Preparing to buy a new car can be both exciting and daunting. If you've checked your finances, researched which car is right for you and finally decided on the one, chances are you need to say goodbye to your current car.
There are lots of ways to sell your car, from trading it in at the dealership when you sort out the contract for your new car, to online classifieds, social media and, if it's in particularly bad condition, selling it to a wrecker or stripping it for parts.
(Above photo courtesy Robert Couse-Baker)
1. Dealer trade-in
This is one of the easiest and least time-consuming ways to get rid of your old car. When you go to the dealership to negotiate the best deal on your new car, the value of your current car can be taken into consideration and the amount deducted from your purchase price. B
ear in mind that you won't get the same amount that a valuation may say it's worth – at the end of the day, the dealer will re-sell it and needs to ensure they will make a profit. If there is anything that needs fixing, if it hasn't been properly maintained or it is looking a bit rough, you will get even less than what you may be expecting.
However, it takes the hassle out of having to advertise, you won't have random people contacting you wanting to come and check it out, or trying to barter the price down in often ridiculous ways. It is fuss-free, time efficient and you don't have to make lots of little repairs first. Often you can hand it over as is, take what you can get and draw a line under it and drive off into the sunset in your new pride and joy.
2. Private sale
A lot of people opt to sell their car privately, either through online classifieds, social media, parked on the roadside (not legal in a lot of areas) and even word-of-mouth. There is a lot to consider if you decide to go down this route.
You need to ensure the car is well-presented, has been looked after and the paperwork is all in order. The documentation requirements to advertise a car for private sale vary between states and territories so make sure you know what is required before proceeding.
We've put together a list of what you can do to prepare to sell you car in this way. Take a look at the article here.
Auction services can handle the promotion, sale and all the associated paperwork for you. They do however charge a fee to manage the sale of your vehicle, but this is a good option if you have a prestige, rare or sought-after vehicle. Don't forget online auction sites too.
Auction houses will sometimes offer a trade-in deal, where they will take your car off your hands and give you a voucher towards buying your new car at its auction. This option is best for those who are chasing a specific car which the auction house has, or think they could get a good deal on the day.
If you aren't the winning bidder on the car you want, though, you could be sans-wheels until you secure what you're after.
4. Car buying service
Almost as hassle-free as a trade-in, there are car buying services that can make you an offer based on a valuation of your vehicle – minus the profit margin of course. There are reputable websites out there, and it is as simple as plugging in your car details then booking an appointment to take the car in.
If you accept the offer, and your paperwork is in order, the sale can be finalised on the spot. Quick and easy but don't expect to have a lot of negotiating power in this situation.
Sometimes the stars align and while you're investigating your own options to sell your car, you'll come across your dream car for a similar price. In this case you may be able to negotiate a straight-swap.
Always ensure you get all the information and documentation you need and conduct the relevant checks regarding ownership, registration, that it's unencumbered, service and repair history etc.
Some car yards will let you leave your vehicle on the lot, and when it sells they'll take a commission from the sale price.
Again, this takes care of the grunt work and means you don't have to garage or park the car somewhere if it takes a while to sell and you've already picked up your new wheels.
Sometimes there's no other option. If you have a clunker that wouldn't sell for 5c, is falling apart or needs thousands of dollars more work than it's worth – if you're lucky you might get a couple of hundred dollars at the wreckers – better than nothing!
Alternatively, if there are parts that could be worth something you can investigate stripping it down and selling them individually.
Some car parts are highly sought after – and rather than get nothing it's certainly not a waste of time to investigate if there's anything of value under that rusted out and banged up body.
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