The top things to consider when selling your car privately

Mar 10, 2023 | News


The Flipit Team

If you’ve made your way to this page, you’re most likely considering the prospect of selling your car.

Maybe it’s clocked up the miles over the years with the daily commutes and school runs, and it’s time for something new. Perhaps you’re looking at moving away from petrol and diesel altogether, and joining the electric vehicle revolution. Or, you might have had a change in circumstances and you’re looking for something with a little more (or a little less) space.

Whatever your reasons for thinking about selling, you’ve probably got two things on your mind – getting a reasonable price, and making the process as hassle free as possible.

At Flipit, we provide a simple way for you to sell your car for a reasonable price. We buy any car, regardless of age, make or condition, and we aim to make the process as painless as possible.

But don’t worry – this isn’t going to be a sales pitch. We know you have a wide range of options for selling your car, and you are possibly debating whether you sell to a dealership or car buying service – or opt to sell privately.

In this article, we’re going to run through all the things you need to consider before selling privately – so you can make the choice as to whether it’s right for you.
















Preparing your car for sale

You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

If you’re thinking about selling your car privately, the first thing you need to do is get it ‘sale ready’ for your listing photos and inspections from potential buyers.

The first thing you’ll want to do is have a thorough clean both inside and outside the car. Scrub away the mud from those wheel arches, clear out your personal belongings, and get the vacuum on your carpets and upholstery.

You might also consider repairing minor scratches and dents on your car . You don’t necessarily want to be spending time or money on a car you’re trying to sell – we get it. But even minor imperfections can put some sellers off, or give them ammunition to negotiate on the selling price – so it’s something to carefully consider.

You’ll also want to make sure you can easily access all the documentation you’re likely to need, such as the V5C log book, and service history booklet.
















Pricing your car realistically

Setting a realistic and reasonable price for your car is a real balancing act.

Set it too high compared to other similar vehicles, you’re going to struggle to get interest.

Price it too low, you’ll not only be getting less than your vehicle is worth – you’ll possibly be inundated with emails and calls.

The best tip we would recommend here is to try and put yourself in the mind of a potential car buyer looking for a vehicle meeting your specification.

Jump on ebay, Autotrader and relevant online car dealerships and put in search criteria around your make, model, mileage and age of vehicle. See what comes back. It should give you a broad idea of the price range in which you should try and sell your car.
















Understanding your legal responsibilities

When you sell your car privately, you are legally responsible for making sure you provide an honest and accurate overview of your vehicle.

You also need to make sure that you don’t intentionally misrepresent anything when you answer any questions that buyers may have.

So in any written listings, and any chats with buyers – just be honest, open and transparent and you should be fine.

To give both yourself and your buyer complete peace of mind, it’s a good idea to draw up a clear contract that you exchange at the time of sale. This will typically include things like the mileage of the car and a declaration that the buyer has had a chance to inspect and trial the vehicle, confirming they are happy to purchase it ‘as seen’ without guarantees. The AA has a good template for a car selling contract to save you some time.

That’s as deep as we’re going to go on the topic of legalities in this post, but if you do want to get a more in-depth look at legal aspects of selling a car privately, there’s actually a great article over at DAS Law which covers a lot of the things you need to consider.















Crafting the perfect listing

The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert wordsmith to create an effective listing for selling your car in an online car marketplace.

Most online platforms actually make this process quite straightforward, guiding you through the process and focusing on the things that are most important to buyers – make, model, year, mileage, condition, length on the MOT certificate, and any modifications.

Don’t be tempted to be creative or economical with the facts when you’re putting your listing together. The truth will always come out, either when the buyer comes to take a look at the vehicle, or after they have purchased it – which could leave you in a weak negotiating position, or at worst on the wrong side of the law. .

A picture is worth a thousand words, and photos are really important when you’re looking to sell your car..

There’s a great article over at BH Photo Video that goes through some creative things to consider when taking car listing photos, such as location, lighting, avoiding shadows, and turning your wheels slightly for a more dynamic look.

As a bare minimum, you should be looking to take the following pictures for a successful listing when selling your car online::

  • Side view
  • Front view
  • Front angles (passenger and driver side)
  • Rear view of the car
  • Interior shots
  • Close up of dashboard (with mileage in focus)
  • Boot Space
  • Back Seats

If your car has a full service history, it might also be useful to take a picture of this to offer reassurance to potential buyers.
















