There are a few ways you can make the difficult business of selling your car yourself slightly easier – and ideally more profitable.
1. Clean up to cash in: You can charge more if your car is thoroughly cleaned and has had an overhaul. “Usually, that investment pays for itself, ” says Marcel Muehlich of the Auto Club Europa (ACE).
You’ll also want to make sure you’re well informed about the current state of the car in terms of technology and that you have all the necessary papers, which may include vehicle registration, purchase paperwork and test certificates, says Johannes Boos of Germany’s ADAC, Europe’s biggest car club.
2. Take decent photos: Your car will look best if you take a picture in the morning or the evening. Squatting to take the picture will make the vehicle look even more dynamic.
Photos should be used to illustrate that the car doesn’t have any damage, while also noting any flaws.
Good quality images are essential, taken from all angles showing an empty, clean interior and key features, says Jochen Kurz who works for a car sales platform in Germany. It’s better if the photo doesn’t have too much going on in the background, rather than if you take a picture in a busy street.
3. Write a short, neutral description of the car: Include the exact model name, the year it was made, the mileage and type of engine, plus any special features like a trailer hitch or sunroof, and accessories such as tyres or a roof rack, says Boos.
You also need to include any shortcomings, details of accidents and how many previous owners the vehicle has had. These details need to be right as they will become part of the purchasing contract. That applies if there are any mistakes in the ad that aren’t explicitly corrected in the contract, too.
4. Price: Before selling, it’s essential you check car sales platforms for comparable models to help you identify a realistic price. Referring to these prices will also help you when bargaining.
5. Online ads: You can increase the number potential buyers if you place an ad on several online platforms, from eBay to message boards and car sales websites.
6. Be careful with your contact details: If you don’t want phone calls at 5am, only put your email address, not your number.
7. Negotiating the price: Non-serious buyers may try to haggle over the price on the phone. More legitimate buyers, on the other hand, will probably ask to look at the car first and then discuss the price.
8. Inspection and test drive: If you bring someone else along for the sale, they can serve as a witness if there’s a disagreement later.
Before the test drive, the person selling the vehicle should check the potential buyer’s driving licence and note down their ID card data or take a photo of it. And, of course, the seller should be in the car, too.
“It also makes sense to discuss the length and period of the test drive in advance and to fill out a “test drive agreement, ” because the test driver is liable for any accidents for which he or she is at fault, ” says Boos. If you have a valuable car, he advises a deposit, too.
Check how much the car is insured for before the test drive, in case the prospective buyer causes an accident.
9. Purchase contract and payment: A purchase contract generally needs to include key data such as the chassis number, mileage, accessories and possible accident damage.
It should also include the seller and buyer’s personal details. If you take a picture of the ID card, that can help with any later problems, as can stating the exact time of the sale. It’s best to look at online car sales platforms for template contracts.
Only hand over the vehicle, registration papers, keys and documents once it has been paid for.
10. De-registration: In some countries, notably parts of Europe, sellers are legally required to notify the the registration office of the sale right away.
The safest way to sell a car is to de-register it beforehand, so the seller is not liable for any accidents that happen before the buyer has registered it. – dpa/tmn