Selling Your Used Car - A How to Guide

Knowing where to start when selling your car is always a dilemma. But don’t worry or stress because we can quickly and simply help you get it sold for the best possible price. These are the things you should consider:

  • Trade-in or Sell Privately - Your Decision.
  • Identify what the vehicle is worth
  • Prepare your vehicle for sale
  • List your vehicle for sale
  • Prepare a list of questions to ask
  • Negotiate price
  • Complete sales paperwork

Here is a more detailed explanation of each step…

Trade my car in or sell it privately?

A trade-in will not generate the same value of money to you than a private sale would get. A dealer needs to consider the cost of reconditioning your car and what profit they want to make. Small marks, scratches and dents, upholstery work or other work will reduce the value of your trade-in and what you are offered. A positive is you will not have to do the work yourself.

A private sale will generate more money, but you are responsible for the marketing and complying with any legal issues, mechanical problems and disclosure requirements. The time and effort will be greater and sometimes the added time and effort is not worth the additional sales value.

What factors can impact the value of a used car?

Most cars offered for sale fall into a value scale, and this is largely based on the cars make, model and age. However, there are other important factors that can affect where the car falls on this scale and these are: history, odometer reading, and condition.

The history of a vehicle most often relates to accident damage and repair work. Having a report on the vehicle's history to show a potential buyer when they ask, can demonstrate that you are aware of repaired damage and have adjusted the price of the vehicle accordingly, it will help build trust in you as a seller.

The easiest way to get a report on the history of a vehicle is with a Carify Vehicle History Report.

Carify history reports can inform you about damage from a hail storm, total loss, providing third-party validation of the vehicle’s history.

It also provides a Written Off Check with details on:

  • Repairable write-offs
  • Inspections
  • Collision
  • Storm damage
  • Damage to the car

The following factors can impact the sale value of a vehicle:

  • Service history and logbooks
  • Colours - internal and external
  • Add on features
  • Warranties - extended or not.
  • Tyres - tread
  • Age of previous owners
  • Recent maintenance on the vehicle
  • Was the owner a smoker

Getting your car ready for sale?

Attracting buyers for a sale will require you to present to the car at its best. Have your car washed and take photos in a well-lit area with a clean background. Get the car detailed and remove any unnecessary items, such as, sports equipment or food containers. The better it looks the higher price you will get.

Listing a used car for sale online?

You can use sites like Autotrader, Carsales, Gumtree or Facebook Market Place. By doing so you’re putting yourself in front of a large pool of potential buyers. Write a clear, accurate and clever advert and post away.


Remember that most Australians start their used car search online.

Questions I should expect from a used car buyer?

You will be asked questions so prepare yourself. They will want to know why you are selling, questions on the condition of the car, odometer reading, maintenance schedule and any problems you have had with it. You may be asked for the VIN as well as vehicle history report.

Of course, they will want a test drive and may want a private car inspection undertaken by a state-based provider.

Negotiating the sale of your used car?

By setting a realistic price upfront you will minimise the negotiation process. Have all the information you need to justify your asking price. This will reduce any concern a buyer may have. YOUR CARIFY HISTORY REPORT and service records will make the negotiation less stressful and improve your sale price.

What payment should I accept?

For small amounts, under $4000, you can accept cash. However, anything higher and you should ask for a bank cheque. Personal cheques can be risky, as the buyer may not have the funds for the cheque to clear.

How do I finalize a private used car sale?

Buyer - Yes - Price agreed - Yes. Now you need to officially finalise the sale. So:

  • Remove Personal Items
  • Update E-tags if relevant
  • Remove toll accounts if relevant,
  • Fill the registration papers and transfer to the new car
  • You may also have specific requirements relevant to your state so check with your relevant government body;
  • NSW
  • Victoria
  • Queensland
  • South Australia
  • Western Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Australian Capital Territory
  • Northern Territory