How to sell a car privately in 7 days
Autotrader prices and package list
Okay, so you have the true value of your car, the mechanical side is as you want it and the car is ready for sale.
Now onto your Autotrader advert. On average I’ve been selling around 300 cars each year for the last 25 years. Most of those are sold via the adverts I’ve created on Autotrader. Below is a tried and tested method of getting calls and making a quick sale.
A well-executed advert shows potential car buyers that you care about your car. It also sets a president in the mind of the prospect that the car is genuine and so are you.
There are three different Autotrader Price Packages for cars under and over £1000:
Autotrader Prices – Basic, Standard and Premium
Cars under £1000
Basic is FREE for two weeks and includes up to 5 photos – Click here to advertise for free with Autotrader
Standard cost £9.95 for three weeks and includes up to 20 photos, mobile advantage and search standout.
Premium cost £19.95 for six weeks and includes up to 20 photos, desktop advantage, mobile advantage and search standout.
Cars over £1000
Basic cost £36.95 for two weeks and includes up to 20 photos.
Standard cost £46.95 for three weeks and includes up to 20 photos, mobile advantage and search stand out.
Premium cost £59.95 for six weeks and includes up to 20 photos, desktop advantage, mobile advantage and search stand out.
Cars over £10,000
Basic cost £39.95 for two weeks and includes up to 20 photos.
Standard cost £49.95 for three weeks and includes up to 20 photos, mobile advantage and search stand out.
Premium cost £64.95 for six weeks and includes up to 20 photos, desktop advantage, mobile advantage and search stand out.
As a private seller you are certainly better off buying the Autotrader package Premium at £58.95.
The main reasons for this include:
a) Six Week National Coverage
b) Mobile Advantage
68% of today’s online car searches are carried out using mobile. So, if people are searching for a car like yours, it’s good to make sure the ad can be found on a mobile device else you’re missing the lion’s share of potential car buyers.
Access your preferred Autotrader package
Booked your chosen Autotrader package and price. Once you’re done I recommend taking photographs of the car before writing your ad.
Getting good images can mean the difference between getting genuine buyers that want to buy and never having the phone ring. Take some time with this important aspect and think about what you’d like to see on an online car advert.
The only purpose to an Autotrader car profile image is to get potential car buyers to click your advert for further information
Here are some basics:
What to photograph?
- Front corner
- Rear corner
- Front straight-on
- Back straight-on
- Side profile
- Close-up of a wheel – especially if they are alloys
- The dashboard
- Front and rear seats
- Inside the boot
- The engine bay
- Any damage to your car
If your car is convertible, take a picture with the roof down and another with the roof up
Remember to take more than one picture of each area to give you choice later on. Try to keep the whole car in the image.
Park your car somewhere bright and spacious if possible – a clean driveway is ideal but areas with a good looking background also work well.
Images of the vehicles exterior will ideally be taken around 10 feet away. But when taking a photograph of wheels/tyres the distance should be around 3 feet. This will give each image details and show the viewer you are taking care of your advert. Always keep in your mind what you’d like to see in an image.
Make sure the car is well lit but not too bright
Try to avoid:
- Poor backgrounds with untidiness
- Taking photographs at night or in other dark settings
- Being above or too low down
- Artificial light and direct sunlight
- Cutting part of the car off, unless you’re photographing details
You’re allowed 20 images on all Autotrader packages and I take advantage of every opportunity given my way.
Take 16 images of the car itself using the guidelines listed above.
Here’s a perfect example of what you need to achieve:
Documents and Key’s
The remaining 4 images should be saved for the documentation and spare keys if you have them.
- Take 1 photograph of the service history nicely laid out on a table at home
- Take 1 photograph of the V5C log book and MOT, ensuring you are NOT showing your personal details such as name and address
- Take 1 photograph of the handbook kit
- Take 1 photograph of the spare keys
Get the images uploaded to your computer and take a look through them and make sure they are clear, attractive and appealing.
Number 9 – Advertising on Autotrader | Writing the ad that will sell my car
When you begin your advert you’ll be prompted to add your cars registration number, and mileage to create a new account. Add your decided price and the exact mileage down to the nearest hundred miles (this gives buyer’s genuine information instead of a rough mileage to the nearest 1000 miles).
“About Your Car”
Once you’re done here you get to add any additional extras your particular car may have. Separate your advert from the tens of thousands on Autotrader and take full advantage of this section, adding things like metallic paint, 17-inch alloy wheels, velour trim, sports pack etc. etc. Added extras make your car more attractive when compared to similar cars that are a little more basic.
“History and Maintenance”
The next section is about your cars background including the number of owners, the kind of service history available and the MOT expiration date. Provide the correct information here and save yourself any embarrassment when a potential buyer comes to view.
