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Tips and advice

How to sell your car quickly

Selling your car doesn’t have to be a long and arduous process – here are our top tips for a speedy sale

selling car

There are many different avenues for selling a used car these days, from online auctions to part-exchanging, but sometimes you’ll need your car gone quickly. Whether you’re upgrading to a new car, moving abroad, or simply need the cash, there are steps you can take to improve your chances of a fast sale.

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In this guide, we’ll break down the best methods and tips to get your old car out of your hands and into someone else's – fast. For a broader overview of the different methods and best practices for selling a used car, we have a complete guide to selling your car. We also have a separate explainer for selling your car on eBay, which is a popular site for selling used cars quickly.

Let’s start with how to prepare your car for a quick sale.

Get your car looking its best

Cleaning interior

First impressions are important when selling a car, even more so if you want it sold quickly. The more attractive your car looks at the first glance, the more likely you are to win over a prospective buyer and complete a sale. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Deep clean your car – Give your car a thorough wash, remembering to clean the wheels and windows. Make sure to clean the interior, too, vacuuming the seats and carpets. A clean car shows that it’s been taken care of – something that appeals to buyers.
  2. Fix any minor issues – Rectifying any small issues can go a long way in boosting your car’s appeal. Replace any faulty bulbs, use touch-up paint for minor scratches, and ensure all of the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure.
  3. Declutter – Remove all of your personal belongings from inside the car, including anything in the glovebox and boot. A tidy car feels well looked after and more attractive.

Gather important documents

Selling your car

It’s important to have all the necessary paperwork to hand when a prospective buyer inspects your car. A buyer may be put off if you’re missing key documents and it could delay a sale. Here’s what you need:

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  1. V5C logbook – This is the most important document to have to hand. This proves that you are the keeper of the car and allows you to transfer ownership.
  2. Service history – Having the car’s service history, or even partial service history, is a big plus. This provides proof to the prospective buyer that the car has been maintained, making the car more attractive.
  3. MoT certificate – Providing your car with a fresh MoT certificate is an excellent way to improve your car’s desirability. A test costs around £50 and provides the buyer with peace of mind, knowing that they won’t have to worry about it for another year. If you don’t have time to take your car for an MoT test, providing the most recent certificate is a handy document to have anyway.

Choose the right selling platform

Once you have prepared your car for sale and gathered your important documents, you will need to decide on which platform to sell your car. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and some are faster than others. Here are our recommendations for a quick sale:

  1. Dealership part-exchange – If you haven’t bought your new car yet, part-exchanging is a quick and easy way to sell your old car and buy a new one simultaneously. The dealer will make an offer for your old car and, if you accept, subtract it from the price of the new car. This is often the quickest and easiest method, although you’re unlikely to receive the highest price for your car. It also won’t apply to those who aren’t looking for a new car, or who have already bought their new car.
  2. Guaranteed sale websites – There are many online services today that will make an offer for your car remotely, once you have provided some basic details and pictures. This will usually be followed by an in-person inspection, and an online bank transfer once they purchase your car. This involves a bit more effort than part-exchanging, but you can shop around for the best offer and it’s still a relatively fast method.
  3. Private sale via online auction – Some people choose to sell their used car through an online auction, with eBay being one of the most popular. Typically, an auction will run for one week, meaning the car could be off your driveway in seven days. There are additional features to be aware of, including ‘Buy it now’ and ‘reserve’ prices, so we recommend reading our full guide to selling a car on eBay
  4. Private sale via online classifieds – Sites such as AutoTrader, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace are great for reaching a wide audience. How fast your car sells, however, is down to how you prepare your listing and the price you set. Read on below for our advice.

Tips for a quick private sale

selling your car

Selling your car privately requires the most effort out of the methods listed above. However, if you prepare your listing correctly, you can get a fair price and sell it quickly. Here are our top tips to follow:

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  1. Set a competitive price – If speed of sale is the priority, you’ll need to set a competitive price. Research what similar models tend to sell for, and price yours accordingly. If your listing looks like good value compared to other models on the market, you’re likely to receive lots of interest.
  2. Take good photos – Photos give the first impression of your car to a prospective buyer, so make sure they’re taken in good light without a distracting background. Of course, your car should be clean and tidy, too.
  3. Write an effective listing – You’ll need to include the key information about your car in the description, including the make and model, mileage, service history, remaining MoT, number of previous owners, and any desirable options. You don’t need to go overboard – keeping the description short but informative is the best way to communicate the important details to a prospective buyer without losing their attention.
  4. Be honest – If your car has any defects or damage, it’s worth mentioning this up front in the listing. Chances are, a prospective buyer will be put off from purchasing your car if they spot something unexpected during an inspection or test drive. 
  5. Be flexible – For a quick sale, you’ll need to be open to negotiation. It’s common practice for buyers to haggle when buying a used car, so prepare a minimum price that you’re willing to accept beforehand.
  6. Respond quickly to enquiries – Make sure to answer any enquiries promptly, whether through text, email or over the phone. Plus, the more flexible you are with viewing times, the better your chances of getting a quick sale.

When to sell your car for a quick sale 

While we have a full guide for the best times to sell your car, there are some rules of thumb to bear in mind.

Demand for certain types of cars varies throughout the year. For example, there are more buyers looking for sports cars, convertibles and classic cars in warmer months, so list your car towards the end of spring and early summer. Conversely, demand for 4x4s spikes during cold months, so it makes sense to sell this type of car during winter.

As a more general rule, demand for new cars is at its highest in early March and September – this is when new car registration plates are updated to the latest number. This often results in a flood of cars on the used market, meaning your listing will face more competition. We recommend avoiding these months for listing your used car if you want the quickest sale possible.

Read our full guide to the best way to sell a car for a more detailed breakdown of the different platforms, top tips and recommended practices…

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