Selling your car is easier today than it’s ever been, with a host of specialist car websites to choose from, alongside traditional dealerships. However, whenever you enlist the help of an intermediary – particularly one that guarantees an offer for your car – you can expect to get a lower price. But more lucrative avenues are available and if you’re willing to put in a little effort, you should be able to maximise the final price.
If you sell privately you're likely to get a sum 10-15% higher than if you sold to a used car dealer. The difference is also even bigger compared to using a guaranteed-purchase service like WeBuyAnyCar or BestCarBuyer.
First impressions count. Give your car a thorough clean, inside and out. This should give the sense it has been well cared for in the past, both superficially and under-the-bonnet (even if it hasn’t!).
Damaged alloys can seriously decrease the value of your car, perhaps to the tune of £150 per wheel. It’s worth investing in an alloy repair kit (about £25), while professional repairs cost £75-£100 per wheel – which could still be worth the investment.
Would-be buyers often clock a chipped windscreen and use it to haggle down the asking price. Considering chips can be fixed for as little as £25 – getting them repaired is well worth the cost.
Nothing worries a potential buyer more than spotting a lit warning light during a test drive. Take your car to the garage and address any problems. If you don’t, most buyers will fear a sizeable repair bill awaits them soon after they buy your car.
If your next MOT is due soon, it's a good idea to get it done ahead of time. This puts the buyer's mind at rest and eliminates any worries over imminent repair bills, upping your chances of making a sale.
Gone are the days when slapping a notice in your newsagent window was an effective way to sell your car. Harness the internet to get more interest and a better price. Consider the likes of Motors.co.uk, eBay, Autotrader and Gumtree. Make your listing stand out with plenty of photos from all angles, along with a detailed listing including all the key terms a potential buyer might use. Include the year of manufacture, number of doors, fuel type and MPG figure. Your title may end up packed with names and numbers, but it will garner more views.
The time of year impacts how easy it might be to sell your car. A convertible will be more appealing in spring or summer, while an SUV or off-road vehicle will be of more interest as the winter draws nearer, because such a vehicle would be more useful in poorer driving conditions.
There's a general perception that a car's reliability decreases after about the five-year mark, so selling before then would probably get you a higher price.
It's no longer possible for sellers and buyers to transfer existing tax when a vehicle is sold on.
The previous owner can apply for refund of any paid tax, while the buyer must tax the car themselves.
But following new rules, new tax is backdated to the start of the month and refunds are paid from the beginning of the next month.
This effectively means if you sell and then buy a vehicle towards the start of the month, you will be doubling the tax you pay for that month.
Be clear on if the price is negotiable. It’s best to advertise a price a little higher than the one you will accept. Be sure to choose a minimum sale price and stick to your guns!