Selling a car is relatively straightforward, but there are some simple things you can do to maximize the resale potential of your vehicle.

Critical to a successful sale is the ever-important first impression. The number one thing to do is get a bucket of soapy water, a clean rag and get scrubbing. Once it’s sparkling, grab the vacuum and some dashboard cleaner and give the inside a solid once-over as well. You want your car spotless.

When it’s looking sharp, take some photos. Do this on a clear day against a simple backdrop. You’re after a good selection of snaps taken from various angles which clearly show the full exterior and interior of the vehicle.

A current WoF and valid registration tend to be considered crucial to prospective buyers, so ensure both are up to date.

With this prep work done, it’s business time. Set your price. To get a fair and realistic idea of its worth, you can either purchase a Vehicle Valuation report or you can look online to see what similar models are going for.

Many private car sales are now conducted online, so your next step is to advertise on websites like AA Carfair. AA Members can advertise their vehicles on the site for free. When writing your ad, stick to the facts. Be sure to make mention of the vehicle’s good points, but don't intentionally – or unintentionally – misrepresent it when describing its condition.

In your ad, list the technical specifications and all relevant vehicle information; in particular engine size, fuel type, speedometer reading and whether it’s an auto or manual transmission. Don’t forget to list any desirable selling points like, for example, a stereo system, leather upholstery or any attractive aftermarket additions, such as mag wheels.

When arranging a viewing, ensure the potential buyer has a valid driving licence and confirm with your vehicle insurer whether the driver will be covered during the test drive.

It’s natural that people will want to take your car for a spin to make sure everything is hunky dory. You can either choose to accompany them or, if you’d prefer to stay behind, hold onto their car keys while they go. As an added precaution, you can also keep a note of the person’s licence and registration details. Remember, if you get a bad vibe – for whatever reason – you can always refuse to allow the vehicle to be taken for a test drive.

If they like the car, then it will be time to negotiate a price. Consider all offers, but don’t let it go for a song. Some haggling is expected, so be prepared to drop a little from your asking price to complete the sale.

Beware of scams. There’s always someone looking for an easy target, so don’t be caught napping. Before handing over the keys, make sure you have the agreed amount in cash or cleared funds in your account.

After payment, write two comprehensive receipts, one for you and one for the buyer, and ensure both parties sign them.

Lastly, you need to notify the NZTA about the change of ownership. There are two forms involved: the seller needs to complete MR13A and the buyer MR13B. Alternatively, you can do this online on the NZTA website.

Congratulations! You have now sold your car. That wasn’t so hard, was it?

Reported by Donovan Edwards for our AA Directions Spring 2020 issue

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