Tip: If your car lacks a good service history head over the government MOT site Government/check-mot-history-vehicle enter your MOT number and registration and access your cars full MOT history. You can print this off and add it to your service pack. It will help you to sell your car.
This is a vital section and provides an opportunity to hook the reader into clicking your advert for more information and to view your images and contact details.
In this section, I state one of the best features the car has. If the car is particularly low mileage I’d certainly shout that from the rooftops. Perhaps it has an unusually comprehensive service history, added extras or unusual features. Give something that readers want to get their teeth into, that makes your car stand out from all the rest.
If you can’t find anything significant I’d recommend adding “looking for a quick sale” or “new clutch” etc. etc.
I’ve even listed out individual services when they were carried out, the mileages at that time and the names of the garages that carried out the work. It all serves to let buyers know you take good care of your car and your car should be included in their shortlist.
Even having a set of spare keys can be a selling point.
Remember, if you look closely enough you’ll find that every car has something special about it.
Counter Intuitive – Earlier I mentioned listing out any faults the car may have. I recommend you list any faults the car has, particularly small ones…
Buyers don’t expect you to tell them about anything that would apparently inhibit a sale.
So a “torn seat, “rear electric window that doesn’t work or “scuff on front bumper can actually work in your favour when used correctly and stated clearly in your car advert…It builds trust, shows you are open and honest, and it surprises the potential new owner.
This really is one of my trade secrets and I’ve been using it for years. I cannot count the number of times a customer has thanked me for being honest about these types of things. I highly recommend you do the same.
At the bottom of this section make sure you add the best times to contact you. Most serious buyers will read your advert through and call you at the appropriate times. Obviously, the more I can make myself available the better chance I have of selling my car quickly.
Here you upload your new images. Be sure to add your primary photograph first as this will be used as the thumbnail that people see BEFORE clicking into your ad for further information.
A primary photograph needs to be eye catching and crystal clear. Often it’s the side shot of the car or one of the front corner photos. The key is to separate your image from the thousands of others listed on Autotrader.
Once you’ve got your ad together and uploaded your images you’re asked to put in your contact details:
Here you can add two phone numbers. I add my landline and mobile phone numbers.
You get the choice to add a privacy phone number (a free service from Autotrader). You may wish to have that privacy added, but personally, I never do. I have found that a mobile phone number displayed on the ad increases the likelihood of selling my car. A mobile phone number gives viewers the opportunity to text me first to check the car is still for sale and ask any opening questions.
This works well because it’s a low barrier to entry. People often prefer to text rather than call when they are first checking out the market…I’ve sold many cars to people who began the process via a text!
Next, you can add your email address.
This is less appealing for a number of reasons.
First, I have only ever sold a handful of cars to people that began the process via email.
Second, an email address leaves you as a sitting duck for car scammers. You MUST BE AWARE of scammers because they are trolling Autotrader 24 hours a day, looking for email addresses just like yours.
Of course, you can still be scammed by leaving your mobile phone number too. Scammers will text you saying they are interested in your car and then request your email address. So the message here is to beware and be ready because if you leave your mobile or email you will get approached.
If you are in any doubts whatsoever just drop me an email.
You’re then asked to add your postcode so buyers can see how many miles away you are. Don’t worry; you are not giving up your actual address or postcode to the public, just a “number of miles” from their home to yours.
Once you’re done here you’re asked to Add Your Photos and make payment.
After payment is complete your ad is usually live within an hour or two, so it’s really important that your car is ready to sell before you try selling your car privately.
So your car is prepared and you’ve optimised your advert and given yourself the best opportunity of selling your car quickly and for the price you want.
Genuine buyers will give you a call (sometimes a text but almost always a phone call) to arrange a time to come see your car. During the call, I like to repeat one of the faults I’ve listed in the ad itself…
And I quote:
“It’s a lovely car, the only real snag with it is the passenger seat has a small tear just below the headrest. Apart from that, it’s all good. We’ve serviced it every year and are a little reluctant to sell it really because it’s been so good to us.
It helps build trust and remind the potential buyer that the car is good but it’s not brand new.
Once he/she/they arrive I’d recommend inviting them into your house if you feel comfortable enough to do that. Some people won’t want to enter your property at all until they’ve seen the car.
Be sure to say “hi and shake hands.
Always leave the documentation in your house. Not only does it keep you and your car safe from any potential thieves, (if they have the car and the paperwork together they have more chance of selling it quickly) but it gives you the opportunity to show the documents when you try and close the deal.
When you first show your car to a potential buyer simply unlock the vehicle, give them the keys and let them do their thing. Car buyers can be a fickle lot. Some want you to “hold their hand” throughout the process, others want to be left alone to carry out their checks. Determine what they want and act accordingly, this will increase your chances of making the sale.
