Selling a Car Privately

Selling your car privately can be a long process. You may get interest in your vehicle, but you need to be prepared for interested buyers failing to show, and for haggling. Our research has shown that it can take on average 34.5 days to sell a car privately, whereas with you can sell your car in 3 simple steps with no stress and a guaranteed price. You can get a free valuation today by entering your registration below.


How to sell your car privately


Selling your car privately may result in achieving the best price for your vehicle, but that will generally come at the expense of time, hassle and no guarantee that the car will actually sell.

There are various ways to privately sell a car, with the most popular being through an online listing. To create an online listing you will likely need to pay for the listing, which varies depending on the website. You will then need to take high-quality pictures to accompany your listing and create a detailed description detailing any faults with the car. If somebody is interested in the car, you will need to ensure you’re flexible and available for appointments as most people will want to see the car before buying.

Another way to sell your car privately is through an auction. The same process applies where you may need to pay to enter the auction and a percentage of the final sale fee. However, if you do choose to sell through auction, it is worth considering you may not get the price you desired.

A more old fashioned method of selling your car would be to put a sign in the window, however the number of people who will see the car is available will be limited. As such, it is likely to take considerably longer to sell the car, and it might not sell at all. Furthermore, if your vehicle is displaying a ‘for sale’ sign on a public road, or privately owned land, you could be in breach of local bylaws.


What paperwork will I need?


Once you have sold the car to the buyer, you will need to ensure you write two receipts – one for you and one for the buyer. This should include as much information as possible including the date, sale price, registration plate, model and the names of the parties involved.

Documents you will need include V5C, log book, MOT certificates and service history documents. Once you have agreed the sale you will need to notify the DVLA that you’ve sold the car and transfer over the ownership. Once that’s been confirmed you can hand over all documentation to the buyer and walk away from the car. It is recommended that you don’t allow the buyer to take photos of any documentation until this point.


How to stay safe


Opting to sell your car privately has some risk involved, therefore it is essential to minimise your risk and remain safe. Ultimately, selling privately will result in meeting strangers who will view the car. To minimise the risk involved we would suggest having a friend or family member present at all viewings and arrange the viewing in a public place rather than your home. However, it is likely that perspective buyers will want to see the vehicle at your home address as this provides confidence they’re buying from the registered keeper of the vehicle.

It is common during a viewing that the potential buyer will want to test drive the vehicle, and it makes sense to take some precautions when letting a stranger drive your vehicle. Before allowing anybody to drive the vehicle you should check that they have a valid driving licence and that their insurance covers them to drive a vehicle that isn’t on their policy. We would also recommend not leaving the potential buyer alone in the vehicle with the keys in the ignition.

If you decide to sell the vehicle, it is important to ensure you receive the money before allowing the buyer to leave with your car. Where the buyer wants to pay cash for the vehicle you can minimise the risks by meeting at a bank and get the cashier to check the notes are genuine. Alternatively, you could get the buyer to transfer the money into your bank account, and ensure the funds are available before handing over the car.


Top tips for selling your car privately

  • Be realistic

    You can use our free car valuation tool to input the details of your car and get a free realistic valuation. Remember to consider your cars age, mileage and condition to ensure you get an accurate price.

  • The buyer will haggle

    Be prepared for potential buyers to try to knock down the price and take this into account when setting your resale price.

  • The test drive

    Always check the potential buyer has a driver’s licence, is insured for the test drive and never let them go alone!

  • The keys!

    Don’t leave the potential buyer alone with the keys in the ignition- we don’t need to explain why!

  • Safety first

    Never meet a potential buyer alone- ask someone to come with you and meet at a place familiar to you, for example, your home.

  • Proof of identity

    Always ask the buyer for proof of identity- just to be on the safe side.

  • Paying with cash

    Cash should be handed to you in a bank, so that the notes can be checked for forgeries and so that you can receive the payment immediately.

  • Cheques

    The cheque could be forged or stolen, so NEVER let a buyer take the car until the funds have reached your bank.

  • Online bank transfers

    This is possibly the safest option, however again ensure that the funds are in your bank before the buyer takes the car.

  • Stick to your guns

    Don’t under value your car! Buyers will haggle, so have your lowest price in mind and stick to it. If you think selling your car privately sounds like too much hassle, do it the quick and easy way with Enter your reg for your free online valuation today.


Sell your car the easier way


You can avoid the hassle of a private sale by selling quickly and easily to We have over 350 branches across the UK, meaning you can sell your car to us in under 60 minutes. Simply enter your registration plate into our online tool and get a valuation in under 60 seconds.


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