ensuring your vehicle is in top condition is vital to getting a sale. This will help determine your asking price, and it will allow you to spot any issues that need attention.
You should start by removing all personal belongings from the car, including cargo, trash, spare change, etc. If possible, you should also wash the car at home because some professional car washes might not completely clean every square inch of your car's exterior or interior.
Let's take a look at some of the things to consider before putting your car up for sale.
Is it worth detailing a car before selling?
You might want to have the car professionally cleaned and detailed before you look to sell it. Whilst it will improve the appearance and increase the chance of being sold, detailing can cost around £200 for an exterior wash and wax, plus another £100 or so if the interior also needs work. This might be acceptable if you're dealing with a high-end luxury vehicle, but it's probably not worth the price for more modest models. Detailers will typically include items such as shampooing carpeting, cleaning upholstery and dashboards, removing dents/scratches from paintwork etc.
Things like this are important to potential buyers because they indicate how well the car has been maintained by its previous owners. Detailing your car is not necessary however; many consumers will only notice the overall condition of the vehicle.
It is best to only consider detailing your car if you think that doing so will make it sell faster because:
- It enhances the appearance of your vehicle; and
- It cleans up any issues related to normal wear and tear and can make it appear more attractive.
You should also consider the age and mileage because these features will be important for potential buyers when deciding on a sale price. If there are any other major issues then you might want to consider lowering the sale price so that it reflects this problem, or else offering a discount for someone who wishes to take it in part exchange.
How do I prepare my car for sale?
Before putting your car up for sale make sure that:
- You remove personal belongings, including cargo, trash, spare change etc.
- You inspect the vehicle for any damage, such as tears in upholstery or cracks on paintwork.
- You check all of your lights and adjust them if necessary.
- You wash the car: if possible, do this at home or take it to a professional car wash
- You ensure the exterior and interior are clean, tidy and free from damage.
- You remove any non-standard equipment that adds value for insurance purposes (e.g. a rear-mounted spare tyre in a two-wheel drive vehicle). If you need to keep anything in the boot of your car, remember to put it back before showing potential buyers around.
What paperwork do you need when selling a car privately?
You will need to provide the buyer with all of the following:
- The original registration document
- Proof of purchase (a receipt or invoice); and
- A valid MOT certificate.
If you no longer have these documents some companies can supply replacement copies, but you should always check this in advance and expect to pay around £40/50 for each copy.
You should also consider writing out a bill of sale. This is an important document that can help you to avoid any potential issues in the future because it proves that the buyer has bought the vehicle from you, rather than taking it without your consent; and if there are any outstanding finance agreements on your car then these must be settled before you can sell it. If this is not done by the time of the sale, the new owner will have to take over all existing payments until they are cleared or settled in part exchange for another vehicle. You might wish to inform them of this so that both parties are aware before making an offer.
When selling privately, contact details should be withheld until after an offer has been made. Once this has been made, make sure any agreement is recorded in writing and check the buyer's identification (e.g. their driver's licence) to ensure they are legally entitled to buy the car.
Ideally, meet the buyer at their own home/place of work; otherwise, arrange a meeting place that is open to both parties and avoid quiet and secluded areas as these can be dangerous for your personal safety during negotiations (for example: you could choose a petrol station or supermarket)
As part of the sales agreement, you must hand over all of your vehicle documents to prove ownership . This includes the V5C log book (log book) which shows registration details and also confirms who owns the car.
In some cases, a SORN declaration can be included with this document. A Statutory Off Road Notification is a legal requirement for any vehicle kept off road for an extended period of time. You need to inform DVLA that a SORN has been submitted when selling a non-taxed car. You will also need to hand over a V62 green tax disc reminder form.
The buyer has a legal right to expect the above documentation when buying your car. If any of these documents are missing, you may find yourself in some serious trouble. It is worth noting that penalty points and a fine can be issued to anyone who sells or purchases a vehicle without valid registration documents. Documents that have been lost will need to be replaced by either applying for a duplicate document from DVLA or by contacting your insurance company/broker which may cost extra money.
Above all, try not to let feelings such as guilt or obligation influence you when selling your car . It is important to remember that you will do yourself more harm than good if you sell your car for less than its worth because this means the buyer will have got a good bargain.
What's the best way to sell a car online?
If you decide to sell your car through a website such as eBay or Gumtree, there are specific rules and regulations that you will need to follow.
These websites provide extra protection for both parties because they require buyers and sellers to include their full name and address, including postcode; and hey also encourage communication between the buyer and seller which should help keep away potential fraudsters.
To generate optimum interest in your car before selling it online, take some time to add detailed information (including photos) about your vehicle. Just make sure not to include any personalised information, such as your home or work address.
Remember that you are not obliged to sell your car through a website like eBay or Gumtree; if you prefer - you can also use other online classified sites (e.g. autotrader) which cost more but carry less risk for selling privately. You might also find that it is quicker and easier to set up an advert yourself on the site of your choice because these websites have done all the hard work in terms of creating a platform from which to advertise, rather than having to create one from scratch with multiple options by clicking through tabs and entering in details manually yourself
However, if you do decide to use a third party website then it is worth checking whether they charge a fee to advertise your car or not, otherwise you may find that the buyer has paid more in advertising costs than they have in purchasing your vehicle.
What are the benefits of selling my car with an independent company?
If you are thinking about selling your car privately then one of the most significant benefits is that you can typically get more money by using an independent company rather than doing it yourself.
However, there are no guarantees and this may vary depending on demand for your vehicle. For example, if you have a rare or high-performance sports car then these kinds of models often sell better with specialist companies because some buyers prefer to deal with experts who know exactly what they're looking for (and don't need to haggle).