How To Sell A Car Privately: You Need This Checklist

old american car in vintage style

So you’ve decided to sell your car privately. It typically means a higher sale price, often up to 10–20% higher than a dealer, and it’s also a lot easier to sell a car than it used to be… However, there are certainly some extra steps you need to take to get the maximum price in the fastest time.
To help you navigate the process we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to sell a car privately as simply as possible.

1. Prepare Your Car For Sale – Maximise Your Car’s Value
– Make sure your services are up to date
– Perform any known repairs
– Replace worn tyres
– Fix any scratches or dings
– Do a maintenance onceover
– Clean out and detail your car

The only exception is where the costs to fix up your car outweigh what your car is actually worth. If this is the case, you’re better off dropping your asking price and taking whatever you can.

2. Obtain a REVS Check – Know What Your Car is Worth
A REVS check helps compare your car with similar cars on the market and recent sales. It will show you where your car sits on a price scale as well as information on any current finance on the vehicle, whether it has ever been stolen and any insurance claims. A buyer is likely to request a REVS check or conduct their own anyway. If your car presents well, it’s worth using it as a sales tool when potential buyers first call.

3. Research Current Online Sales to Determine Your Asking Price

You can go one step further than your REVS check and find comparable cars currently for sale in your area. The less common your car and the more remote your location, the more likely you’ll have to drop your asking price to get a sale. Check out comparable cars for both the asking price and how long they’ve been on the market. If they’ve been on the market for more than a few weeks, you know there is not enough interest at that price, so you will need to ensure your car is either cheaper, or stands out in terms of features, condition or kilometres.

4. Get A Vehicle Inspection Report

Any savvy buyer will request a vehicle inspection report (or also called a road worthy certificate) of your car. If you have done the legwork and worn the cost already, then this is a great selling tool, particularly if the report will be favourable.

5. Put An Ad Online
Want to know how to sell a car privately – you need an ad online! We prefer carsales.com.au – it’s the most expensive but also the easiest and most widely used car selling site in Australia.

When placing your ad you need to remember that this is a marketing exercise and your car will be competing with loads of others. Good photos are essential and ensure you don’t forget to take photos of the selling points you want to highlight such as sunroof, GPS or alloy wheels.

6. Place Signage on Your Car and Leave It In A Busy Place for Maximum Exposure

For even more exposure you can let drivers-by know your car is for sale by placing a ‘For Sale’ sign on your car. Sites such as carsales.com.au provide a ‘For Sale’ window sticker or a simple homemade sign works just as well. Just remember to add your phone number and asking price.
You can go one step further and park your car in a high traffic area (once the sign is on, of course). The more exposure your car has the quicker you’ll sell your car.

7. Have The Paperwork Ready
When you have a buyer ready to go you’ll need the following items at the ready:
– Your car’s registration papers
– All keys, including ignition, glove box, boot and alarm
– The logbook and owner’s manual
– Instructions for working and deactivating any alarm (if applicable – found in owner’s manual)
– Radio security number (if applicable – found in owner’s manual)

8. Get Ready For The Phone Calls… And Questions!
Ideally, once you place your ad your phone will start to ring. It’s a good idea to be clear on answers to the common questions so you’re ready to go. Things like…
– How many kilometres?
– How many owners?
– How many accidents and what was the extent of the damage?
– Are there any dents or scratches?
– Is the price negotiable? (Try not to pull out your final price until the buyer has seen the car)
– What added extras does it have (alloy wheels, larger wheels, GPS, sunroof, bluetooth, leather seats, cruise control, etc.)?
– When does the registration expire?
– What is your reason for selling?
– When can they see the car?

9. Time To Show Off Your Car
The moment of truth is having someone turn up and drive your car. This is the moment when the first impression of your car could mean the difference between a sale or no sale, or negotiating the price you want.
– Make sure your car is clean and ready to view
– Have someone with you, many buyers will bring a second person with them, try make sure you’re not outnumbered
– Know your selling points
– Obtain a copy of the viewers driver’s license or write the details down before they take your car for a road test
– Ensure someone you trust accompanies the buyer on the road test
– Check that test drives are covered by your insurance
– Have your paperwork ready for them to view

10. Negotiating The Final Price
It’s not uncommon for many people to ‘test’ an offer and start with something much lower than you would expect. Be prepared to again highlight the key selling points of the car and stick to your lowest final price.

11. Finalise The Sale – Paperwork
Once all payments are made it’s time to hand over your precious car along with its paperwork. The buyer will then need to transfer the car into their name within 14 days at their local motor registry.

Need to get your car serviced or repaired before selling?  Find your nearest Blue Toro mechanic and get a free quote now.


About the author Janelle Gonzalez is the owner of Blue Toro, Australia’s first national mobile mechanic franchise, one of the fastest growing automotive repair businesses in the country. She is an advocate for the hard-working mechanics who want an ethical and profitable way to better support their families. Her mission is to disrupt the automotive repair industry by exposing the rip-offs and returning to old-fashioned service values that car owners want.

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