What are the options?

Working out what your car is worth is a vital first step, because you really do need to know so that you can negotiate from a position of strength. There are a couple of ways that you can do this. Firstly look at what similar cars to your own are fetching locally. You must distinguish between a selling price and trade value, which is usually up to 30% less – this is what a dealer will want to pay. There are also some used car value guides on the internet or ones you can buy in the newsagent which have dealer, trade and private values. Remember though that these are only guides and will always be subject to adjustment because of the mileage and condition.

Private sale

Potentially this is the most lucrative way of selling your old car. You won’t get as much as a dealer would, but then you won’t be offering the same facilities or any warranties. What you can offer though is a genuine car, sold by the person who knows everything about it. What you have to be ready for is waiting around for potential buyers to turn up and then be in a position to haggle. If you are not mentally tough or prepared to say no then you should not do this. Indeed if you feel vulnerable about having strangers around your home then make sure a friend or relative is always with you.

Selling to the car trade

In the classified section of every local newspaper and now online there are dozens of dealers and companies seemingly desperate to buy your old car. Problem is they want to pay a ‘trade’ price and even less if they can get away with it. These people are professionals and after the best possible deal for themselves, not you. The advantage is that you get a quick decision and instant cash without the hassle of trying to sell privately. The normal rules apply in that you should clean and prepare the car and have all the documentation ready.

Selling through auction

Just as hassle-free, but again cars are usually sold at ‘trade’ prices. You will also pay an entry fee and a percentage on the sale price. If you are lucky a bidder could possibly pay more than your car’s worth, but don’t bank on it. Unless you set a reserve the car will sell to the highest bidder, but if it fails to reach that reserve you will be liable for fees and have to pay to enter it again.

Scrapping your car

If your car has failed its MOT, or has died mechanically you have the option of scrapping it and getting its basic metal value. However some specialist breakers yards may pay extra for an obscure or rare model. Contact owners’ clubs who may be able to make use of the parts and may take the car away for free, or again they may pay you. Ensure though they will dispose of the car responsibly, that is difficult, but maybe ask for proof (a receipt) that it has been done.

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