Table of contents
- Determine how you’re going to sell your car
- Get a valuation for your car and determine the listing price
- Prepare your car for sale by having it cleaned and thoroughly detailed
- Photograph your car and list it online
- Be upfront with buyers – the value of an inspection report
- Wait for leads to roll in and show your car to prospective buyers
- Receive offers and negotiate with buyers
- Ensure the balance of the purchase price is securely transferred to you
- Handle all the paperwork and final details after the after
Ready to sell your car?
At Carchase, we know that selling your car can be a frustrating and time-consuming exercise for a range of reasons. What should be a rather simple and straight-forward process often ends up in frustration and a series of negative experiences.
But that’s OK, because our comprehensive guide on how you can sell your car offers a detailed view into the car selling process, and provides practical tips into how you can save valuable time while maximising the sale price.
The aim of the game when selling a car is to get the best possible price in the shortest time. However, it’s never always this straight forward. There are many factors at play that determine how fast your car can sell.
The most important of these is, price.
It’s commonly known that the quickest and most convenient way is to trade-in your car to a dealer or sell it to a car buying business. These businesses offer cash for your car and are usually a division of a retail or wholesale dealership operation. While you might get a fast sale with a trade-in, it always results in the least amount of money in your pocket.
We’ve outlined how the dealer trade-in process works in a separate article to give you more insight into the tricks of the trade that dealers use to buy your car low, and then re-sell at a higher price.
The next most common way to sell a car is to do it yourself on the private market. This may sound simple, but requires much more time and effort on your part. The good news is that it typically means you can obtain a higher price for your car because you avoid the pitfalls of a trade-in, but the bad news is that it can also result in prolonged periods of uncertainty, risk, and the unavoidable calls from time wasters and low ballers.
With Carchase, there is a now a viable third alternative that offers you more value than a dealer trade-in, and greater convenience as compared to a private sale. But we’ll get to that a little later. By following our 9 steps below, you will be well equipped to sell your car and put that money to good use when you buy your next new or used car.
Here are the 9 steps to go through when selling your car.
1. Determine how you’re going to sell your car
As outlined above, fortunately, there are a variety of options available to you, each of which has their own set benefits and disadvantages:
- Trade-in your car to a wholesale or retail dealership: Be ready to accept a price well below market value as a result of instant liquidity
- Send your car to an auction house: This can be fast and easy, and helps you avoid negotiations with buyers. However, you will usually be charged an entry fee and as with trade-in, you won’t get the best price.
- Sell the car yourself: This is where you handle the entire process, including marketing, viewings and awkward negotiations with buyers. Popular options are Carsales, Gumtree and Carsguide. Carsales offers free listings for cars under $5,000, but for cars above $5,000 is has a tiered pricing structure based on the value of the car and type of ad you go for. The cheapest paid ad on Carsales starts at $68 for cars between $15,000 – $19,999. Gumtree and Carsguide (now under the Autotrader brand) have free offerings as part of their standard solutions.
- Sell your car with CarChase the hassle-free way in 3 simple steps: a) Receive and Online Offer after answering a few simple questions about your car b) Bring your car in for an inspection to have it evaluated c) After passing the inspection, you can choose to sell your car immediately and get paid on the spot.
For the purposes of this article, we are going to focus on options c and d.
2. Get a valuation for your car and determine the listing price
Once you have decided that you want to sell your car, irrespective of the option you go with, the next question that you need to answer is “what is my car worth?” You can do this be looking around all the popular car listing websites to understand what cars similar to yours are selling for. It’s important to remember that no two used cars are exactly alike, so when doing this you need to be realistic about the real condition of your car when comparing it to others out there – look out for things like options, odometer readings, engine and transmission type.
When determining your listing price, it’s always common to add a few extra thousand for “negotiation room” – however, this can be a double edged sword as it is common for the private seller to aim for top dollar and over-price their car, which invariably results in a drawn out sale process. This then means multiple re-pricings throughout the sale process. You want to avoid this as much as possible.
At CARCHASE, we have made this process super easy for you. Using our online price estimate tool, you can save yourself valuable time and obtain an Online Offer for your car in a matter of minutes. The Online Offer is based on our data driven approach for car valuations that take into account factors such as age, kilometers, geographic location and options.