Meeting the buyer safely

So you’ve got your car nice and clean, researched the right price, taken some great photos, crafted a great listing, and you’re starting to get a few online enquiries.

This is where you really need to consider your safety – both from a physical and financial perspective.

The internet is great, but it’s far too easy for people to hide behind anonymous usernames online. That’s why it’s a good idea to insist on having a call before you arrange any kind of meeting, and not rely on communication over an online messaging platform.

Having a phone call actually be helpful for both parties when selling your car privately. Not only does it give you the opportunity to get a feeling about whether they are a serious buyer, but it also gives serious buyers the chance to ask questions, and get a sense of reassurance. .

If the telephone conversation goes well and you decide to arrange a viewing of the car, it’s important not to place yourself in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation. One of the best tips we could offer here is to make sure that you control the place that you meet for a viewing of the car. This could be at your home, or it could be in another public place. Don’t be tempted into meeting a potential buyer in a location you’re unfamiliar with.

If any potential buyer asks for a bit of time alone with your car – this is a bit of a red flag. Not everyone is as honest as you . An old ‘trick’ is for potential buyers to try and make small scratches on a car to help them negotiate the price down. So always make sure you’re present when someone is inspecting your car, and if anyone asks to take a test-drive in your car on their own, make your answer a straight ‘no’ – you may never see your car again!

On the topic of test drives, you actually need to be a little bit cautious here, and make sure that you’ve checked the buyer has a valid driving licence and can legally drive your vehicle. You’ll also want to check that they have insurance cover to allow them to drive your car.There are lots of short term insurance apps like Cuvva and Veygo that the buyer is able to use, which are designed for this kind of situation.

If the inspection and any test drive goes well, it’s time to move on to the business side of selling your car – and negotiate on price.

When you’re selling your car privately, it’s highly likely that whoever comes to view your car is going to try and negotiate with you on the price of your vehicle. It’s just part of the process. Only you can decide how much you’re willing to negotiate, but a good idea is make a mental note of the lowest price you’re willing beforehand – so you know when to stand firm.















Staying on the right side of payments and paperwork

The car viewing has gone well, you’ve agreed on the price. Now you just need to sort out the payment and paperwork.

This probably goes without saying – but don’t hand over the keys to your car without having a cleared payment from the buyer.

The easiest and most secure way to do this is with an online bank transfer, which are easy to set up using most online banking apps. With ‘faster payments’, the payment can be with you in close to real time depending on the banks involved.

You may be tempted to consider a cash purchase, but only do so if you’re a pro at spotting a fake banknote. And try to avoid any purchases via cheque (or only hand over the keys to your car once the cheque has cleared) to make sure you’re sufficiently protected.

When you’re selling your car, you’ll also need to transfer the ownership of the vehicle with the DVLA. The traditional way of doing this was to complete the relevant section of your V5C log book and send it to the DVLA by post. The process has now become a lot easier, with an online service that allows you to go through and transfer the ownership, with the new owner of your car getting a new V5C through the post within 4-5 days.

Once you’ve been through the transfer of ownership, it’s time to complete your car sellers contract, which documents all the important details of the car, the price you’ve agreed, and confirms the buyer is purchasing the vehicle ‘as seen’ and without guarantee.

Flipit: an easier way to sell your car.

We pride ourselves on transparency here at Flipit, so we’re going to try and put a balanced spin on things.

There are benefits to selling your car privately – the main one being that you might get more money for it than if you chose to sell to a dealership or a car buying service. Especially if you’ve made any modifications to your car, you might find that private buyers are more interested in this than a dealership or car buying service, and are willing to pay a little more than market value.

But, selling your car privately is not a simple process.

There’s a lot of things you need to take into account, from getting your car prepared for sale, making sure you’re comfortable with your legal responsibilities, taking photos of your car from various different angles, researching a realistic price, writing a listing description, deciding where to list it, meeting buyers, sitting through a test drive, negotiating on price and sorting out the paperwork.

Phew. We’re tired just writing it all down.

If you’re looking for a simpler way to sell your car, consider Flipit. We have a simple, hassle-free process and promise you a fair valuation for your car.

You can find out how much your car is worth today by entering your details in our handy online tool. If it’s a valuation you’re happy with, our team will arrange a visit to your home to inspect your vehicle, complete the necessary paperwork, and make sure the agreed amount is in your bank account before we leave with your car.

It really is that simple.

So why not save yourself all the time and hassle of selling your car privately, and find out how much your car could be worth with Flipit?