If you’ve disclosed a fault, highlight it as early as you can. Let them know you are being open and honest.
Show off any extras your car may have.
Talk about its reliability and/or great economy.
If the buyer is objecting to something it’s always best to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible. Don’t avoid objections, rather, I recommend facing them head-on and seeing if you can overcome them.
The Test Drive
Are they insured to drive your car?
If you are selling a car privately try and guarantee that they are insured. Otherwise, you should drive the car on their behalf.
Never, ever let them take your car out without you accompanying them. Be sure to take your mobile phone on the journey, just to be safe.
Also, if it seems as though the buyers have a lot of objections about your car you may want to ask if they are serious about buying it or not. After all, a test drive may not be necessary if they have already been put off by the vehicles defects.
I guess only you can decide if this is the case or not.
If you all decide on a test drive and it goes smoothly you’ll get to the best part of all, haggling.
Haggling to sell my car is a natural part of the sales process, so I like to embrace it. After all, we are haggling and negotiating every day of our lives. I know with my children it’s one continuous negotiation for bedtimes, food, homework etc. etc. So remember that you are probably better at negotiation than you give yourself credit for.
Tip: Know your bottom line and go £50 or £100 under, if you must. This is my personal rule and it’s worked very well.
If the car is up for sale at £5000 and my bottom line is £4800 I will still sell it for anything above £4700.
Selling a car can be a pain in the butt, and do you really want let a deal go all because of £50?
Perhaps you do? After all, £50 or £100 is a lot of money and it takes considerable effort to earn that kind of money. For me, I’m not going to miss on a sale all for the sake of a few quid.
Who knows, this may be the only caller you get for the next two weeks. Also consider, if you don’t sell your car in your first advert package you’re going to be forking out more money for more advertising on Autotrader.
But here is the deciding question: Is £4700 of more value to me than keeping possession of the car?
Answer this and you’ll know what to do.
What is Auto Trader?
Auto Trader is the world’s leading car selling platform.
How much is my car worth?
My separate guide to car valuations will teach you how to value any car at both trade and retail prices.
What are the Autotrader prices?
Prices are listed below and determined by your vehicle’s price and the advert type you wish to buy. Note that including your advert in mobile search results will significantly increase exposure.
Cars under £1,000
Basic Free | 2-week ad
Standard £14.95 | 3-week ad includes mobile
Premium £19.95 | 6-week ad includes mobile
Cars over £1,000
Basic £36.95 | 2-week ad
Standard £46.95 | 3-week ad includes mobile
Premium £58.95 | 6-week ad includes mobile
What do you need to do when you sell a car?
After payment has been finalised (via bank transfer only), you need to:
- Complete the V5C logbook including the new keeper’s name, address and postal code.
- Sign the logbook along with the new keeper.
- Provide Section 10 (green slip) to the new keeper.
- Send the remainder of the logbook to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BA.
- Provide all service history records, handbook kit and additional information.
- Give the car keys over to the new owner.
How do you write a receipt for selling your car?
Create a hand and digital document that includes:
- The Make and Model of the vehicle you are selling.
- Car registration number.
- Year of manufacture.
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
- Name, address and phone numbers of the buyer and seller.
- The price of the sale.
- Clear signatures of the buyer and seller.
- Any additional information that was included in the sale agreement.
What does it mean if a car is part ex?
Part ex (or P/X, part exchange) is a term derived from the automotive industry as a way of a contractual agreement. Part exchanging your car requires you to hand over your old car and a cash payment to buy a new car. Part exchange is usually offered by car dealerships although some private sales may include a PX should the seller prohibit it and a price is agreed.
How do you transfer a car title?
Importantly, car titles do not provide proof of ownership. The title owner becomes the individual who is responsible for the car’s insurance and roadworthiness. To change the titles of a vehicle in the UK the V5C logbook must be filled out correctly and include the new titles name, address and postal code. A date and signature from the previous and new title owners must also be completed to abide by the regulations set out from the DVLA.
Can you trade in a car that is on finance?
Yes, you can. However, you must first obtain a final settlement figure from the supplying finance company. The dealer who is accepting the trade-in should contact the finance company to confirm the final settlement. The outstanding finance must be deducted from the price of the car before it can be part exchanged.
What is negative equity car finance?
New cars typically lose 30% of their value in the first 12 months. When a new car is bought via a car loan it’s common for the car to be worth less than the money outstanding on the loan. This is known as negative equity. Should you wish to trade in your car with a negative equity status the difference between the cars valuation and the outstanding loan amount must be paid off.
Autotrader Reviews via Trust Pilot
Review source: Trust Pilot