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The KwikGuide to selling a used car
introductionPart 1: Preparing
where to sellwhere to advertisewhat's it worth?writing the advert
preparing the car
Part 2: The Sale
taking callsshowing the cardoing the dealback to the guides index



























selling a used car

The three most common ways to sell a car are: privately (direct to another individual), part exchange it at a dealer for a car on their forecourt, or enter it in an auction.

Whichever you choose, watch your timing. Avoid the winter months as Christmas ties up people's cash and the prospect of inspecting cars in the cold and wet rarely appeals. Especially if you're trying to sell a convertible!

KwikTip: always get a car insurance quote from Direct Line too,
as they don't take part in the price comparison websites.

Also try to avoid selling during the months of March and September. These are the two biggest months for buying new cars, causing the used car market to be flooded with cars taken in part exchange. With more choice out there, selling is harder, dealers don't want more part exchanges and the price you get won't be as good.

Selling privately will usually get you the most cash for your car. But it's also the hardest work. Even if you do all the right things, it might take several weeks. All a bit awkward if you've already spotted the car of your dreams and you need cash-in-hand to buy it. You'll have to think about advertising the car and have some spare time to take calls and show it to potential buyers.

Part exchanging your car at the dealer that you're buying your next car from will only get you the 'trade' price for your car. That's always a lot less than what you'd get for it if you sell it privately - anything from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. That lower value will be set against a retail price for the car you're buying which will already have a bit extra added to cover part exchanges. But driving in with your old car and out with the new - coupled with the reassurance of dealer facilities like a warranty - certainly makes this option quick and convenient.

If your car isn't worth much at all and you're after something nearly new, search out dealers offering a minimum part exchange value. Often these are the big car supermarkets, which operate on the 'pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap' idea. You might find you can get much more than your car's worth. But do make sure that the car you're looking to buy is competitively priced, and not inflated to cover this apparantly generous deal.

Selling at auction is a good way to go if you want a quick sale for cash in hand, can't get rid of your car any other way or you're not part exchanging but you'd still prefer no involvement in selling the car.

For a typical car, unless you get lucky and a dealer has an order for a car like yours, you'll get the trade price or probably less. Plus you'll have to pay an entry fee and/or commission to the auction house. It's a lottery - what you'll get depends very much on who happens to be at the auction on the day. If there's plenty of interest you might do well, but if not you can protect yourself by setting a reserve - the minimum price you'll accept. Though you'll still have to pay the entry fee even if it doesn't sell.

However, consider auctions more seriously if you have a classic, unusual or sought-after car to sell. As auctions increase in popularity, look out for specialist sales - eg. for Japanese, American or classic cars. Attended by enthusiasts, you may stand a better chance of selling your car, even of getting a decent price, than you would through local advertising.

Finally, a slightly different idea. If you have a mid-priced car to sell, consider asking a local dealer to put it on their forecourt for a cut of the sale price (but not so big a cut as to take it down to the trade price, or you might as well just part-exchange it!). The dealer should cut you a better deal because their benefit is stock with no cash tied up in it and no hassle for them if it doesn't sell. And you collect a reasonable price somewhere between trade and retail while letting the dealer do the work.

selling a car: where to advertise >>


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