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Selling your car

For many people, selling a car represents a much bigger headache than buying one. You might never be quite sure that you have received a fair price for it, whether a garage has offered a fair part exchange trade-in and if you are selling privately, you have the hassle and inconvenience of staying at home to show potential buyers over the vehicle, and run the risk of time-wasters simply not turning up.

Here are some tips, therefore, on selling your car – as safely and as smoothly as possible:

Is it yours?

  • the first question – obvious as it might seem – is to ensure that the car is yours to sell;
  • with the exception of an unsecured personal loan, any outstanding car finance must be repaid before you may sell it – it is illegal, for example, to sell a vehicle you are buying on hire purchase without first settling accounts with the hire purchase company;

Advertising honestly

  • if you are selling your car privately – whether via a card in the newsagent’s window, the classified columns of the local paper or online – it is important that you describe it honestly and accurately;
  • if you fail to do so, you may be breaking the law through misrepresentation. If there are serious undisclosed faults, the buyer may be legally entitled to get you to make the necessary repairs or give him his money back, suggests Citizens Advice;

Part exchange

  • considerably less effort is involved in selling your car if you offer it in part exchange to the garage or motor dealer from whom you are buying your new car. However, since the dealer also needs to make a profit on the transaction, you may receive a lower price for the car you are trading in than if you had been able to sell it privately;
  • nevertheless, part exchange is likely to go a long way to meeting your need for a deposit on the new purchase and may make any car finance you arrange so much more straight forward and affordable – although it is worth remembering that some specialist lenders are able to arrange car finance even if you have no deposit to put down on the new purchase;

Car buyers

  • alternatively, you might find the whole business of selling your car privately or negotiating the terms of any part exchange so tiresome and such a chore that you are prepared to sell to one of the many companies claiming to “buy any car”;
  • companies such as this may well take the vehicle off your hands, but at a price well below its market value and – in all probability – much less than any established motor trader or dealer.

However you decide to sell the car you presently own, it is important to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of the change of ownership or the means of its disposal – the procedure is described on the official website.