How to Sell Your Car
There are many ways to sell your car but the speed in which you do so is often determined by the price you’re willing to accept.
Let’s start with the cheapest and fastest way:
1. Car Buying Service
We’ve all heard of car buying services like webuyanycar.com. They offer to buy your car via an online quote by simply entering your car’s registration number, mileage and a few other details. Once you’ve filled in the short application you’ll get a quote right away.
- It’s fast
- You can get a baseline (absolute minimum) valuation for your vehicle.
- Getting a quote is just that, a quote. You are not committed to selling the vehicle unless you choose to
- Car buying services won’t offer you a full market value, they need a profit margin to sell on your car so keep your expectations low
- You may not get the price you were quoted online due to defects that you didn’t declare
The Used Car Guy’s tip:
If you want a quick valuation to see the minimum your car is worth you can do so with this kind of car buying service. Just go through the application process and get your valuation. Once you receive an email from them you can simply unsubscribe from their mailing list to cancel an future contact.
In case you were wondering, many car buying services have contracts with car auctions. In most cases this is where your car will end up if you choose to sell it using this method. So if the car buying service needs to make a profit in auction you can imagine how cheap they need to buy it from you!
2. Part Exchange
If you buy your next car from a dealer there’s a good chance they will buy your car off of you in part exchange. The dealer will offer you a price for your car and that value will be reduced off of the screen price of the car you’re interested in.
- It’s generally a hassle free way of getting rid of your old car
- You can negotiate the best price you can (if you’re up for the challenge)
- You guess it! The price is going to be on the lower end of the market value. Most likely it will be a similar price as the car buying service mentioned above
- You lose your leverage. If you part exchange your car you probably won’t get a reduction in the screen price of the new car. This is because a reduction in screen price is the same as giving you more money for your old car. All you’ll get is a “price to change.”
- Missed opportunity. There are some cars on the road today that are exceptionally valuable to a dealer and your part exchange might be one of them. You could be selling your “desirable car” to a dealer for vastly less than you could otherwise get.
The Used Car Guys tip:
Leading on from the above point. Dealers often make as much if not more money from your part exchange than they do from their forecourt car! This may sound a little surprising but it’s true. Be sure to check out Autotrader first and see how much your part exchange is retailing for! Avoid giving a huge additional profit margin to a dealer unless you are in a rush to do a deal.
Side Note: It is not in the dealers interest to give you more for your car than it is really worth. If you find a dealer offering you more than you expected for your part exchange there is only one reason why – because the car they are selling is overpriced. Over valued part exchanges are a clear indication that the dealer has a huge profit margin in their vehicle and they are able to “write off” some of that profit margin. It’s designed to hook you into a quick purchase and close the sale, so be warned.
3. Selling My Car Privately
Selling private involves advertising your car either online or in a newspaper or car magazine, waiting for the phone to ring and then demonstrating your car to a prospective buyer. It will probably involve a little extra work on your part but there can be significant financial rewards compared to the other methods I’ve mentioned.
- Gives you the best opportunity to get the full market value for your car. It depends on the vehicle but in many cases you can expect to get significantly more for your car with a private sale
- It takes more time to sell your car privately. To get the best money for your car you need to prepare it well. This means getting the car valeted and looking great
- You have to deal with people. If you have a desirable car and the perfect price point your phone can ring and ring.
- Scammers are waiting in the wings so be prepared. I will write another post on this soon but for now be sure to abide by this rule. Never, ever sell your car privately online via email and/or PayPal. Only ever sell to someone face to face. I have known countless friends and customers that have been ripped off online. Scammers are creative and will make some mouthwatering offers! Don’t be fooled.
- It might not sell. That’s right, you can get your car prepared, pay to advertise it and never get a phone call. If this is the case it’s probably your price point that’s doing the harm
The Used Car Guys tip: If you choose to sell your car privately be sure to do these things…
1. Have your car professionally valeted before advertising it.
2. Take lots of excellent photographs of the car, the more the better but at least 10. Include an image of the service history and spare keys if you have them.
3. Know your cars valuation. Check out similar cars to yours online and be competitive. You want to be in the lowest 30% price point of cars with the same make, model and mileage.
4. Selling my car means being honest. If your car has a defect or two just list them in your advert. This way the potential buyer will have all the information they need and you can avoid those uncomfortable moments.
5. Advertise on Autotrader. It’s expensive to do but guarantees you the best chance of getting that sale.
The Used Car Guy