How to sell a car privately

This guide is the A to Z of selling a car privately in Australia.
You can sell your car hassle-free with Motor Merchants. We work with a nationwide network of XX+ competing dealers to find our best offer for your vehicle. It’s fast, simple, and completely free of charge.
If selling to a dealer doesn’t sound good to you, then private sales are another option, but it is guaranteed to be far more time-consuming.
A private sale can be a good way to get the highest offer on a specific used car. Nevertheless, the process is typically long and frustrating, and unlike other options where you sell your car directly to a professional buyer or dealership shortly after beginning the process, selling privately yourself will involve more admin work, and has absolutely no guarantee of working out.
So if you’re not convinced by the various car buying sites or online car sales services, and you’ve settled on selling your car yourself, read on for our top tips to help you sell your vehicle privately.
How should I sell my car privately?
When you're ready to sell a used car to a private buyer, there are several steps you need to take, and you'll get little assistance along the way.
You'll have to promote your vehicle yourself, meet and show potential purchasers, and handle all negotiations on your own. It might be difficult without the assistance of a company.
If you're looking for a simple, quick way to sell your vehicle, private sales aren’t the method to go with. Online car buying services are generally quicker and are guaranteed to take care of all the hassles of selling your used car.
However, be warned that not everything in this list is negative. For certain sellers, private sales may be worth it, and you can really get a great price for your car. We'll go through all of the essential elements to consider before listing your car privately in this article...
Can I legally sell my car to a private buyer?
Before you do anything, make sure you're legally permitted to sell a car.
You or the buyer will have to pay off any outstanding finance. You'll need to make sure all of the documentation is in order before you sell the car
Make sure you have all your important documents at the ready, including:
  • Registration and proof of ownership
  • Transfer of ownership form
  • Issue a receipt if your car is sold for more than $75
  • Roadworthy certificate (RWC)
  • Owner’s manual, servicing logbook and supplements
  • Recalls documentation
  • Receipts of aftermarket labour and parts
  • PPSR Check (Optional)
How much is my car worth & how much should I sell it for?
You'll need to have a basic understanding of what your vehicle is worth before you start building your car listing or ad.
Luckily, Motor Merchants can help you with just that. You can list your car for free on Motor Merchants, our system will automatically assign the dealers who are statistically most likely to bid high and compete with each other for your car. The offers that you will receive on your car are a good benchmark for the overall value of your vehicle.
There are several free-to-use valuation tools and websites available online (just Google "free valuation" to discover them), so it's a good idea to use a few different ones in order to have a better grasp on the value of your used vehicle.
There are plenty of other free-to-use valuation tools and websites online, just Google “Free Car Valuation Australia” to find them.
Of course, these can't give you a final price quotation, but they will assist you in obtaining an educated guess regarding the value of your automobile.
Preparing your car for sale
This is a crucial stage. You may be tempted to put up an ad right away after you know the worth of your automobile. However, you must make sure your vehicle is in fact clean and in good working condition.
Nobody wants to purchase a filthy car, therefore you'll need to give it a thorough cleaning both inside and out! Cars that appear to be new and well-kept have a far greater chance of receiving a higher offer price than those that have been neglected.
Where should I advertise my car for sale?
When you're ready to sell a vehicle privately, you'll have to promote it yourself. This may appear to be a lot of work since you'll need to pick where to post your ad. With so many people wanting to get rid of their cars, you may find trouble making your ad stand out among the crowd.
Firstly, you need to decide where you want to place your advert. The obvious place to start is with Australia's biggest automotive marketplace, Carsales.
They are undoubtedly the home of private car sales, and listing your vehicle on the open car marketplace will set you back anywhere between $94 to $239 depending on the type of Ad you’d like to run.
Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are also excellent alternatives to Carsales for listing your vehicle on a classified motors site. More importantly, Gumtree and Facebook are completely free to list on, although there are likely to be fewer serious buyers coming across your listing on these platforms.
Local advertising is also an option if you don’t want to go online. Placing adverts in local papers, pubs, and shops is likely to get some prospective buyers for your vehicle, but the reach is more limited than that of an online ad.
How to create the perfect advert for your car
After you've decided where to advertise your vehicle, you then need to make sure you develop an effective ad. With so many automobiles being advertised on auto classifieds sites these days, making sure yours stands out is crucial.
It's important to provide enough details about your car, including the make and model and a set of clear photographs. You'll need to include things like how many kilometres you've driven, service history, as well as a road safety certificate if necessary in your state. Also, be sure to note any extra features or aftermarket additions it has if they're relevant.
You don't have to disclose every vehicle fault, but you must not mislead customers. When selling your used automobile privately, honesty is the greatest policy - so be honest about any issues with the car as this is expected when buying a second-hand car. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation with an angry, disappointed or shocked buyer post-sale.
As mentioned previously, you’ll need to upload a full set of pictures of your clean car. This is probably the most important stage of your advert.
When snapping photographs, make sure they're bright, and clear, and show the entire vehicle. Don't forget to capture photos of the vehicle from all angles, as well as images of the wheels and tires, and any damage it might have.
Finding the right buyer for your car
You should now have potential purchasers contact you once your classified ad is published. You'll need to meet the buyer, show them your vehicle, and let them take it for a spin.
You should, nevertheless, be cautious. You may also have to deal with time wasters and scammers while selling a car privately, so you must exercise caution and take certain precautions.
Always make contact with potential customers in a location that you are familiar with. This may be at your house or at work, as long as it is somewhere you feel comfortable.
Don't leave your automobile unattended with a potential buyer. Always go on a test drive with the buyer, and don't let them take any photographs or documents of the important papers.
The buyer and the seller don't want to think they're getting a bad bargain. The buyer may well be tempted to haggle in order to reduce the price.
It may be a good idea to set your asking price somewhat higher than you would want. This will provide more room for negotiations and make the process of negotiating a price easier.
When selling your automobile, it's critical to ensure you get paid securely. Request the buyer's phone number and check them out before arranging a viewing. Make sure they're really interested in purchasing your automobile.
Online bank transfers are generally advised over cash payments, but there are alternative possibilities available.
As a seller, you can use a third-party money transmitter (an Escrow agreement) to hold the buyers' cash until the transaction is complete. This may be effective, but make sure you're using a reputable firm.
Wait until you've received notification from your bank or payment provider that the funds have been transferred.
Importantly, no matter how you get paid, after you've completed the transaction, give the buyer a receipt and keep a copy for yourself.
Is selling privately too time-consuming?
Typically, it is. That's why Motor Merchants allows you to find the best offer from a verified car dealer, helping you find the best price to sell your car quickly.