Selling guide article
Selling guides archive
Getting the best price for your part-exchange
Amidst the excitement of shopping for your shiny new motor, it’s too easy to forget the car you drive right now. It may be tired, grubby and, frankly, past its best, writes Ray Castle of motors.co.uk.
But it still represents a solid chunk of cash that, likely as not, will be needed to put towards your next purchase. Many of us leave it to the dealer we buy from to take our present car and offer a sensible sum for it.
If it’s in poor shape, though, you could lose hundreds of pounds. Look at things from the dealer’s viewpoint. If the car he’s getting will need money spending on it to make it worth selling, he must allow for that. And if it’s too ‘rough’ to be fit for anything more than sending to auction, his bid for it will drop lower still.
You can prevent that happening – and here motors.co.uk will explain how.
Gather together everything relevant: registration document, MoT certificates, service record book and garage bills for repairs or replacement parts. Check them over – is the car registered in your name and is the MoT certificate current? These are vital because unless you can answer ‘yes’ to both questions you’ll not be able to sell. And if the MoT has fewer than six months to run, consider getting a re-test. A fresh certificate will make your old car easier to sell and so worth more.
If you’ve serviced the car but the dealer stamps are missing from the records, pop back to the garage that did the work. Again, a car that has complete service records is more valuable.
Once everything’s straight, gather all papers together and put them into a smart folder ready to hand to the dealer. Such a tactic paints a picture of you as a caring owner.
How clean is your car?
Unless you’re the type that keeps their car spotless within and without, a thorough wash, vacuum and polish will be in order. If you can’t or won’t do it yourself, go to one of the car cleaning centres that have sprung up in every neighbourhood. There a basic clean inside and out shouldn’t cost more than £15 (£25 if you’re in London). If the result is a car smart enough for a dealer to put directly on to his sales lot, your reward will be some extra pounds added to the part-exchange price you’ll be quoted.
Biffs and scrapes
Scratched bumpers and scuffed alloy wheels are worth attending to pre-sale if your car is five years old or less or if it’s a high value luxury or performance model. Use a ‘magic repair’ specialist because they are usually way cheaper than a traditional car body shop. Standards and prices vary so shop around and ask friends and work mates for recommendations.
It almost goes without saying that all but the tiniest dents and scratches to the car’s body will also need fixing – unless it’s old enough only to be worth a couple of thousand quid, at most. No one reasonably expect an old car to be perfect.
By now you’ll have a car that’s dent-free, clean and fully documented. You may be surprised at how good it looks. Check the private-seller ads on motors.co.uk: you may be surprised at how much models like yours are offered for. Off-loading the car yourself involves more time and effort than part-exchanging but you may get more. And then you can ask the dealer you’re buying from for an extra discount because you’re saving him the work of part-exchanging. For more advice on selling privately, go to motors.co.uk.
Remember, though, that ‘swappage’ deals are common just now. These offer a guaranteed discount of up to £3000 if you trade-in a car that’s past a certain age – usually seven years old. So if you current car is old and has put plenty of miles under its wheels, you may do better by taking up one such deal.
Don’t accept the first price you’re offered. Know what you want and ask for slightly more than that knowing that, as bargaining usually goes, there’ll be a ‘middle’ price on which both sides can agree. If you can’t get what you want, go elsewhere – or even try for another make and model. If your luck’s out elsewhere, you can always return to the first deal and accept it.
Keep the tone of negotiations friendly. The dealer mayn’t agree to your price but keep in mind that such a refusal isn’t personal. And remember that the amount you’re offered will depend on what you buy. If your next car is a new, in-demand model for which there’s a queue of buyers the price you’ll see for your trade-in will most likely be lower than what you’ll see for a mainstream vehicle that’s been on sale for a couple of years.
For more great car buying advice and to view and buy new and second-hand cars, click on to motors.co.uk. Surf the web using your mobile phone? Go to http://mobile.motors.co.uk/ or text ‘motors’ to 65056 and we’ll send you a link. If you’ve an iPhone, you can download the motors.co.uk app for free. Go to the ‘utilities’ section of the iTunes store.