If you’re looking to sell your car for cash then there are certain logical steps to take:
- Establishing your car’s value
- Preparing it for sale
- Choosing a selling method
- Concluding the sale
Valuing Your Car
There are various ways to get an idea of prices:
Used Car Websites – car dealers’ used car sites, Auto Trader and others can show you what cars like yours are selling for.
Guides – trade guides like Glass’s and CAP show trade, part exchange and retail values. Both provide an online facility enabling you to get a basic valuation for your car. Parker’s Guide, available from news agents, is a non-trade used car price guide with an online valuation option.
Ebay Motors – see what sort of prices cars like yours are fetching.
Online Dealer Valuation – you can get a valuation just by spending a few minutes online entering your car’s details into their system. There’s no obligation to proceed and you know the actual cash price they’d pay (subject to a physical inspection).
Before Selling Your Car
Even a little cash spent on a good clean inside and out is worthwhile whatever method you select. If selling privately, attending to little scuffs and scratches is worthwhile, and a fresh MOT is a big help.
Make sure all the paperwork such as the V5C, MOT, service record book, manuals and other relevant material is to hand along with radio codes, locking wheel nuts and all sets of keys. Find out more about the complete list of items needed to sell you car, on our car selling documents page.
There are various methods. Which one you use will be influenced primarily by two things:
- Speed – a quick cash sale
- Price – the best price possible
Of course you’ll likely want both, but getting the absolute best price might entail using a method that takes longer. In the end, it’s answering the questions ‘how quickly do I want to sell my car?’ and ‘do I need the best price possible?’
Dealers (Franchised Or Used Car)
A franchised dealer will likely only be interested in making you a cash offer if your car is from the manufacturer they represent and a version they’re short of used. Expect a low offer as they’ll be looking to buy it at around the trade price so as to provide a decent profit margin.
A used car dealership might be interested, especially if they openly advertise their willingness to offer cash for cars. They’ll also look to buy it at around trade value to build in a decent profit margin.
Pros – it can be quick. If they make an offer, they’ll be keen to take the car off you.
Cons – you’ll need to find a dealer suitable for your type of car. Price offered likely to be low, and you may have to endure haggling.
Other Motor Traders
There are other ‘traders’ who advertise in the small ads section of local or regional newspapers with ads saying things like ‘we buy cars for cash,’ ‘cars wanted for cash,’ ‘cash for cars’ or similar.
As with dealers above, the offer they provide is likely to be around trade value.
Pros – a quick sale possible. May even give you actual cash for your car.
Cons – a low offer likely. You may need to exercise caution – the risks with payment can be similar to private sales.
Car auctions are held nationwide and aren’t always just for the motor trade.
Pros – mainly speed: your car may sell quickly. May fetch a higher price than a dealer or motor trader would offer.
Cons – time taken: finding an auction, entering the car and possibly attending. Expense of selling the car and other auction fees – most of which you’re committed to even if you don’t sell.
Most large auction companies run auctions online so people who cannot attend the main auction can bid.
Ebay Motors is popular. The difference here is that you prepare an advertisement (listing) for your car and people bid through the site while your auction is running.
Pros (not Ebay) – similar to ‘Car auctions’ above, and more potential buyers as it includes those not present at the auction.
Cons (not Ebay) – the same as ‘Car auctions’ above.
Ebay pros – might sell quickly. Your car may make a good price as it’s being advertised nationwide.
Ebay cons – time. People may want to view your car before bidding, so it’s like a private sale. The auction winner may not complete the purchase so wasting your time.
Selling Your Car Privately
Still a popular method – especially with the wide choice of selling websites online such as the huge Auto Trader.
You prepare a print or online advertisement – or both – and show interested people over the car. When someone wants to buy, you conclude the deal and get paid.
Pros – you’ll probably get the highest price of all methods.
Cons – time consuming as you’ll be showing people over your car, waiting in for them and running the gauntlet of no shows and so on. There’s a security risk as people you don’t know are visiting and looking at your car. You’ll need to exercise caution regarding payment such as waiting for funds to clear.
The costs of advertising, preparing your car for sale and probably reducing the price after haggling can diminish the ‘higher price’ benefits of selling privately.
Online Car Dealers
Operating nationally and, in some cases, regionally such as throughout certain counties or in a major city. For example, they might advertise as operating ‘throughout Kent and Essex’ or ‘anywhere in the London area’. These companies buy cars for cash.
You get an online valuation which is confirmed by a physical inspection of your car and instant payment – or within a few working days at the most.
Pros – very fast: you might sell your car and be paid the same day. Prices are likely to be higher than those offered by a physical dealer or motor trader and there’s no haggling. The transaction is safe and secure – unlike selling privately there’s no personal risk or concerns over funds clearing and so forth.
Cons – the value may alter when the car is physically inspected compared to the online valuation. This is only likely to happen if you haven’t described the car fully on the online submission form though.
Concluding The Sale
Make sure you send the relevant part of the V5C to DVLA to show you’re no longer the keeper of the car and to enable any unused road tax to be refunded to you. Ensure the new owner receives all the documentation, literature and other items relating to the car described in ‘Before selling’ above.
If selling privately (including to a motor trader other than a dealer) don’t release the car until funds have cleared if your buyer pays by cheque or banker’s draft.
In Conclusion For Selling Your Car For Cash
Being realistic about the price you can get for your car versus how quickly you need to sell it will help you choose the best selling method. Making sure you get a good feel for prices is a must, and make sure you are organised with all paperwork and documentation.
The various selling methods all have their strengths, but online dealers, especially offer a good balance between a sensible cash price and speed.