Selling your car privately can be a complicated and challenging process. You’ll have to organise paperwork, value your vehicle, take a bunch of photos, deal with strangers plus a heap more. That’s why it’s always good to know exactly what you’re in for so that you can plan ahead. To make the process a little easier, the team at Done Deal have put together a list of handy car selling tips. Follow our advice below to avoid some of the common pitfalls of selling your car privately.
- Focus on presentation
This one is a no-brainer. Make sure that everything looks great so that you can entice the right type of buyer. Start by working on the exterior and then move inwards. Is your bonnet covered in bird poop? Take it for a wash. Are your backseats covered in sand from the beach? Drag the vacuum out and get to work. It goes without saying that a well presented car will be appealing to more buyers and that it may even net you more money when it comes to signing on the dotted line.
- Advertise like a pro
Marketing is key. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling a bag of potatoes or a semi-trailer, you need to advertise effectively and there’s an art to doing so. What do we recommend? Start by choosing a reputable website that will take your listing. From there, snap a bunch of great photos that show off your ride and add a great write up that provides all of the relevant details. Note, a car with a lot of photos will generally sell before one with only a few. It’s also important to take care with your personal details, for example, never post your address or phone number. Doing so may lead to a prank calls and unwanted house visits.
- Get your numbers right
Always list an appropriate price for your car to ensure that you and your buyer are getting a fair deal. A good way to do this is by doing some research online to gauge where your particular model sits in comparison with others. Placing a listing that is too low will hurt your back pocket, while aiming too high may discourage buyers altogether. Remember to include all extra features and value adding modifications in the details, if you do decide to bump up the asking price. It’s all about justifying your position and being clear about what’s on offer.
- Be honest
It may seem cliche, but being true to your word is always the best policy. Why? Because anything you try to cover up will eventually come back to bite you. Be upfront with the condition of your car and mention any major issues so that your buyer knows what they are in for. There’s no point pretending that your Subaru drives like a dream when it struggles to get out of 2nd gear. Remember that people will be coming for a test drive, so these types of sales tactics simply won’t cut it. Bonus tip: photoshop is not your friend!
- Organise your paperwork
Anyone who has sold a car will tell you that having your paperwork ready to go is really important. It’s basically a necessity, as your owner’s manual, logbook and service records backup your listing and provide proof to the other party that your car is in good working order. Be sure to include any relevant receipts relating to work that has been carried out regarding performance or aesthetics. This could relate to flood lights, a stereo, a ladder rack or anything else.
- Bring a friend to the initial meeting
Key to any good sale is that both parties feel comfortable. So, when it comes to the initial meeting, feel free to have a friend accompany you to provide support and reassurance. Consider choosing a neutral location too, such as a carpark. This allows you to keep your actual address private, keeping you safe from unwanted house calls and potential harassment. It’s a good idea to avoid listing your phone number publicly as well, just for good measure.
- Take care with the test drive
Test drives can be a tricky business. Understand that feeling nervous about letting a stranger behind the wheel of your car is normal, and that you can take steps to make things less tense. Check to see if a buyer going for a test drive is covered under your insurance policy. Always be present in the car when they go for a spin around the block and again, it’s totally acceptable to have a friend or family member with you at all times.
- Prepare to haggle
One of our most crucial car selling tips is that you need to be prepared to haggle. Know the price range that you are aiming for and identify the lowest amount that you are willing to accept. This allows you to go back and forth with a buyer, but still gives you that final cutoff at which point you can say ‘no deal’. Remain confident and assertive in your dealings and never feel pressured into making a decision if you’re uncomfortable doing so. You don’t have to be a master salesperson to come away with a good deal, however, understanding what’s involved will place you in a great position.
- Get it in writing
Once everything has been agreed upon and you are ready for that final handshake, make sure that you get the buyer to sign a receipt that states that the vehicle is being ‘sold as seen’ (and keep a copy for your own records). Why is this an important part of the process? Because it will safeguard you against any issues or complaints that may arise down the track.
- Choose our experts if you’re unsure of going things alone