How to sell your car privately

19 June 2021

Selling your car privately is usually the most effective way to get the best possible price for your car. However, you will need to be prepared to invest both time and effort into the process if you want to be successful.

In this article, we will explain the steps you need to take to sell your car privately, as well as letting you into a secret that will enable you to sell your car with just a phone call.

Why sell your car privately?

The biggest reason to considering selling your car privately is that private car sales typically attract a higher sale price than other methods of selling your car.

Not only that, but when you sell your car privately, you will be able to choose the asking price, even if you have to wait a while to find the right buyer. Ultimately, you are the one that’s in control of the price you achieve.

Preparing your car for a private sale

First things first, you’ll need to prepare your car to be sold privately. Thoroughly preparing your car will give it the best possible chance of achieving the highest price, as well as helping your car to sell quickly.

Begin by giving your car a thorough clean. This may sound obvious, but a clean car will sell far faster than a dirty car. This is because many buyers will associate a clean car with being well looked after, whilst buyers may assume that a dirty car may have been neglected when it comes to servicing and maintenance.

If you want to secure the highest possible price for your vehicle, it’s also worth fixing any cosmetic faults. This could include broken mirrors, scratches and cracked lights, which can all be repaired relatively cheaply and will increase the value and appeal of your car.

The best way to give potential buyers confidence in your vehicle is to have an MoT carried out. This will demonstrate to buyers that your car has been recently maintained and is safe to drive.

Pricing is key

Next, you’ll need to work out what price to advertise your car at. Ultimately, your car is only worth what someone will pay for it, so you’ll need to consider what a potential buyer will be willing to pay.

The best way to determine a price for your car is to look at similar cars which are advertised on sites such as eBay, AutoTrader and Gumtree. Try to find cars which are the same make, model and age as yours, along with having a similar mileage and in the same condition as your car. This will give you a good starting point for pricing your vehicle.

Location, location, location

You will also need to consider where you will advertise your car. There are many different options available, some of which are free and some will require a fee. Where you decide to advertise your vehicle will likely depend on how quickly you want to sell your car.

Some of the most popular methods of selling your car privately for free include:

  • Placing a ‘for sale’ sign in your car windows
  • Advertising your car on Facebook Marketplace
  • Advertising your car on AutoTrader (free for basic adverts)
  • Advertising your car on GumTree
  • Placing a ‘for sale’ advert in local shop windows

Some of the paid options for advertising your car privately include:

  • Premium advert on AutoTrader
  • Car auction sites such as eBay and eBid
  • Classified ad in a local newspaper

What to include in a car advert

You’ll need to put careful consideration into the advertisement that you create for your car. After all, the advert will hopefully be attracting buyers to come and view your car.

However, it’s also important to note that you are required by law to describe the car accurately in your advertisement. This means including details such as:

  • Make and model
  • Age (year of manufacture and registration identifier)
  • Mileage
  • Colour
  • Condition
  • Service history
  • Features and equipment

How to take payment for a private car sale

Once you have agreed a sale with a buyer and negotiated the price, you will need to discuss how payment will be made. There are a few different ways to take payment, with some options safer than others.

Cash payment

Some buyers will ask to pay cash in full. You’ll need to make sure that you count the money to ensure that you are paid the right amount.

The best way to ensure that you aren’t being scammed is to arrange to meet the buyer at the bank to take payment. This will mean that you can pay in the money immediately, ensuring that you have been given the right amount and that the notes you’ve been given are genuine.

Bank transfer

A bank transfer is the most common way to make payment for a private car sale. However, it’s important that you don’t hand over the keys until you can see the funds in your account.

It’s also important to note that you’ll need to provide your bank details to the buyer to use this method of payment, so consider whether this is something that you are happy to do. 

Cheque or banker’s draft

Many buyers will ask to pay for a private car sale through cheque or banker’s draft. However, it’s important to note that whilst most buyers are genuine, this is a common way for scams to occur.

Before accepting a cheque as payment, ask for proof of your buyer’s name and address. This could be through their driving license or a utility bill. Ensuring that you have the correct address for them will mean that you can follow up if anything goes wrong with the payment.

Many fraudsters will present a cheque and then ask bank to confirm that the cheque has been paid in. However, being paid in does not mean that the cheque will clear – this usually takes a few more days. If you hand over the keys before the cheque clears, you’re at risk of losing out if the cheque bounces.

If you have any doubts about the buyer, don’t hand over the keys until the full payment has cleared into your bank account.

An alternative to private car sales

There’s no doubt that a private car sale is usually the best way to get the highest possible price for your car. However, it also comes with a lot of hassle, from the time spent creating an advertisement, to the organisation of viewings and test drives and the risk of being scammed during payment.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was another way to sell your car, which would allow you to secure a higher price than a trade in but without the hassle of selling privately?

We’ve got the answer.

Sell your car to Any Colour Car

If you want to avoid the hassle of a private car sale, but still secure a great price for your car, we are here to help. We will buy your car from you, with no haggling required.

At Any Colour Car, we pride ourselves with being honest and transparent with our pricing. We’re in the market of buying used cars, so we fully expect your car to be used. We aren’t phased by a few scuffs or scratches and we will always do our best to maintain the price we’ve quoted unless you’ve got some significant damage.

We will give you an honest and upfront price for your car, and then collect it from your doorstep. You don’t even have to leave your home – it really is hassle free.

If you’re ready to discover how much your car is worth, take the first step to selling your car from home by contacting Any Colour Car today for a no-obligation quote.


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