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How to sell your car in 2016

By raccars Published

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Tips and advice on how to sell your car quickly and easily in a crowded 2016 market. Visit our sell my car for free page to get started.

Selling your car can be a frustrating and tedious business. Sometimes your car seems to hang around and no-one shows any interest. At other times you make appointments with time wasters who don't show up to a planned viewing, and you may even be forced to drop the price far below what you hoped for just to get rid of it. However it doesn't have to be this stressful, as there are some basic guidelines you can follow to make sure that you secure the right deal in a timely and hassle free manner.

To sell your car, you have to make it appeal to buyers - it's that simple. Setting the correct price is critical. Too high and no-one will be interested; too low and people will assume there's something wrong with it. And the longer your car languishes in the classified ads, the more depreciation is taking a bite out of its value.

Find the right price at which to sell your car

Setting the right sale price is not an exact science but some research should help you find the answer. Firstly, you need to understand that there are three different ways of pricing a car: the part exchange price, the retail price and the private sale price. The difference between these prices can reach a couple of thousand pounds or more, depending on how much your car is worth.

The trade-in price is the lowest and reflects the fact that a dealer who takes your car in part exchange will need to make some profit on it and offer a warranty when he or she sells it later. The retail price is what someone would pay to buy your car from a dealer and the private sale price is usually somewhere between the two.

For example if a dealer offers you £10,000 as a part exchange price on your car, they would probably then offer it at a retail price of £12,000. A private sale price for the same car would be about £10,700 - £11,000.

Look for your car on sale at dealerships and through private sales to work out what people are prepared to pay. You can also use valuation tools found online, which take age, mileage and condition into account to give you a price range. There are websites which offer to buy any car but the price they offer is almost invariably the lowest of the lot, which can be useful for working out where the bottom end of the market is.

Be honest about condition

You need to be realistic about the condition of your car and set the price higher or lower accordingly. If there are lots of small bumps and scratches, stains on the upholstery and missing switchgear then you will need to discount. Mechanical faults should either be repaired or you must set the price to take the cost of repairs into account - and be honest about this with buyers.

It's an unfortunate economic fact but those expensive options you added when buying your car new will make relatively little difference to its resale price some years later. Buyers tend to be most interested in leather seats, xenon headlamps, built-in satellite navigation and Bluetooth, so do mention these in your ad when you are trying to sell.

Get your paperwork in order

Keep all your service and maintenance records in chronological order and mention them when selling as buyers will be interested in knowing that the car has been well looked after. A full service history can add significant value. Consider also obtaining a seller's report such as the RAC Car Passport. This assures buyers that there is no outstanding finance on the car and provides them with valuable information on its history, running costs and a 'What Car?' model review.

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