Last weekend I sold my car, and survived the dance of suspicion that is the private car sales process. Since we got the van in January, we have not had a vehicle with more than 3 seats and neither was particularly dog friendly.
The plan was always to replace my Mazda MX-5 with a ‘boring’ family car, so when my mother in law offered us her VW Golf, it seemed like a good solution. She was only going to get £500 part exchange for it, and we had the comfort of knowing it’s history.
So, for the first time ever, I ventured into the scary world of private car sales to sell mine. Despite my initial misgivings; nothing bad happened! I had been regaled with scare stories by friends and colleagues; “what if they drive off without paying?”, “what if they pay with fake cash?”, “you’ll be contacted by people claiming to be on oil rigs wanting to pay with paypal and then reversing the transaction after their ‘friend’ picks the car up”.
None of this happened.
I took the car to a local playing field and took some nice photos, having washed and hoovered it out, and set about researching a fair price for the model, condition and mileage. I decided to try the free methods of advertising first, and posted an ad on Facebook marketplace and Gumtree. I planned to give it a week, and if I failed to generate any sensible interest, I would pay for an ad on Autotrader or Pistonheads. It turned out this wasn’t necessary.
I did have contact through messenger from a few time wasters who probably just wanted to spend a sunny afternoon test driving a convertible sports car. Serious buyers were not put off by the fact that my insurance would not cover them to test drive the car, so they either had to bring proof of insurance, or let me take them for a test drive. To begin with, I thought this would be a major stumbling block, and my back up plan was to line up several test drives on the same day and pay out for short term test drive insurance, but again this wasn’t necessary. With hindsight, I think this was a good tactic for weeding out the ‘test pilots’ who had no intention of buying anything and just wanted a fun way to spend the afternoon.
In the end, I sold to only the second person to see it and they offered only £50 below the asking price. Result!
When it came to money changing hands, we completed the transaction with an online bank transfer which arrived in my account almost instantly (I was ready with cups of tea in case it took a little while). The buyer was chuffed, as they had been looking for a good example for a while, and I was delighted that I had got a fair price only a day and a half after advertising it 🙂
I was sad to see it go, but it went to an enthusiast and the process was relatively painless. I’m not planning to start car flipping as a side hustle any time soon, but I would sell a car privately again in the future to maximise the cash in my pocket rather then a dealer’s.