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Selling Used Cars - Part One

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

January is normally a booming time for car sales. With New Car Sales plummeting by 64% in the first week of 2009, the demand now seems to be on buying second hand cars.

New car sales fell drastically in 2008 as the recession took hold and already in 2009 new car sales are down by 64%. At the same time the importation of cars has increased. There is a shift towards diesel cars also, on foot of the government measures to combat co2 omissions, so you're in luck if you're selling one of those. All of the trends show that consumers are looking for lower prices and good value, so in this climate, a second hand car is what people will buy if they are in the market. Here are some tips on how to ensure your car sells.

Tomorrow Tina will be giving us advice on how to buy a used car from a private vendor or a garage. Whether you are thinking of buying up North, travelling to the UK, maybe you're buying from a local buyer or a friend or private vendor. Tina will arm you with all the tips you need to buy your car safely, efficiently and without being conned.

Make it look good

You have to make sure that your car looks clean and that the interior is in good condition. Get the interior valeted or vacuum and clean it yourself. Make sure the outside is washed before anyone comes to view it and that all hub caps are in place. Remove everything from the inside of the car and from the boot so that it looks as new as possible rather than lived in and grubby.

Make sure the NCT is up to date

Since 2002 all cars have to be tested once they are 4 years old and every two years after that. You will have to provide a valid NCT cert to prospective buyers to show that it has passed the test, but if it is one year old or due an NCT test soon, why not just get it done anyway. It's an investment that will make the buyer happy as it means they know the car is in good order and they won't have to pay for the NCT test for another two years.

Get it serviced

In addition to the NCT get the car serviced so that you can show prospective buyers a very recent service report. If the mechanic has advised any work, then get it done. Again it's an investment that will ensure the prospective buyer has no doubts about the car's condition.

Complete any finance agreement

If you bought your car on hire purchase, you don't actually own it until you make the final payment. Until then it is owned by the finance company and you cannot sell it. So make sure all payments are made, and show the prospective buyer the paperwork to prove it.

Selling online

Advertising your car for sale online is probably the best way to go as it will reach the most potential customers. Take a look at carzone, autotrader, carsireland, buyandsell and funkymotors to see which one you want to go with. Some charge up to €39.99 for a listing and others are free. Remember you can advertise on more than one site.

Give an honest description

Honesty is always the best policy when describing the car. As well as mileage, engine size, colour etc give as much further detail as possible. This should include date of it's last service and NCT, any scratches or bumps and if it was ever involved in an accident.

Set a realistic price

To decide on a price you'll have to trawl through advertisements for the same model car with a similar mileage and see what the average is. Then decide if you're in a position to offer a better deal or not. Remember you are now also competing with the used car market in the North and in England where prices are considerably lower.

Add value

You could always add value to your offer by throwing in new car mats and de-icer, for example, or offering to pay for the car check on the customer's behalf. Be inventive, it's a buyers market at the moment.

Beware of scams

As always there are plenty of scams doing the rounds relating to car sales. One is where you are contacted by someone willing to buy your car but they offer to send you a greater amount so you can pay the mechanic who will visit the car on their behalf. This is a classic 'cheque overpayment' scam so never respond to someone who suggests something like this. The cheque will bounce and you will be left with nothing.
You may also be contacted by a vehicle matching company. They say they have a guaranteed buyer for your car and all you have to do is sign up to them for an administration fee of around €100. Don't bother. While on the phone these sales people offer the sun, moon and stars, but their terms and conditions say they do NOT guarantee a sale and the promised buyer generally does not materialise.

Your liability if something goes wrong

If you are an individual selling to another individual then consumer law won't apply to the sale. However, if the person you sell to has a grievance that you don't respond to, they could still take legal action against you in court. So again be honest and decent and nothing will come back to haunt you.

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