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Guide to selling your car for cash

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If you need to unlock the value of your car through a quick sale, there are various options available to you. This guide will run through the different sales venues available, as well as guiding you through the sales process and give you hints at how to maximise the value of your car.

Before you decide on a sales venue the first thing to do is ensure that your car is suitable for sale. This means getting all the required paperwork together and doing essential repairs to your car. You’ll also need to give your car a good clean. A squeaky-clean interior and exterior can make a major positive psychological impact on potential buyers and thus increase the likelihood of a quick sale.

Valuing your Car

Knowing the true value of your car can really help when it comes to getting a quick sale without being short changed. There are many sites offering car valuation services, some of the best and longest established are CAP, Parkers and Glass's. These sites make money through providing valuations, but you can still get a lot of information about the worth of your car from them for free. Bear in mind that a quick sale will mean you'll have to price for the lower end of the valuation range, or perhaps even under the low valuation if the condition of your car is quite poor.

If you plan to sell your car down through an online car buyer, then the best way to find its value is to simply use their site to get a quote. These quotes are almost always no-obligations and give you an accurate picture of how much you'll get for your car from the service. If you quote with damage to your car that you later repair, you can always re-quote and get a higher price when the repair is complete. Similarly, if you plan to sell using eBay auctions, then one of the best ways of assessing value is to see what similar cars are selling for. You can use the Watch List feature to follow auctions of similar vehicles and see what they sell for.

Where to Sell Your Car for Cash Quickly

Online buyers: Online buyers will usually be the fastest way of releasing cash from your car. They'll provide a quick quotation then arrange a meet up to sell your car, often the same or next day at a location near you. The trade off for selling your car so quickly is that the price you'll get will usually be lower than in a private sale, but often it will be higher than a part exchange or selling to a local dealership.

Private Sale: You'll get the highest price selling this way, but it's unlikely you'll be able to sell your car particularly fast even if you price below market value. Popular vehicles may sell quickly, but more obscure car models or unpopular colours will likely take several weeks to sell. The best place to advertise your car for private sale is AutoTrader or Motors.co.uk. This doesn't come cheap, but the cost of advertising here can be much less than the added value you'll get through a private sale. Writing a good advert and taking many good photos is key to getting a good sale, as it answering emails quickly and picking up the phone when potential buyers get in touch.

Online Auctions: eBay is the go to place for online auctions. You can set a low reserve if you want to ensure your car sells, although there's no guarantee that the right buyers will be looking for your car when you list. eBay Motors works a little differently than their main site and you will likely have to allow potential buyers to view your car in person before bidding, like in a private sale. You can still sell your car quickly, but it won't be as quick as a real life auction or selling to a dealer.

'Real Life' Auctions: Car auctions can be a great way of selling your car quickly. The price you'll get really depends on the presence of buyers who want your car, but in many cases you'll get a better deal doing this than through a part exchange. Indeed, many of the vehicles for sale come from dealerships that have purchased them as part of part exchange deal and are looking to get a quick return. If you're looking for a quick sale, you need to check there's an auction in your local area coming up soon that accepts vehicles from individual sellers.

'Real Life' Dealerships: This is possibly the quickest way of selling your car, but it's likely to get you the lowest price. When you drive into a dealership they know they have a motivated seller and will therefore give you a lowball offer for your car, hoping you'll accept it rather than shopping around. You can haggle, but you're still likely to get a lower price here than other venues as dealerships have high staff and rental overheads to cover.

The Process of Selling – How to Sell Your Car for Cash

If you've got any financing on your car you need to clear this before you are legally able to sell it. Some creditors may keep your logbook so you won't be able to sell until you get this back from them. Even if you have this, you need to pay off the loan prior to selling. If you're unable to do this, they may offer you another loan that isn't secured against your car as an alternative. Alternatively consider getting a credit card with an interest free initial period and use it to pay off your financing.

If you've agreed a sale, you'll need to do a little bit more than handing over the keys. The buyer will also need to be given the car's logbook or V5C document. This document establishes the car ownership. You'll need to fill in a slip at the bottom of this and send it to the DVLA for the buyer - don't delay in doing this as until they receive it you are still responsible for the car legally.

The buyer will also want documentation about the car's service history, and you'll want to ensure that any handbooks or other documents that came with the car are passed on to them. Don't sell the vehicle without both the buyer and seller having a copy of a signed receipt and contract of sale. Samples of both can be found online to save you the hassle of drawing up an original one.

Don't forget to remove your road tax disc from the car as you can send this back for a partial refund, enabling you to get more cash from the sale of your vehicle. The new owner will have to buy their own road tax anyway so there's no benefit to them in keeping the disc.

If you're selling privately ensure that you are paid in cash before handing over the keys to the car. Cheques and banker's drafts can bounce and you should only accept them if you only hand over the car once they've fully cleared. Other sales venues such as online dealerships and auction houses will send payment after you've given them the vehicle. Here it's standard practice and nothing to be worried about.

Selling your car for cash
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