Selling an old used car is almost like starting your own business. It would help if you had planning, investment, marketing, and negotiation, hoping to see a profit at the end of the day.
It can take up to 5 weeks to successfully sell an old used car in the private marketplace. But don’t worry. We’ve created a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you prepare to sell privately and maximize the value of your used car.
Find Out Your Vehicle’s Worth.
It is helpful to have an industry reference point when determining your car’s value. Australian Drives leverages this fair market tool as an online retailer that buys and sells vehicles but offers even more convenience for Australian who want to sell car quickly at a reasonable price. Visit Australia Drives to find out what your vehicle is worth in minutes. We’ll make a guaranteed offer based on the details you provide, and we’ll even come and pick up your car as soon as today!
But regardless of what valuation tool you decide to use, you’ll need to submit some information about your vehicle to get the most accurate information on your car’s worth. Most importantly, you’ll need the odometer’s make, model, year, and mileage. But you should also take down details like manual or automatic transmission, whether it has functioning air conditioning, and the “trim,” a term that means the version of your car’s model that comes equipped with a specific package of features.
Here are some other physical factors that may determine your car’s market value:
- Interior condition: the quality of leather seating or other fabric types and whether any cigarette smoke has left a lasting smell.
- Exterior paint condition: any chipping or damage.
- Mechanical issues with the engine.
- Quality of stereo and Bluetooth features.
- Primary driving environment: highways or city roads.
Make sure the car loan is paid off
Selling an old used car while still owing money on your vehicle will make the sale process challenging. Technically, you can sell a financed car, but it will be challenging since most buyers seek a safe (and uncomplicated) buying experience. If you owe money on your vehicle, you should make arrangements to pay off the car loan before transferring it to the new owner. Remember, a lender stakes a claim to the car’s title while a loan is outstanding, so that lender will need to be repaid in full to release its lien.
Servicing & Maintenance
Your car could use some TLC before being it to potential buyers. For example, your car’s engine makes a mysterious clicking sound while driving. That’s not something you want a buyer hearing when you’re out on a test drive. Some buyers might use that clicking issue to negotiate a lower price, while others will turn and run from the sale.
It’s always a used car seller’s dilemma – how much to invest in repairs versus how much you can get back in value. There’s no easy answer, but it should be evident that you need to repair any severe mechanical problem that might affect the immediate lifespan of the car and the safety of the driver. Depending on the province, a vehicle will require a safety certificate before a new owner can drive it.
You also have to weigh up cosmetic repairs such as body damage, paint chips, rust, missing hubcaps, etc. It would help if you considered how much investment you want to increase the car’s value. The best advice would be to get an estimate for the repair cost and weigh it against the value you will get in the sale, and this will help you make an informed decision.
Also, cover the basics: The tires are fully inflated, and all headlights and brake lights are working correctly. Fluid levels are topped up, like oil and washer fluid. These are simple, cost-effective preparations you can make to present your car more favorably. You want to show the potential buyer that you’ve been an attentive owner.
Washing & Detailing
What’s the first thing you notice when you walk into a dealership showroom? Every vehicle is shining like it just rolled off the factory floor, and you want your car to have the same effect on a potential buyer. In other words, you need to roll back the years on your vehicle, and a good washing and detailing is your time machine.
Before you drive to the gas station for the cheap touchless car wash, think about whether you want an average, spotty wash or something that will make your car shine. Roll up your sleeves and wash them yourself using our best practices guide if you have the time and inclination.
Cleanliness counts in a big way; getting a detailed service to clean the interior will present your car in the best light. Keep in mind that this will cost you a couple of hundred dollars, but you only need to do it once. If you take a DIY approach, here are some checkpoints for an interior clean:
- Thoroughly vacuum the seats and floors, both front and rear. There could be years of built-up crud stuck between those cushions.
- All miscellaneous debris must go. Clear out your glove compartment, door compartments, cup holders, ashtray, and other nooks containing old food, paper, and junk.
- Wash the floor mats or consider buying new ones.
- Clean the interior of the windows. Gunk tends to build up from the heating and air conditioning vents underneath.
- And to all those junk food junkies, don’t forget to restore that fresh new car smell with a good scent!
Advertise your vehicle
Ready for a crash course in digital marketing? You’ll need to learn a few tricks about internet advertising to reach as many potential buyers as possible. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the tried-and-true method of placing a FOR SALE sign on your car and hoping for the best. But those who are savvy and with a few bucks to invest will reach best car buyers online Adelaide.
