Cars Tips

Top tips for selling your car privately

Selling your car can be a daunting process, which is why many owners choose the easier route of part-exchanging at a dealership or using a car buying service.

However, these options rarely offer the best price so it can be worth putting in the time and effort to sell your car privately.

We’ve spoken to Charles Stubbings, account manager at finance specialists Moneybarn, to come up with some top tips for maximising your car’s value and making the sale process as easy as possible.

Prep is key

Getting your car ready for sale is a crucial first step. 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, so repair minor paintwork damage and any simple mechanical faults.

Having minor paintwork damage repaired can help push up your car's resale value (Picture: Shutterstock)
Having minor paintwork damage repaired can help push up your car’s resale value (Picture: Shutterstock)

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.

Find out what your car’s worth

Once your car is ready to be sold, you’ll want to know how much it’s 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,sat nav.

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 of a similar make, model and age. Online sites like Regit and Parkers can also give you a guide price using just your registration and mileage.

Other online adverts can offer some guidance on a sensible asking price
Other online adverts can offer some guidance on a sensible asking price

Dealing with viewings

When you have a potential buyer interested in viewing your car, try to show your vehicle at home. If you feel uncomfortable, consider asking a friend or relative to be there for support.

Allow the buyer to look over the car for as long as they need, but don’t leave them alone with the keys or with the keys in the ignition. Always keep them in your possession.

Read more: Used car buying advice – what to look for and what to ask

Most buyers will want to test drive the car. Ensure they have a valid driving licence and ask to see proof of insurance, so you know they have third party cover. 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.

The 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 too.

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

And finally

It’s important to inform the DVLA as soon as possible 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 tax.

Make sure you fill out and send off the V5C immediately

Once finalised, you’ll need to complete and send the V5C to the DVLA or use its online service to report that you’ve sold it. If you do it by post, this means writing the new keeper’s details (section 6), signing section 7 and handing over the ‘new keeper’ part of the V5C to your buyer. If you do it online you still need to give the buyer the new keeper part of the V5C but must destroy the other part of the certificate.

You should also give the buyer your vehicle’s handbook and 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.


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