Selling a car can be an overwhelming, uncomfortable, and arduous experience. However you approach the sale – whether it’s putting an ad up on an online auction site, trying to sell privately or part-exchanging at a local dealership, many sellers will feel stressed and even intimidated by the process.
To ensure you get the best results, it is important that you attain a firm understanding of the various selling options. To make your choice easy – and put you back in the driving seat – this article examines the four main methods of selling vehicles – and discusses the pros and cons of each.
1. Selling your car privately
There are many ways to sell your car privately. You might place a car ad in your local newspaper or even stick a note on your local supermarket’s pinboard. However, these days, most car sellers will use online platforms that will present their vehicle advert to thousands of engaged users.
However, even with big audiences looking to buy, there are really no guarantees. If you are thinking about heading down this road, then, for best results, you will need to create an ad that will stand out in a crowded marketplace – though this isn’t always easy. It is usually a good idea to upload between ten and fifteen photos that show your car in its best light. If that doesn’t do the trick, there are usually other options to get your ad more visibility – though these can be expensive.
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Assuming there is sufficient interest in your vehicle and your ad gets responses, that is not the end of it. You will still need to take the time to respond to calls and emails from prospective buyers – and then take time showing them your car. Even, potentially, taking them out for a test drive. If a potential buyer does seem interested, you will typically still need to negotiate over the car’s price – which can be frustrating.
Private sales are very hands-on and can go on for a protracted period. There’s also no guarantee that a sale will come off. However, if you’re prepared to stick it out, you can generally get a better price for your vehicle selling privately than with other methods.
Pros: Usually a good price
Cons: Long-winded, can be pricey, no guarantees
2. Part-exchanging your car
Before the rise of instant car-buying websites a decade and a half ago, part-exchanging used to be the most common way of selling your existing car to trade up to a newer model.
It was quick and easy to do. Car dealers were keen to take your unwanted car off you – as long as you were paying for a new one at the same time. A part exchange was seen by many sellers as a better option than laboriously trying to sell your car privately – as you will typically avoid the uncertainty of private sales and the hassle of dealing with enquiries, viewings, and test drives.
However, if you do part exchange your vehicle, the price you will receive will usually be much lower than you’ll get from a private sale.
It’s not a seller’s market though – as it is up to the dealer’s discretion whether or not to grant you a part exchange and include your old car as partial payment towards a new one. As such, it can be difficult to negotiate a better price.
Pros: A quick and easy option
Cons: Usually a low price which can be difficult to negotiate
3. Selling your car to an instant car-buying website
If you are keen to get your car off your driveway or from taking up valuable space in your garage – and you’re not massively concerned about getting a good price for it – you can sell via a car-buying website.
It is certainly an easy option. You simply enter your car’s details into a website and receive a valuation, then you drive it over to an inspection point for a physical examination.
Typically, a valuation from a car-buying website will be on the low side. However, when you take it for inspection, you may find the valuation price is further reduced.
Bodywork issues and other minor damage, that you might not even be aware of, will often impact the initial valuation. Consequently, the price you achieve for your vehicle will often be quite different to the price originally offered at the valuation stage.
Pros: Quick and easy
Cons: Usually a low valuation that can be further reduced following inspection
4. Selling your car with Motorway
Most car-selling methods are hampered by being expensive and not offering the seller the best price, or being slow and cumbersome. One way of getting both a great price and selling quickly is by using Motorway – a free online service that will put your vehicle in front of 4000+ verified car dealers, who will compete against one another to offer you their best price.
Simply enter your car’s reg at Motorway’s website and you’ll be provided with an instant valuation. They’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. This can usually be done from your phone and in a matter of minutes.
Your car will then be entered into Motorway’s online daily sale, where it will be shown to Motorway’s nationwide network of car dealers – who are competing with one another to buy it. This is an auction where dealers offer their best price for your car.
In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer – and, if you’re happy to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free from your home, and the money will be quickly transferred to your bank account.
Pros: Quick, easy, and free; giving you the highest price from a network of verified car dealers
Cons: You might make more if you were to sell your vehicle privately, although as mentioned above this could be cumbersome and time consuming.