The new car has been ordered; now is the time to say goodbye to the dear old one. For many owners selling their car is troublesome and unpleasant. On the one hand, you don´t want to invest money in the car. On the other hand, you would like to make – even if only a little – profit. Here is where most errors are made. With a few tricks, the sale of your car can be made a lot more lucrative without the need for the excessive expense. Read the best tips on private car sales in this article.
Safety comes first in car sales
Never sell a car without an agreement. Standard car sales contracts can be downloaded from your insurer’s or the AA website. Take a picture of the buyer’s driving license and ID. This will protect you at least to some extent against possible legal consequences: you can now prove that you have fulfilled your due diligence.
Recent MOT – multiple values
Looking for a used car, check for a valid MOT certificate. A recent MOT inspection is in itself an ensuring seal of approval which brings in money: an MOT inspection costs about £54 while increasing the value with at least £350.
Even if it fails MOT, an official inspection is still worthwhile: with and official deficiency report the buyer knows exactly what needs repair in order to obtain the certificate. A deficiency report may not increase the value of the car, though it makes the sale easier.
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Cleaning the car: a decisive effect
When MOT inspection is done, the exterior needs attention. Investing a Saturday afternoon can cause substantial additional value.
- A car must look perfect to be sold. This means: free of crumbs and stains and with polished paintwork.
- For cars of 1995 and after another factor applies the headlights. It makes a considerable difference if the headlights are dull, scratched, and yellow or shine freshly polished and transparent. For a few bobs, the accessory trade offers polishing sets for headlight upgrading. Those who don’t want to spend any money can try a household remedy. The cheapest option is a kitchen towel and toothpaste. With a bit of luck, this method causes adequate results.
- Polishing the car requires a professional approach. As a layman, refrain from using a grinder. Polishing should be done by hand.
- After polishing the paintwork is sealed to prevent it from turning dull again after the first rain. Interior, bumpers, and plastic decorative strips are treated with plastic cleaner. The wheel rims and tyres are thoroughly washed with a dish brush and soap suds.
- The engine too deserves a rinse. In your home garage, brake cleaner and pressurised air provide the quickest and cheapest solution. Cleaning the engine with a high-pressure cleaner is not recommended for laymen. This could easily disable your car. Therefore invest in a bit of extra handiwork and prevent taking risks.
- Washed, vacuum-cleaned, and polished, a used car raises its value by £250 – £350.
Another bit of advice: remove all car stickers prior to polishing. A new owner is not likely to appreciate your idea of what is funny or interesting.
Small investment – big effect
A car with worn tyres is difficult to sell.
- With a set of adequate used tyres you can raise the selling value considerably.
- New brake pads always make a good impression on a car.
- A recent oil change and replacement of windscreen wipers, air filters, and brake fluid have a positive effect on the sale.
Especially when this was done in a garage. Even if it is the petrol station around the corner: as long as you can show the new owner a recent maintenance invoice, it will provide you with a fresh selling argument.
Presenting a complete service record book beats everything. In case of an older car, this could mean a major investment. If the car has always been adequately maintained, the inspection doesn’t have to be too expensive.
Car sales: Free marketing tips
|When the car is technically and externally ready for sale it is time for marketing. No need for expensive ads in the local newspaper. Nowadays you sell your car on the internet. This is free, and a lot more comfortable and practical as you can address the buyer through different channels.
Renowned websites for used car sales are autoscout24.com and autotrader.co.uk. Furthermore, small ads on e-bay are standard for used goods as well as for cars. All these market places have their own advantages and disadvantages, but they have all got one thing in common: they are free of charge for private users. The procedure is always the same, enabling you to use one the same content repeatedly, saving you a lot of time.
Always take a picture of the car in full sunlight and from a cavalier perspective, i.e. from an oblique angle, allowing the buyer to see front and side.
The first picture is made from the front right and subsequently from all other angles. It is important that the car can be viewed from all sides. Otherwise, buyers might think you have something to hide. On older cars, the critical areas must be photographed as well: the front and rear wheel houses as well as the door sills. If they show any rust, this should be made apparent. Honesty is a must; otherwise, you risk an argument at the moment of viewing. The interior and the mileage on the odometer are photographed as well.
Tip: add comments to the main picture on MOT status and mileage, providing the buyer with information on the most important data.
Refrain from irrelevant small talk. Nobody is interested in nonsense such as “this good old bucket’s name is Johnny”.
- Start by mentioning the hard facts: mileage, year of construction, type, engine performance, equipment, and MOT status.
As said earlier, a recent MOT makes the car considerably more attractive and easier to sell than a car with its MOT overdue.
- Now comes the description. A few soft facts are in order. “Sale due to new purchase” suggests you wish to sell the car and not just get rid of it. The most recent investments can be mentioned as well.
It is advised to make a list with bullet points of the positive aspects and one with the defects.
- Be as honest as possible; as a private owner, you are not required to give any guarantee, though serious defects could have nasty legal consequences, such as filing of a police report due to fraud.
Amazingly few private sellers use the free option of a video clip.
So much the better for you: make a video.
For the first one – the smartphone will do nicely – walk around the car. For the second one, keep the camera aimed at the engine for a minute with the opened bonnet. Leave the lid of the coolant tank open and record its contents. Ask a helper to let the engine rev a few times. In the third video, drive a few yards with the car and have your helper film outwards and take a shot of the odometer.
During filming, the radio is switched off and no talking should be audible. Buyers want to hear the driving sounds. Especially informative is a drive on the motorway at high speed.
The buyer is bound to be interested in the temperature record of the engine. Ultimately the last clip is made of the car driving by.
Upload all four clips on youtube and make a link to your ad.
Sell your car registered, allowing the buyer to drive the car home.
Generally, this is no problem. Be sure to notify your insurer in advance of your intension to sell the car registered.
- In this case, make a photograph of the buyer’s driving license and ID and send these data to your insurer. Make an addition to the selling agreement that the car should be de-registered within three days,
- By all means, add a subsection that failing to comply will result in notifying the police. An honest buyer will understand this.
If the buyer makes a dishonest impression, agree to the following: keep the registration document until the buyer has sent you new number plates. De-register your car yourself and send the registration document to the buyer. If the buyer does not agree to this, simply wait for another prospective buyer.
A very simple but upgrading investment is the fuel tank: selling a car with a full tank is a plus in negotiations.
These simple measures are bound to make car sales success and add several hundreds of pounds to your profit! ☺
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