How to Ensure Your Online Car Valuation Matches Your Sale Price
Marcus Rockey (The Used Car Guy) has bought and sold over 9.1 million pounds worth of used cars to the trade and public over the last 24 years. Here, he shares trade secrets and specialist tips to ensure the website valuation you are quoted for your car is identical to the amount of money you achieve on sale day.
Buy my car services – insider tips to using a car buying service
It’s been the decade of car buying services. They’ve sprung up out of nowhere and now there are hundreds of car buying services across the UK, like webuyanycar.com and Trust Car Buyers.
These ‘buy my car for cash’ companies are making huge amounts of money in a growing niche of the motor industry. One key reason for their success is that a large percentage of their target market tend to be individuals that have a vulnerability.
Family crisis, financial problems, health issues and those emigrating, are all typical reasons why people opt for car buying services, not to mention the convenience factor as well.
Whether you fall into these categories or not, it’s important to realise that any ‘buy my car’ service is going to make a decent chunk of money out of your car should you choose to sell it to them.
So, if you’re NOT desperate for the money I recommend that you don’t use these kinds of services. If you are, enter your vehicle registration number below:
Rather than individually review each company I will give you some important guidelines that will help you along the process and save you money. I will also highlight some of the tactics that get used to taking your car off your hands for much less than you anticipated.
Car buying websites offer an advanced bidding service which tells you how much a firm will offer for your car before they see it. But, as you’re about to find out, the price you achieve can often be less than what you were offered online.
More on this in a moment…
Some services (often the smaller ones) will come to your house, look around your car and make you an offer. You can refuse, barter or accept. If I were using a car buying service it would probably be one that came to my address. Not only do I only need to make a phone call or complete a quick online form, but I can get a fixed bid on my car based on an actual appraisal from the company. This can be crucial, as you’ll see in a moment.
Many of the bigger ‘buy any car’ services make you get an online quote first, before driving the car to one of their depots for inspection.
Selling your car for the most money
- Gather 3 or 4 buy my car services. Here’s a few to choose from:
- WeBuyAnyCar.com – RECOMMENDED SERVICE: Household name, had a good experience and got full money. In fact, since writing this article I have sold 3 cars to this particular ‘buy any car’ service, with great results. The 3 cars ranged from 2 years old, up to 8 years old. With each sale, I managed to get the money I was quoted from them online. I plan to write an entire case study on this in the coming weeks. But for now, you can use the rest of this article to get similar results to mine.
- TrustedCarBuyers.com – SECONDARY TO WE BUY ANY CAR: Good customer service but bid £105 less than the initial online quote.
- WeWantAnyCar.com – NOT REALLY RECOMMENDED: Offered £185 less than the initial quote, and there were no depots within a 60-mile radius of my address.
- Cash4Cars.co.uk – UNKNOWN: Not dealt with this company before so can’t advise you here. Personally, I’d use one of the above vehicle purchase companies.
There’s lots more but you’ll find the ones I’ve listed in Google if you search “We Buy Any Car or sell my car fast.”
How it works
Enter your cars registration number and provide all the details.
Now enter your cars mileage, service records etc.
Next, enter your contact details including email and mobile phone number.
Instantly you’ll get an online valuation and a follow-up email. You’ll then be prompted to book an appointment at your nearest branch.
Carry out this process at least 3 times and see how your offers differ. You’ll most likely want to choose the highest bid, provided their sales depot is nearby.
I’ve used webuyanycar.com as an example but each car buying website will have its own set of questions you’ll need to answer.
Once you’ve got your valuation make sure you read through their criteria for selling.
Key points include:
- You must have the V5 registration document and the car needs to be registered in your name
- The car must be damage free (within reason)
- The car must have at least 6 months MOT
- The car must NOT be an insurance write off
As I’ve said, the criteria will vary from one online car selling service to another. Just be sure to check out the requirements and that you can meet them thoroughly.
Tip: We Buy Any Car clearly state in their terms and conditions that the car must be damage free. Really this is a disclaimer that the vehicle must be free of major damage such as a badly dented bonnet, mirror that’s hanging off, broken front bumper etc.