3. Prepare your car for sale by having it cleaned and thoroughly detailed
How your car is presented is absolutely critical to generating appeal among prospective buyers. Before you think about taking photos, it’s important to have your car thoroughly cleaned inside and out. Whilst a simple clean is great, a professional detailing can take your car to the next level, giving it the pop to stand out from the crowd of listings. A professional detailing ranges anywhere from $300-500 depending on what you get done. It’s worth getting one done to maximise the chances of a sale.
4. Photograph your car and list it online
Now that you have a clean and well-priced car, the next step is to take some photos. Great pictures enhance salability of your car. In this age of online shopping and discovery, this especially important. Some of the most common mistakes consumers make when taking photos of their car are:
- Taking pictures in poor quality light
- Taking pictures with busy backgrounds that detract from the car itself
- Poor focus on the camera
- Sub-optimal angles that don’t fill the frame
- Missing out on important shots, e.g. the odometer, interior shots.
Try and void these pitfalls as much as possible before listing on any of the popular car classified websites.
5. Be upfront with buyers – the value of an inspection report
When selling a used car, it’s important that prospective buyers have a credible and objective assessment of the vehicle condition. There are numerous inspection services available to buyers, with popular ones such as Redbook ($260) and NRMA ($269). A lot of discerning buyers opt to have an inspection carried out by qualified mechanics to minimize the risk of buying a lemon.
Knowing this, the best thing you can do when selling privately is not to exaggerate the condition of your car. Be upfront and honest about any repairs you’ve needed to carry out on the car, or those which need to still be carried out. If you have a great service record, definitely mention it.
6. Wait for leads to roll in and show your car to prospective buyers
Now that you have set the price, taken great photos and listed your car, it pays to be aware of the types dodgy buyers and digital time wasters that can prey on car sellers. Some people strike it lucky and can end up getting a quick sale if they manage to get all the ingredients right. But we aren’t all that lucky. In most cases, it’s a waiting game that can take many weeks or months (the average car takes 50 days to sell).
This waiting game involves random calls, insistence on SMS as the primary form of communication, late arrivals, and worst of all, no shows from potential buyers that book in a time with you to come to view the car. This is the frustrating part of selling a car privately, but if you are patient enough to accept and deal with these challenges, then you can hold out and hope that the right buyer comes in. A nice little tip is for you schedule viewings when you’d be home anyway, as opposed to rearranging your plans.
7. Receive offers and negotiate with buyers
Conventional wisdom states that negotiation on price is to be expected. We’ve already mentioned that many private sellers (especially first time sellers) tend to over-price their car to leave wriggle room for negotiation. However, buyers expect the same as well. They generally come in with the assumption that you have over-priced the car.
In an ideal world, all buyers would have serious intentions, but we don’t live in an ideal world. Prepare yourself for countless low ball offers. A lot of people don’t enjoy these kinds of awkward negotiations and their time being wasted. There are better things to do with one’s time than having to deal with this kind of stuff. It’s important you are patient, hold your ground and don’t go to.
If you have priced the car accurately and presented it in the best possible light, then it should be appealing enough for it to sell quickly.
8. Ensure the balance of the purchase price is securely transferred to you
The balance of the purchase price should be paid to you via a bank cheque, direct deposit or in cash. Cash is usually quite dangerous when dealing with large sums of money and presents a lot of risks. A bank cheque or direct deposit is usually much safer.
9. Handle all the paperwork and final details after the after
There are a few critical things left after you have sold your car;
- Ensure that both you and buyer provide each other with the relevant details and sign the transfer of registration and notice of disposal on the reverse of the registration certificate. As the seller, you keep the notice of disposal slip, and the buyer keeps the transfer of registration.
- Remove your car from your toll account and take your e-tag out of the car.
- Call your insurance provider and cancel your policy or transfer it to your new car
- If your car is still covered by a manufacturer or dealer warranty, provide copies of these documents to the buyer.
- Provide the new owner with all spare keys, accessories, owner’s manual and logbook containing all the service records.
Congratulations, you made it!
With the tips outlined in this car seller guide, you’re well on the way to having a successful selling experience.