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Seven Steps To Success In Selling Your Car This Year


Seven Steps To Success In Selling Your Car This Year

Changing your car often ranks alongside losing weight and looking for a new job when it comes to popular new year resolutions.

Yet, as with any other fundamental goal you set yourself at the start of the year, how well you succeed will depend heavily on the groundwork you’re prepared to put into making it happen.

There are several important factors you shouldn’t overlook when you’re entering the trap-ridden world of carselling, and here we outline the most important of these, and suggest how you can avoid them.


Getting the description right

If you’re advertising your car publicly, you need to be careful to describe it honestly and correctly. That means properly describing its most basic features, including:

  • Make
  • Model
  • Body style
  • Engine size
  • Fuel type
  • Mileage
  • Colour
  • Length of remaining manufacturer’s warranty (if any)
  • Length of MoT remaining (if any)
  • Number of previous owners
  • Details of any extras fitted, and whether or not this was done by your franchised dealer


Deciding where and how you’re going to sell

With more choices on this than ever, it’s not just a case of hoping that your dealer will offer you a fair part-exchange price. Selling privately has often been seen as the way to get the best possible price - but you need to be good at bargaining to be successful.

If you’re replacing the car, another common option is trading it in and using the proceeds as a down payment on the new vehicle. A third option has emerged in recent years in the form of usually web-based services which claim to offer you a no-hassle way to sell, by providing you with an instant valuation for your car.

However, these make their money by charging admin fees, which can be quite onerous, so you have to weigh up the convenience of getting the cash in your hand and not having to court potential buyers, with the likelihood that you’ll be offered less than the car is really worth.


Assembling all details of the service history

When cars were routinely serviced at their supplying dealers’ workshops from new, this was a much simpler matter. However, today, there are all manner of repair and maintenance specialists who can do routine work on a car which will still result in its warranty remaining valid.

So if you’ve had work done by several different garages, you should try to keep all the paperwork detailing the jobs carried out together in one place. This is not only so that it’s handy for your reference, but it’s also useful for the peace of mind of any potential new owners when you’re looking to sell.


Making the car look good

A set of quality photos will give any car a much better chance of being sold. So before you even think about getting your camera out, wash the bodywork, and while that’s drying, de-clutter the interior and give it a vacuum. Pay attention to the wheels, making sure that, as well as being clean, you’ve had any scratches or scuffs removed - with professional help if necessary.

When it comes to the pictures themselves, get clear shots of the car’s front and side, then the rear and the other side, as well as views showing the front, rear and both sides straight on. Get several pictures, too, of the interior, particularly the dashboard, front and rear seats, and any distinctive and desirable equipment, such as audio and sat-nav.


Attending to any minor faults

Blown bulbs, chipped or broken light covers, and minor bodywork scratches and blemishes will all betray a lack of care, and seriously hamper your bargaining power when the haggling starts. A blown bulb costs a few pounds, and could make or break a sale, as it will lead to a potential buyer wondering whether they might find other - possibly more serious - signs of neglect.


Getting together the rest of the paperwork

Track down the V5C, commonly called the logbook, and satisfy yourself that all the details shown are correct up to the time you sell. Without this document, the new owner won’t be allowed to tax the car. A new one can be issued within five days by the DVLA if you’re shown as the registered keeper on its records, but there’s an administration fee - £25 at the time of writing - to be paid.


Being sure you know how you’ll be paid

Selling a cheaper car is one area where cash is still king, but you need to guard against receiving a pile of fake notes. You could also take a personal cheque - but it’s wise to pay this into your bank and let it clear before handing over the keys.

A building society cheque or banker’s draft used to be considered far safer - but again, the discovery of a number of forgeries has meant you need to look out, and keep hold of the car until the payment has been processed.

The amount of money you need will also depend on whether you are handing over your old car in part exchange. If you have an old vehicle to trade in, this option is the least hassle. Your old vehicle is taken off you by the dealer for an agreed price, and that sum is deducted from the price you pay for the new one. It’s then down to the dealer to either re-sell the car themselves, or pass it on through the trade. Either way, you don’t have to worry about advertising the car or dealing with potential buyers, with all the associated time and hassle this can entail.

Make no bones about it, there are many things to consider when you’re navigating the waters of selling a car. But by having a clear plan of action, taking the above seven points into account, you can make the whole process much smoother - and you might even learn and gain confidence from the experience, making you more likely to want to do it again!