Selling your old car: Quickly & safely and at a good price

DriveramaNov 15. 2021

There are many reasons why car owners want to sell their old car. More horsepower, less fuel consumption, space for the family: these are all typical reasons for selling a car to dealers or private individuals. I personally once had to sell an old car because it didn’t match the new colour of my lawn. But that is another story.

Just like me, you probably want to sell your car quickly and get the best possible price. If you’re looking to sell your old car and want some tips on how to do it quickly and get a good price, you’ve come to the right place.

Putting a price tag on it

If I want to sell my old car, of course I and I alone decide the price. My car, my rules! I only allow one small reservation in the small print: the buyer must agree and be prepared to pay the asking price. Constant complainers see the problem here: the price has to fit the car. Since having accepted this, I have been much more successful at selling cars.

It is not difficult to determine the market price for a vehicle. There are countless calculators on the Internet which are ultimately based on the DAT/Schwacke list. Here you simply enter the make, model, date of first registration, mileage, equipment and some other information about the condition of the car. A value is then determined automatically and quite reliably. This value is the starting point for the process of selling your car.

Prepare the vehicle documents

From the cradle to the grave: forms, forms and more forms! In a way, this also applies to cars. When you sell your old car, you have to compile all the necessary vehicle documents.

You will need the vehicle registration certificate part I+II (formerly known as the registration book and title deed), the test certificate from the last general inspection and the service booklet. The registration certificate is also an important document.

I always collect all of the invoices and certificates relating to the car from day one. These include invoices for maintenance and repairs, warranty certificates and reports on modifications to the car, as well as acceptance reports. With all these documents, I give my car a CV which should make it easier for the buyer.

Building trust with the buyer: The VIN report

If you want to sell your car quickly and get a good price, the buyer’s confidence is a crucial factor. If you can convince the buyer of the history of your car, they will be willing to buy it.

I always try to put myself in the buyer’s shoes. They may, for example, be afraid of getting ripped off [link]. Has the car been involved in an accident and is the mileage authentic? Buyers almost always ask themselves these and similar questions. You provide the answers!

And now the VIN report comes into play. VIN stands for Vehicle Identification Number, also known as the chassis number. This is a unique identification number for vehicles. The VIN cannot easily be forged, even by shrewd crooks.

With the VIN report, the buyer can see all of the essential information about the history of your old car with a single click. You can for example obtain a VIN report from carVertikal.

Inner values are not everything!

If you want to sell your old car, you have to offer it for sale. Of course, you could come up with a catchy slogan or apply for product placement in the next Bruce Willis film. But trust me: Visual appearance is the decisive factor.

The eye gets in on the action! A car is not just a collection of descriptions of the condition and counters showing wear and tear. When the potential buyer sees the car, they must want to open the door and get in!

The best way to achieve this is through a polished visual appearance. You don’t have to invest a lot of time. Before I can sell my old car with a clear conscience, I drive it through a car wash and clean the interior. Cleaning the interior doesn't (just) mean emptying the ashtray. It means vacuuming, cleaning the windows from the inside and cleaning all the shelves and surfaces.

Watch out for a few no-goes. Nothing frightens off a potential buyer more reliably and quickly than the lingering smell of stale cigarette smoke. Special sprays and ozone treatments are available to combat this problem and remove bad odours.

Also have a look at the paintwork and clean up any minor damage. Here too, you can achieve a lot with just a little effort.

The MOT sticker is also one of the formalities which needs to be addressed. If this poses a risk for the potential buyer as it is about to expire, you can bring forward the general inspection. This gives the buyer additional security - and you can count on a better price

A well photographed car means it is at least halfway to being sold

After I have prepared the paperwork, spruced up the car and prepared the VIN report, I take photos. Why do I go to all this trouble? The answer is: The power of pictures should never be underestimated. If you want to sell your old car, you should showcase it, the way you last did for yourself at your wedding.

I think I earned the highest hourly wage of my life by skilfully photographing my used cars. The “extra” you get in sales revenue is well worth the effort.

Put yourself in the potential buyer’s shoes: they go through numerous advertisements and lists on the internet, etc. The offers with a really eye-catching photo naturally attract much more attention.

The photos do not directly determine that a sale will be made, but they do have an impact on the number of potential buyers who show up for a viewing.

Selling an old car: Privately or to a dealer?

When selling your used car, you can choose either to sell it to a dealer or to sell it to a private individual. What’s the difference?

Selling to a private person

If the price is the most important thing for me, it is best to opt for a private sale. This is where you can get the best prices. You can find potential buyers for your used car via eBay classified ads and similar platforms. An appointment is then made to view the car. Always offer interested parties a test drive.

A tip with regard to registration: In principle, you can sell your vehicle registered. When the contract is signed, the insurance is transferred to the buyer. If the buyer has an accident, this will not jeopardise the no-claims bonus you have accumulated.

However, you do have to inform the insurance company and the registration office about the sale. I personally recommend that you deregister the vehicle before selling it. If you want to sell your car registered, you must have proof of purchase.

Trade-in with a dealer

If I want to sell my old car and buy a new one straight away, I first ask a dealer. The dealer may show some gratitude for the fact that I am buying a new car and take my old car in part exchange - as a sort of dowry for the new car, so to speak.

The purchase price or the trade-in value is usually somewhat lower than that achieved in the case of sale to a private individual. But in return for this, the effort you have to make is particularly low - after all, the dealer has to sell the old car afterwards, while I am already enjoying my new one. However, if you find a fair dealer like me who doesn’t want to rip you off, you can count on the fairest possible price, transparency and a quick transaction. 

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Germany HQ:

Driverama Germany GmbH

Maximilianstraße 13

80539 München

We are member of AURES Holdings