The Gumtree Blog

How to sell a second hand car online

Wednesday 22 August 2018, by

How to make your car stand out in the classifieds and get the best deal possible when selling.



  • You want buyers to know you’re an organised, responsible person to buy a car from – having all the paperwork ready for them makes a great first impression
  • Get a ring binder or box file and put all the MoT certificates together, gather up all the receipts for servicing you’ve carried out and make sure you’ve got evidence of ongoing purchases like new tyres, oil top ups and other consumables
  • Put everything in chronological order and make it easy for the buyer to inspect
  • Make sure you’ve got your V5C to prove you’re the registered keeper of the car and ensure the details are all up to date and correct




  • Identify which parts you could cheaply replace to make your car look more appealing – new wipers, wheel trims, floor mats don’t cost the earth but can make a big difference
  • Kerbed wheels can make a car look tatty, especially if it’s a premium or sports model – professional refurbs aren’t as expensive as you might think and can transform the appearance
  • Same goes for minor dings, stone chips and scratches – driveway ‘smart’ repairers can come to you and affordably tidy up minor damage
  • Make sure the car is clean and well-presented – give it a proper wash and polish (or pay for a professional valet), vacuum the carpets and give the interior a wipe over
  • Check you’ve got all the parts like the spare key, owner’s manual and security codes for the radio and check under the boot floor to make sure the parcel shelf, tool kit and other accessories are all in place – make sure the spare tyre (if you have one) is in good condition and correctly inflated
  • Do a search for equivalent cars in the classifieds to help you judge the right price for yours, taking into account factors like mileage, condition and service history that may influence value either way



Make your advert

  • Think of your classified advert like an online dating profile – most people will make snap judgements so make a strong first impression
  • Photos make a huge difference – a quiet car-park can provide a nice, anonymous setting where you can photograph the car from every angle inside and out
  • Pick your time to make your car look best, avoiding wet days that will leave it looking gloomy or bright sunshine where shadows get in the way – flat, early evening light is the most flattering
  • Make sure your written description is snappy and keep your information simple, honest and to the point – what would you want to know about the car if you were in the market?
  • Avoid clichés like ‘one lady owner’ or ‘future classic’, don’t write in ‘txt spk’ or using capital letters and lots of exclamation marks and run it through a spell checker before posting



Meeting buyers

  • Remember, you’re selling yourself as much as the car so be sure to come across as keen, engaged and knowledgeable about your car
  • Be security conscious – if you’re really worried arrange to meet in a neutral place like a motorway service station or public car park and only invite people into your home if you’re confident they’re above board
  • Be wary of handing over the keys, even if people just want to look around the car – instead offer to show them round yourself, start the engine for them and be as helpful as possible
  • Don’t let the V5C out of your sight and don’t let anyone copy or photograph it in case they attempt to clone your vehicle’s identity
  • If people ask for test drives only let them behind the wheel if your insurance covers them or they can prove they’re insured on their own policy – ask to see paperwork as evidence



Sealing the deal

  • Put yourself in the buyer’s mindset and make sure you’re ready for any bargaining chips they may throw at you with regard to your car’s condition or history
  • Once you’ve agreed on a price you’re both happy with you can shake on the deal and finalise the paperwork but don’t sign anything away until you’ve seen the money or agreed a secure way of transferring it
  • When that’s done you need to make sure the owner has completed their details on the V5C and you’ve given them their ‘chit’ in return – you can then send your section to the DVLA or notify them of the change of keeper online
  • Make sure you cancel your VED/tax – you won’t get a refund for the last month you paid for but direct debits will stop immediately and any outstanding tax will be refunded
  • Hit the classifieds to find your new car!


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