How to sell your car privately - Our top 10 tips

No one ever teaches you how to sell a car and selling yours might seem like yet another daunting task to complete. Yes, there are a few things you'll probably want to get done beforehand, to make sure the sale goes smoothly, but this couldn't be simpler with our top 10 tips on how to sell your car without stress, while ticking all the right boxes.

1. Prepare your car

If you're wondering how to sell a car quickly, there are no shortcuts. It's always worth taking the time to make sure your vehicle is fully prepared for the sale before placing your advert, especially if you're concerned about how to sell your car for the most money.

Decide where you want to advertise your car. Carsvansandbikes.com and Auto Trader both offer free online ads, and sites like Cazoo will sell your car for you. Just make sure you compare websites and understand all the terms involved.

2. Get your car valued

Get an estimate for the value of your car using a free online car valuation tool. Finding out what your car is worth from a trusted source can give you the reassurance you need when you advertise and negotiate with potential buyers.

3. Get Essential Repairs Done

If there are repairs that need to be done before you advertise, getting them done can increase the value of your car and make it more attractive to potential buyers, especially if your car is fairly new.

  • If in doubt, you could always get a free inspection from your breakdown service, at no extra cost
  • We recommend getting a new MOT if the current certificate has only 3 or 4 months left.

4. Be Honest and Upfront

Be clear and direct about any cosmetic work that needs to be done. Let buyers know in advance if your car has any scuffs or scratches that could put them off when they come for a viewing. These days, the growing trend is to sell your car online. Don't let your car be the latest catfish model

  • Save prospective buyers the effort and annoyance of making a pointless trip and save yourself the embarrassment and hassle of endless disappointed guests. Scratches and bumps can also reduce the value of your car!
  • It goes without saying that you should make sure you're the car's legal owner and/or are fully entitled to sell it.

5. Have Your Paperwork Ready

This doesn't have to be complicated at all! If you're successful in selling your car privately, you'll need to give your buyer the following documents, so be sure to have them ready in advance:

  • The car's handbook
  • The most recent MOT certificate – and earlier ones if they're available
  • Receipts from previous services and maintenance – especially if your ad mentions that your car has a great service history

Once the car has been sold, you'll need to give the top part of your car's V5C registration document to the buyer and fill in and send the bottom half to the DVLA.

6. Make Your Car Stand Out

  • Once you've decided where to advertise your car, you'll want to make it stand out, with great photos and clear, detailed information.
  • Give your car a good clean, both inside and out, and include a wide selection of photos, proudly displaying its interior and exterior from all angles. Show off its outstanding features!
  • Great photos taken in good lighting will sell your car faster, for sure. Keep all images clear and bright. Even a great-looking car could look less attractive with the wrong kind of lighting!

7. Include Essential Information

  • Make sure your ad includes your car's MOT status, service history, fuel and transmission details, engine size, make, model and mileage
  • Let people know where they can see the car and how contact you, as well as the price you're selling it for

8. Handle Viewings Well

  • Step back and give your potential buyer time and space to look at the car properly
  • Offer viewers a test drive. Let them try the car out for themselves before they buy
  • Answer any questions with full transparency and aim to make each viewing as smooth and easy as possible
  • If a potential buyer wants to arrange an inspection or set up another visit, try to be flexible. They're probably just as nervous as you are and, who knows, they could end up being your buyer!

9. Know How to Sell a Car Privately and Stay Safe

Use the following tips if you're concerned about how protect yourself when selling a car privately:

  • Ask to see proof that the person viewing your car is insured to drive it, and take a look at their driving license before you get into the car with them
  • Always accompany viewers on the test drive and, if you're worried about safety, bring a friend or family member along with you
  • Make sure you know who they are, and never leave them alone with your car, your keys, or your documents.

10. Tie Up Loose Ends

  • Make sure you have made two copies of a contract, one for you and one for the buyer (both signed and dated by both parties) stating the details of the sale
  • Once you've agreed on the sale, make sure you've received payment in full before parting with keys and documents, or handing over that all-important V5C registration document to the DVLA. (You can do this either online or by post).

Follow these simple steps, and pretty soon your only problem will be where to shop for your next car!