Guide on the best way to sell your car, with advice and tips provided by CompuCars

To get the best price for your car, a little preparation will make a lot of difference. If you take that little bit of extra care now you will reap the rewards when you're vehicle goes up for sale. If you notice any problems with your vehicle while preparing it for sale why not check with your local dealer.

Before advertising....
  • Clean inside and out.
    • Give it a wax / polish and try to remove and light scratches and marks
    • Remove all rubbish: empty the ash tray and put in an air freshener.
    • Lift all floor mats and hoover seats and floor carpets including the boot.
    • Remove personal belongings, especially those that rattle or will distract the driver.
  • Carry out a basic maintenance check.
    • Include all fluid levels e.g. oil, coolant, brake, battery, washer.
    • Tyre pressures.
    • Operation of all lights and other electrical items.
  • Get together all your vehicle records.
    • V55 (registration document)
    • All M.O.T. certificates (if the vehicle is over 3 years old)
    • Service / maintenance receipts, service history.
    • Your proof of ownership e.g. the last owners reciept.
  • Check you have all keys including spares, alarm, remote locking controls, locking wheel not key, radio security code.
  • If you have outstanding finance check with your lender about early settlement if required.
  • Decide on a reasonable price given the vehicles condition, accessories fitted, age and mileage. Check other adverts from private sellers (dealers will be charging more as they offer warranties and a higher level of security to a buyer).
  • Take four pictures of your car to use in your advert. If you have a digital camera save the images as 'JPEG' files. The image will not need to be larger than 640 x 480 pixels if your camera has this option. If you have a scanner, scan the images (you only need a resolution of 72 dpi (dots per inch) for web pages) and save as 'JPEG' files.
Advertise your car....
  • You can advertise your car for free on CompuCars. Follow the links at the top right of this page to register and login - its all free!
    • Add 4 pictures for maximum effect. Add at least one picture from the front corner, one from the opposite side rear corner and one of the driving area through the open drivers door.
    • Select all the features your vehicle has from the drop down list.
    • Add as much information as you can in the 'Other Information' box. Don't simply list things, write a sentence or two about your vehicle, its condition and history, reason for sale, unusual extras etc.
  • If you choose to display your telephone number, ensure you have all your vehicle documentation to hand so you can answer buyers questions.
  • Request that buyers who would like to visit and test drive your car bring their driving licence and proof of insurance (if your insurance will not cover them).
  • Be prepared to have buyers wanting to visit at short notice.
Showing your car to buyers....
  • Check out our Buyers guide to get an idea what people will be looking for and the questions they will ask.
  • Consider any offer made below the asking price in relation to other similar vehicles you have seen for sale, the condition of your vehicle and its history (i.e. number of owners, servicing record) and accessories fitted (some accessories - even expensive ones - do not enhance the value of the car to most buyers, so don't always hold out for that extra money, where possible offer to remove the expensive accessory and sell it separately or fit it to your next car).
  • If the buyer is a trader or from a car dealership, they are considered professionals and as long as your vehicle is as described (e.g. the mileage is accurate, it has not been stolen or subject to finance) they will not have the 'come back' that other private buyers will have. For this reason and the fact they they normally act very quickly, it maybe worth considering a slightly lower price in this type of transaction.
  • Discuss any items that are currently in the vehicle which you intend to remove e.g. Tax discs can be cashed in (forms available from your Post Office) 
Agree a price and collection date....
  • Once you have agreed on the terms of the sale put everything in writing, including a collection date and obtain the new owners full contact details.
  • Request a deposit.
  • Agree terms on payment of the balance. Bankers draft is normal. If you will want to confirm the drafts authenticity arrange to complete the transaction during banking hours so you can ring the bank that issued it.
  • Do not hand over vehicle documentation at this stage such as the V55 or M.O.T.
Vehicle Collection....
  • Remove all your personal belongings.
  • Remove any items you have agreed that are not part of the transaction.
  • Issue a reciept to the buyer and hand over all vehicle documentation (excluding your section of the V55 registration document).