information

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience online. By continuing to use our website, you agree to receiving our cookies on your web browser. Visit our cookie policy page to find out more and how to change your cookie settings.

skip to main content

A guide to selling your car privately

Read our five step guide to making a private sale

A man handing over some car keys to another person, with a car in the background

It can seem like an awful lot of hassle to sell your car privately, but it could net you more money in the bank. Read our guide to find out how to sell your car privately.

Private sale or trade sale?

There are several ways to sell your car: through a dealer, by auction and privately to an individual. Each way has its advantages and disadvantages.

Selling through a dealer is fairly straightforward and you can get a reasonable price if you're buying another car from them.

Selling your car at auction can be a bit hit and miss because you don't know if it will sell and whether you'll get a good price. However, you can put a reserve on the car so you know you'll get a minimum price.

Selling privately could get you 10-15% more than selling through a dealer, but it can take time and a certain amount of know-how to secure a good sale.

Read our five steps to making a private sale work for you.

1. Valuing your car

Be realistic about the amount you can get for your car. You can use the motor press or online valuers to give you an indication of a fair price. Remember this is the selling price, so if you think buyers will haggle, you might want to add a bit to the base price.

2. Spruce it up

No one wants to buy a dustbin on wheels. Give your car a good wash and polish, touch up any paint scratches, hoover inside and ditch any kids' toys. Then take lots of photos.

3. Create an advert

There are plenty of places to advertise your car for sale. Social media, online listings, printed listings, local papers, motoring press, even put a note in the side window of your car.

State the facts about your car:

  • Mileage
  • Make and model
  • Full service history
  • New tyres or other new parts
  • In car entertainment, blue tooth etc.

Be honest about the condition of the car. You'll just waste your time if buyers turn up expecting pristine bodywork when it has a few knocks and dents. Photos of the car and bodywork can help manage expectations.

Also, be aware that you can't sell a car with outstanding finance on it. You should contact your finance company for a settlement figure and pay it off before you sell.

4. Showing buyers your car

Understandably, you'll be delighted that someone has shown an interest in your car, but it doesn't mean you should let them drive off alone into the sunset.

A few precautions when it comes to showing buyers round your car can help safeguard against theft and fraud.

  • When they call to make an appointment to view the car, take their name, address and contact number.
  • Ask the buyer to bring their driving licence and insurance details when they come along.
  • Don't meet the buyer with the car somewhere remote. Make sure they come to your home to view the car.
  • Check the buyer's insurance details before they drive the car. If you're concerned they may not be covered, you may be able to extend your car insurance to cover other drivers.
  • Always go with the buyer on a test drive. In fact, take a friend with you for extra security.
  • Don't leave the keys in the ignition if you swap over to change drivers.

5. Taking payment

So you've agreed a price, now comes the payment.

Whatever method the buyer uses to pay you, don't let them take the car until the payment has cleared.

This could be a few days if they pay by cheque, or just a few minutes if they pay by bank transfer 'faster payment'.

If the buyer pays in cash, check it's all there before they leave. Even ask to meet the buyer at the bank, so you can safely put the cash in your account immediately.

Write a receipt for the car when payment has gone through. The AA provides a handy car seller's contract that you can use as proof of sale.

Whatever method the buyer uses to pay you, don't let them take the car until the payment has cleared.

Transferring ownership

Until you transfer ownership of the car to the new keeper, you are still the owner of the car. You should therefore transfer ownership as soon as possible, so you don't get penalised for any infringements by the new owner.

As the person selling the car, you must complete section 6 of the V5C – this is the registration certificate. Fill in the name of the new keeper, sign it, tear it off and send it to the DVLA. The remainder of the document goes to the new keeper.

Also pass on the handbook, service history and MOT certificate.

And remember to cancel your insurance or transfer your policy to your new car.

Job done!

Buying LV= car insurance is quick and easy