Advice and Tips

How to sell a car privately

Paul Green, National Remarketing Manager
Friday, 22 February 2019

Tips for selling your car privately

The time has come to upgrade, but first you need to sell your current car. Selling your car privately, although time-consuming, will typically get you a better deal than part-exchanging it at a dealership or using a car buying service.

Here is our guide to ensuring you get the best price for your car, so you can get the upgrade you really want.

If your car is on finance you should speak to your finance company before selling the vehicle.

Before you advertise

Getting your car ready for sale is an essential first step inl helping you get the best price. Presentation, mechanical condition and service history make all the difference.

A clean and well-maintained car is much more appealing to potential buyers than a dirty, neglected vehicle. Repair minor paintwork damage or simple mechanical faults. And if your MOT is due in less than three months, look to get a new MOT.

If you’re selling your car online, include as many photos as possible in your advert. It’ll attract more views and encourage potential buyers to take the next step and arrange a face-to-face viewing.

Selling a car on finance

If you have existing finance and want to sell your vehicle, there are two things you must do before you can legally sell it.

Inform your finance company you’re looking to sell the vehicle and ask them for the ‘settlement figure’ you need to pay to clear your loan in full. Pay off the settlement figure, plus any early repayment and administration fees.

Paying off your loan early should end up costing you less than your remaining payments.

Know how much your car is worth

Once your car is ready to be sold, you’ll want to know how much it is worth. You’ll need the following information to determine its value:

  • Make and model
  • Mileage
  • Year of manufacture
  • Valuable features e.g. low mileage, parking sensors, Bluetooth connection.

Be honest about your car’s condition. Any flaws will impact the price, so account for these when valuing your vehicle.

If you’re unsure on the price, look at online adverts for vehicles which are a similar make, model and age. Online sites like Regit can give you a guide price using just your registration and mileage.

Potential buyers

When you have a prospective buyer looking to arrange a viewing, try and show your vehicle at home. It’s natural to feel uncomfortable about having a stranger come to your home address, so consider asking a friend or relative to be there with you if you’re worried.

The buyer will want to check the engine, interiors and exteriors, so do your own checks on these areas before they arrive. Ask yourself; if you were viewing this car how would you expect it to be presented?

If the potential buyer wants to test drive the car, make sure they have a valid driving licence and their insurance enables them to drive multiple vehicles. You should always go on the test drive with them, and again if you feel uncomfortable doing this alone, take a friend or family member with you.

Receiving payment

If you accept payment electronically or via cheque, don’t hand over the keys until the money has appeared in your account.

If you opt for cash payment, count the cash before you hand over the keys – and if you have someone with you, get them to double-check as well.

Once you’ve made the sale, write a receipt and make two copies. One for you and one for your buyer. It should include the date, price, registration number, make and model, plus you and your buyer’s names and addresses.

Handing over the keys

It’s important you inform the DVLA as soon as possible that you’re no longer the registered owner of the car. This’ll ensure you don’t get landed with any fines incurred by the new owner and they can refund you for any full months outstanding on the car’s road tax.

You’ll need to complete and send the V5C to the DVLA. This means writing the new keeper’s details (section 6) and signing section 7. Once finalised, you can hand over the ‘new keeper’ part of the V5C to your buyer.

You should also give the buyer your vehicle’s handbook, any spare keys and service records, along with the latest MOT certificates.

Once this is all completed, you can focus on purchasing your next car.

Paul Green, National Remarketing Manager
Bringing you expert insight on things to look out for when buying or selling a vehicle.