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Thinking of selling your car? Here are our top 10 tips on what you need to know...

1. When you’re thinking about selling your car, the first thing you’ll want to know is how much your car is worth. There are a variety of sources you can go to, including magazines, local newspapers and online, to find out the rough value of your car in terms of make, model and year. Car advertisements will give you an idea of how much similar vehicles are selling for.

2. Decide if you’re going to trade in your car for a new one or if you want to sell it outright perhaps at a car auction. If you’re selling it, it is advisable to make sure that you have a Registration Document/Certificate as it’s a good indicator that the car hasn’t been stolen. If you have lost the original, you can apply for a replacement using Form V62, which you can get from a Post Office or direct from the DVLA. If you’re trading it in, make sure you get several quotes – you might be surprised at the difference between them.

3. If you sell your car yourself, you’ll almost certainly receive more money for it that at a car auction or trade dealer. A dealer has to be confident that he’ll be able to sell it on for a profit, so he’s likely to offer you less than it’s actually worth. However, it will take more of your own time and be more of a hassle than selling it to a dealer. Think about whether you need to sell the car quickly or whether you have the time and inclination to field lots of phone calls.

4. Get your car into the best possible shape, both inside and out. A professional clean might well give you the edge over other similar vehicles on the market. Check the tyre pressure, oil and screen wash.

5. When advertising your car – whether it’s in local newspapers or online – list the make, model and style (including how many doors it has) You might also want to include the mileage, colour and engine size. Don’t forget to mention any extras that will be popular with potential buyers, such as power steering, air conditioning, four-wheel drive, in-car entertainment system, sun roof, and so on. It’s always worth sticking a For Sale notice on the car itself – remember to include your phone number so that anyone who’s interested knows how to contact you. If the car is no longer in daily use, make sure you take it for a drive on a regular basis; you don’t want to have any trouble getting it to start when you’ve got a prospective buyer ready to take it for a test drive!

6. Emphasise the car’s best features. If it hasn’t done much mileage, say so. Consider whether it’s particularly reliable or very economical on petrol/diesel. If you’re stuck, try to think what attracted you to the car when you bought it – chances are it’ll be the same things that make it attractive now.

7. Always have an absolute lowest price in mind, and stick to that.
You may have to negotiate a little, but never go below what you really want or the British auction price.

8. Always arrange appointments that are convenient for you.
Bear in mind that any serious buyers are likely to want to take the car for a test drive, so make sure you allow enough time for that. Anyone taking the car out for a test will need to be added onto your car insurance with Temporary Additional Driver cover, so be sure to call Direct Line on 0845 246 8706 prior to this. You should let the potential buyer choose where he wants to go on a test drive, but it is advisable to accompany them as a security measure.

9. Finally, payment. Cash is always good; a bank or building society draft is a reasonable alternative as it’s as good as cash and can only be issued if the buyer has enough money in his account. If you’re accepting a cheque, do not hand over the keys until the cheque has cleared – if they’re a genuine buyer, they won’t mind waiting a few extra days. The basic rule of thumb is, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

10. Don’t forget to tell your insurer that you’ve sold your car. If you’re buying a new car you may be able to add it to your car insurance policy.

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