If your car has a small scrape on the corner of the bumper, chip in the windscreen or the alloy wheels are a little curbed you will mostly find it to be an acceptable level of damage.
Key Information: How car buying services buy your car for significantly less than you every thought possible
First, watch my 4-minute video for some revealing information
Get a correct valuation
It clearly states on the “offer page” that “we guarantee we are willing to buy every car we value”.
This sounds wonderful, especially if your car is a little frayed around the edges.
The valuations provided by many car buying services (and I am NOT singling out webuyanycar.com,) are just that, valuations, and they are not offers or bids, despite their misleading claims.
So beware. The money you’ve been offered online is “in principle and subject to inspection.
This is just fine but something you need to be aware off. But take care here as I have known individuals get crucified by up to a £1500 price difference between their online valuation, and the actual offer they were made after their car was appraised.
This is a very real tactic used by some buy my car services to get huge amounts of money off of the price of your car.
When an individual goes through the online process and finally drives their car along to the car buyers, with all their documentation, their driving license, utility bill and even a lift home, they think their car is already sold.
This creates a sense of anticipation in the car owner who unsuspectingly believes a bank transfer is just half an hour away. So when they arrive and are told their car has A, B, C and D faults it comes as a big surprise.
The subsequent offer for their car is usually several hundred pounds less than the initial quote from their online car valuation.
In the majority of circumstances, the car owner will accept the offer because they have legitimate reasons for doing so.
It’s a common route to buying your car on the cheap and selling it for a much larger profit.
How to avoid a reduced offer after your online valuation
From your initial online valuation you’re given the option to provide additional information about your car. This tab gives you the opportunity to list any/all defects that your car may have.
This is the step that almost everybody misses, either because they didn’t see the option or they thought it wasn’t important.
In fact, this is the most important step in the process (apart from selling your car for the price you expected.)
Take note of my current valuation of £6,660, for my 62 Plate Renault Scenic 1.5 DCI TomTom.
Here’s the screen you’re taken to once you click the “change these assumptions and add damage” tab (highlighted above.)
This page gives me the chance to add any/all known damage, defects and faults that my car currently has.
- a 2.5 cm scratch on the bonnet
- a torn drivers seat
- a dirty boot (dog hair)
- missing sat nav disc
- 3 cm dent on rear, external quarter panel
These items are not major damage, and when I look around my car it appears pretty sound.
Car Buyers Services – Their Secret Sauce
Check out my valuation, since adding in the minor additional damages to my car…
Yes, you read that correctly. My offer is now £6,012. That’s a staggering £648 less than my initial quote. So, if I hadn’t completed the ‘additional damage’ section I would never have known I was only getting just over 6k for my car!
We Buy Any Car (and ANY car buyer services) will reduce money from your initial valuation for:
- Having more owners than you initially described
- Having a lesser service history than described
- Having a personalised registration plate without disclosing it
- Having an imported car and not disclosing it
- Having only one set of keys!!!
- Having less than six months MOT!
- Having run the car as a taxi
- Having run the car as a driving tuition vehicle
- For not disclosing any/all damage to the engine, interior or exterior
The advantage with We Buy Any Car is the fact that they provide you with these options. Many car buy services don’t. So, in actual fact, I applaud WBAC, although I’d like to see this important step highlighted, and made more obvious.
OK, here’s your next step to a true valuation…
Once you have 3 or 4 online quotes it’s time to contact a car buying service that will come to you.
Money For Your Motors is one such example. You’ll need to give your registration number and a few other details. If you are happy with their offer you’ll book a time and date for payment and collection.
Generally speaking, I have heard good things about them. They are certainly worth trying out and comparing with the other services in your local area. But note, I have not directly used their service so please use caution.
Remember, if they offer you less than the online quote you can simply refuse their offer.
Most car buyer services carry a fee. Here’s the FAQ’s screenshot from webuyanycar.com
If you choose to sell your car via a car buying service be sure to apply these methods and save yourself some money. Click here to get a quote.
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