Top 5 ways to sell your current car

Published 8 October 2021
in Advice
Top 5 ways to sell your current car

If you're thinking about selling your current car you likely have lots of questions.  How do I sell my used car? Do I want a quick and easy sale with an instant buyer? Do I have time to find a private buyer?

These are questions many have asked and as many have or will experience, finding a simple way to sell a used car for its best value, can be a stressful and time-consuming process. It can also be difficult to make comparisons between the best ways to sell. Ultimately, the best place for you to sell your car will depend on your priorities.

This guide will explore 5 ways to help you find your car a new home.

1. ‘Cash for your Car’ Companies

With many sites able to provide a valuation for a vehicle in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea, it is no surprise that such ‘cash for your car’ companies have multiplied in the last few years. Many clients who are pushed for time and looking for hassle removal, enter a few details on a website then make an appointment at a local branch and sell their car – is it as simple and straightforward?

Not quite. We’ve all heard the stories about companies offering an enticing online price before reducing it substantially after inspecting it in person. Back in 2017, Autocar tested a couple of such sites, using a 2012-reg Peugeot 107 Allure with 49,000 miles on the clock and in ‘average’ condition (light scratches and kerbed wheels). They checked its value with a leading trade guide and at the time, it suggested a value of £2,325. We Buy Any Car offered £2,185 before, on inspection, revising its offer to £1,706. Its rival, We Want Any Car, initially offered £2,190 but, on seeing pictures of the car, adjusted its offer to £2,070.

A spokesman for We Buy Any Car said: “The company guarantees to give the price quoted on the website if the vehicle is as described but, if issues come to light on inspection, then the price needs to be adjusted. The price offered by different [online] buyers will vary and so we recommend motorists shop around to get the best price.”

We’ve experienced this recently in April this year with a 2016-reg Ford Focus with 50,000 miles on the clock and in ‘good’ condition. Its suggested value was £5,250 and We Buy Any Car offered £5,225 before, on inspection, revising its offer to £47,35 quoting stone chips and a dent that would be outside fair wear and tear guidelines.

Better news for one of our other clients in August this year however when he sold his 2019 BMW X5 xDrive MSport, bought exactly a year before for £46,465. The industry indicated the value to be £44,810 and he managed to sell for £51,000. This is an unusual outcome helped by the current semiconductor and microchip shortages impacting new car sales but shows just what can be achieved.

Although this may not get you the most money for your beloved car as you would selling privately and you usually need to negotiate on the final price, We Buy Any Car has been classed as ‘excellent’ by over 75% of its Trustpilot users in over 111,000 reviews.

2. Third Party Buyer

A third-party car buyer is like We Buy Any Car and its rivals but rather than buying your car, it offers it to traders who buy it instead. You complete a detailed description and upload pictures of your vehicle to its website, then the company then presents it to traders who subscribe to its service.

Before the sale, the company will tell you what, based on recent sales, it thinks your car is worth. Based on this figure, you set a reserve price and then sit back and wait for the best offer. It's like an auction with only those traders who are interested in your car, bidding to buy it. There's no cost to you, even the transfer of funds is free.

Companies providing this service include Wizzle and Motorway.co.uk. The latter has over 85% of Trustpilot users rating it as excellent however, many unhappy users report the fact that buyers pulled out of buying altogether, no further communication when deal was ‘done’ and dealers either not turning up or trying to ‘chip’ clients in person.

3. Ad Posting

Placing an ad in an online marketplace is also becoming the new norm when it comes to selling a used vehicle. Autotrader is normally the first port of call for this, from its roots of a traditional weekly newspaper of adverts to its current around 7 million monthly web visits, the premise is simply to connect buyers with sellers. Generally selling privately generates more money for your vehicle but it can take a long time to find the right buyer and once you do and have paid all your advertising fees, you need to do all the paperwork, which can be a daunting and fiddly process. If you are keen to use this method, check out AutoTrader, Pistonheads or Motors.co.uk

If you prefer, there is always the tried and tested old fashioned ad placing. This could be as simple as placing an advert on a noticeboard at work, in your local community, convenience store on your street, supermarket or coffee shop.  Gumtree is a free way to list an item for sale and a very easy way to list an item. The key is to get as many people to see it as possible as to increase your chances of a fast sale, at its best price. eBay is also becoming a favourite way of posting your car for sale. Although there are fees involved, these tend to be much less than the likes of Autotrader but with the added benefit of further reach outside your local area.  You can also set a fixed price for someone to ‘buy it now’ or set a reserve and watch the buyers happily bid for your car as described by you and the pictures you upload.  

4. Social Media platforms

With social networking and interaction continuing more online via tech and gadgets, keep an eye out on Facebook Marketplace, Instagram, eBay or local forum and community groups you may be involved with. We all tend to know someone who knows someone who knows someone looking for their next car. Friends, colleagues, and family will happily share news to help you out. 

5. Direct to a dealer

Selling your car to a dealer can be an easy option, especially if the ‘right’ one is near to you. Some franchised dealerships might buy cars of all makes, but if it isn’t one of the same brands as the one you are trying to sell, they aren’t going to offer you the best price. This is because they are unlikely to retail it directly themselves. These companies are out to make a profit after all, and while that isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world, it does mean they know all the tricks of the trade - sometimes they will offer a low price when you trade in your car or they will increase the price of a new one. They will look to find flaws in your car and may ‘chip’ you down on the price. You will need to make sure you have a clear understanding of your cars value and be prepared to haggle.

WHAT NEXT?

If you're looking to sell your car and need help please do get in touch with our expert and professional team who would be delighted to help.