Here are three ways to advertise your vehicle:
The good old-fashioned FOR SALE should never be discounted. It only costs a few bucks for the sign, and if you park in a prominent area, you will get plenty of eyes on your car. But don’t expect quick results using street ads unless luck is on your side.
The number of online car listings sites is plentiful. Auto Trader, Wheels.ca, and Auto123.com are the go-to websites for online listings in Australia. These sites excel at attracting serious buyers. Many sites will offer free listings, though expect your vehicle to get buried in a digital avalanche of listings unless you spend money to get your listing “featured” or ranked at the top of search results.
There is nothing wrong with sites like Craigslist and Kijiji for advertising your car at no cost. Many sellers are also opting to use social media sites like Facebook Marketplace to advertise for free.
Tip to writing an excellent auto listing
You want to describe your car persuasively while providing the essential information buyers are looking for. Be sure to frontload your listing’s title and description with crucial details like the make, model, year, transmission, engine, and price. This will help search engines understand your listing and deliver the result to the buyer.
Also, write a description that details your car’s attributes – reliability, well-maintained, and fuel-efficient are keywords that attract buyers. Consider presenting your vehicle’s specs in bullet points so the reader can quickly scan relevant information.
Tips for taking good photographs
Pretend your car is signing up for online dating and it needs attractive photos to find a match. You want to present your vehicle in the most flattering light possible while maintaining an honest depiction.
- Photograph your car during the magic hour – this is that time of day when the sun is just going down, and everything is bathed in golden light—the perfect glamour shot for your car.
- Take as many photos as possible – upload the maximum to your listing site. The more pictures, the better for buyers to get an impression of your car from all angles, inside and out.
- Use a quality camera – you don’t need to borrow your dad’s $5,000 telephoto lens. Just make sure you use a current smartphone or a click and shoot. HD images will go a long way compared to grainy shots that look like they came from a Blackberry in 2007.
Meeting potential buyers
Here’s where the prospect of selling an old used car privately will repel some. Meeting potential buyers takes patience because for every severe buyer, you might get three or four no-shows, low-ballers (buyers offering way below the asking price), and window shoppers – someone who isn’t severe but likes to look (or test drive) for the fun of it; all three types will test your resolve.
The best way to prepare for these interactions is to be fully equipped with answers to all the most commonly asked questions you will get about your car and necessary prepare paperwork like service records and a CARFAX vehicle report.
You should also be prepared to haggle or negotiate your asking price even if you stated on your listing that your price is “firm.” Will buyers in the used car marketplace rarely pay the exact asking price requested by the seller? But suppose you have documentation to prove your car’s worth (including how much money you invested in its reconditioning). In that case, you have the leverage to hold firm on your original asking price.
What paperwork you will need to complete a sale in the private marketplace depends mainly on where you live. Each province has different rules about ownership transfers, and you should always consult your provincial government website about what documentation is required.
In Adelaide, for example, there are several documents the seller must organize to complete the process of selling a used car.
Bill of sale: The bill of sale is a standard contract that you can use to transfer ownership to a new buyer.
Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP): UVIP is mandatory in a private sale and must be provided by the seller.
Safety Standards Certificate (SSC): The SSC certificate can only be granted by a licensed mechanic and is required before new plates can be put on the car. This certificate is not necessary if the new owner is your spouse.
Transfer application: On the back of your ownership permit, you’ll find an application for the transfer section. You will need to complete and sign this section and give it to the buyer. Until the buyer registers the vehicle at a Service Adelaide location, the car will remain registered with the seller.
Making a safe transaction
It’s natural to be nervous about the final stages when selling a car privately. You are dealing with a large sum of money coming from a stranger, and you want to be vigilant and safeguard yourself against any scams. The safest way to accept payment for your vehicle is to have cash or a bank draft delivered in person by the buyer.
A bank draft is a certified cheque from a financial institution meaning there is no possibility it could “bounce” – have insufficient funding. The banks usually charge a fee for these cheques, which the buyer might not like, but it’s for your protection. A personal cheque is not advisable, as it could have insufficient funds, and you won’t find out until the fraudster is long gone with your car. It’s also advisable to avoid wire transfers as they too can be susceptible to fraud.
There’s an easier way to sell your car.
You don’t have the time or willpower to sell your car privately. Selling or trading it into Australia Drives is an incredible time-saver; you can do it all from home comfort. Provide a few details about your car online, and we’ll get right back to you with a guaranteed offer for your used vehicle. If you accept our offer, we can come to pick up the car from your home; we can even pay off your existing loan and transfer you the difference.