Selling your four-wheeled friend privately can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Our simple strategies help you get the best price possible without wasting endless weekends waiting for would-be buyers to show up.

When you’re selling your car, it pays to remember you’re pitting yourself against car dealers. Play them at their own game with our ten tips to pocket a great price in turbo-charged time.

1. Know how to value your car

Chances are, you love your car. But when it comes to sale time it’s important to take off the rose-tinted glasses and understand how to accurately value your car. A useful starting point is an online valuation from RedBook, which will cost around $33. 

You can also check the value with a simple call to a car dealer or a business that buys cars. They might just give you a sweet deal which is worth taking, but also they may just let you know a starting point. 

2. Research other models for the selling price

There’s no shortage of online car selling sites that can give you a fair idea of a suitable sale price. Remember, the price you see advertised is the asking price only. It’s not necessarily what buyers are willing to pay.

3. Post a realistic value

Setting a realistic value for your car can be the key to securing a prompt sale. Set the price too high and it could take a long time to get a nibble of interest from buyers. Go too low, and you’re cutting yourself short, especially if you have put on a few extra accessories, upgraded wheels or had it resprayed. 

Check out what your make and model is being advertised for, but make an honest assessment of your car’s wear and tear. Buyers will expect dents and scrapes to be reflected in a more affordable price.

Don’t forget costs associated with servicing, registration and obtaining a roadworthy certificate. If your rego is about to run out, it might be worth renewing it prior to the sale to sweeten the deal and make your car their first choice.

4. Clean your car

Some people love to scrub, polish and vacuum their cars on the regular, but if it’s not for you then perhaps give the kids some extra pocket money to do the dirty work for you. 

Not only should the car gleam from inside out, make sure you do the little extras that people may notice such as removing leaves out of the scuttle of the windscreen or those little nooks between the boot lid and the rear quarter panels. No one wants to meet their complimentary eight-legged friend when going for a test drive!

If it’s looking a little worse for wear or the job is a tad big for your little helpers, consider professional detailing. This can cost up to $500, but steam-cleaned upholstery and a full wax job can be a worthwhile investment when you’re sprucing a car for sale. Your car should look like it has never been through a drive-thru, off-road or been uncared for!

5. Take good pictures

As long as you have a reasonably good phone with a camera, it shouldn't be too hard to get a clear image of your statuesque people mover. 

Pick a great spot to showcase your car, preferably somewhere out in the open with contrasting background colours that make your car stand out. 

Take photos with the sun behind you, and look for angles that bring out the best features – a spotless interior, a glossy paint job, or custom rims. Don't be afraid to crouch down for those front-end shots to emphasize your car’s design features, we won't judge!

Always take photos in daylight, just after sunrise or before sunset make a great colour palette, but true colours are most likely to be shown in normal daylight. Just remember to skip the flash if you are using your phone. The light will be too harsh. 

6. Promoting your car

Thousands of used cars are sold across Australia each year. Your job is to write a sales pitch that helps your car stand out from the competition. 

Highlight any special features – low mileage, any remaining factory warranty, or maybe that you’ve been the sole owner and have a full service history. Be honest about the car’s condition though. If it has a few blemishes, be upfront. That way buyers can’t say your ad was misleading.

7. Make yourself easily contactable

Few things turn a buyer off faster than not being able to get in touch with you. Make yourself as contactable as possible by providing contact numbers for work, home and after hours.

If you are unable to be contacted during the day, make sure you let your buyers know that! Give them an alternative contact method or suggest the best times to get in touch.

It is also good to be prompt with your replies. Always write back to messages and definitely don't read them unless you have time to reply. A lot of phones will let you know if a message has been opened and there is nothing worse than an opened message which has been ignored, even if it's only for a few hours. 

Sometimes we make mistakes when it comes to communication over-the-phone or online, but definitely don't be tardy when it comes to meeting up. You need to be reliable and on-time otherwise the sale most likely won't go too smoothly with the potential buyer.

8. Have all paperwork ready

Gathering the paperwork you need before you find a buyer can save time – and reduce the risk of a buyer backing out because of a drawn out sale process. 

The most important document is your car’s certificate of registration. It doesn’t just show the car is roadworthy, it proves you are the owner. Copies of personal ID like your driver’s licence will show your details match the rego papers. 

Dust off your car’s service history and owner’s manual. If the car has been subject to a recall, have evidence that the recall has been complied with. 

Arranging a report from the Personal Properties Securities Register (PPSR, formerly REVs check), can give a buyer confidence that they’re dealing with an honest seller with nothing to hide.

9. Allow your car to be test driven

Prospective buyers will want a test drive. But letting a complete stranger get behind the wheel of your car involves a leap of faith. 

Before listing your car for sale, check with your insurance company that you’re covered if a buyer has a prang when they’re behind the wheel.

Always accompany the buyer when they’re taking a test drive. This may be a condition of your insurance, but it’s also common sense. After all, even the nicest person could be a crook. 

Importantly, take a photo of the buyer’s drivers licence before they get behind the wheel. Check the expiry date and photo. This lets you know they are licensed. If they’re not, you could void your insurance cover.

10. Be prepared to haggle

It’s worth having some wiggle room in your selling price to allow for negotiations. Don’t be afraid to knock back ridiculously low offers – particularly if you’ve only just listed the car for sale. 

On the flipside, be flexible. Buyers who identify problems that will cost money to fix, like heavily worn tyres, have strong grounds to ask for a discount. 

Both agreed on a final price? Take a deposit so the buyer can be excited about their new car and you can be secure about the sale of your old one. 

11. List your car online

These days, nearly everyone is online, so people are scrolling more than ever. To give you the best chance of selling your car quickly, seek out the best places to list your firebird online, and there are plenty of them. 

The great thing about listing it online is that you will see all of your competitors in the same place. You can find out where you rank in terms of price, mileage and features. If you are one of the lesser valued in the ranking, you will definitely get a quicker sale.

Some sites do charge a fee or commission so definitely do your research before you lock in any details with them. Don't forget to also check out sites that charge little to no fees for sellers such as Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. And whilst some options make be for the youngins, just keep in mind that they are probably the ones looking for a first car or upgrading to a family vehicle, so they might just be your perfect target market. 

12. Decide payment options

When you’ve found a buyer, it’s time to think about how you want to be paid. Regardless of the method you choose, draw up a written sales agreement noting the price and any terms in writing (remember when your parents told you to read EVERYTHING before you sign). Make a copy for yourself and one for the buyer, and have each copy signed by both parties.

  • Cash: The folding stuff can be king when it comes to selling your car. The only drawback is that it leaves you sitting on a lump sum of cash. That can mean resisting the urge to splurge, or taking a very careful trip to the bank account to deposit the proceeds.

  • Direct bank transfer/Paypal: The beauty of online payments is that you have the back-up of an electronic record that the car has been paid for. Just be sure to hold onto the rego papers and keys until the cash is sitting in your account.

  • Bank cheque/money order: If you’re happy to accept a bank cheque or money order, be sure to wait until funds have cleared before handing over the car.

With luck, your buyer will have a Nimble Car Loan, which can see the loan funds paid straight to your account!

With your old car sold, it’s time to look for a fresh set of wheels. A Nimble Car Loan can get you back on the road sooner in your new dream car.