Tips on The Best Way to Sell Your Car

HInts, tips and advice from our seasoned motor trade professional

11 August 2021 · Eldon - Barnfield Cars

jaguar f pace 2021 interior

Route to market

Common mistake sellers make is to not maximise their car’s full potential by foolishly part-exchanging it. They convince themselves that this is the best hassle-free exit for their old car, by doing so they are potentially losing out on £hundred’s and in some cases £thousand’s.

There is only a handful of specialist premium brands where you cannot achieve a discount by not part exchanging, especially where your old car is too old and too many miles to qualify for the manufacturers approved used car scheme, hence the franchise dealer cannot retail it and must move it into the trade, or secondly when you are moving across franchises, i.e., part exchanging your BMW for an Audi, etc. The premium brand behind the dealerships does not permit their franchised dealers to retail or market any other make of car, so therefore you will not see a used Mercedes on an Audi forecourt or a used Land Rover on a Volvo forecourt.

When considering selling your car without part exchanging you have three options, firstly attempt to sell privately, sell to the likes of webuyanycar, or as proven to be the most lucrative and hassle-free is the option to sell to a specialist independent trade buyer, like Barnfield Cars.

The private car sale

Positives – Could achieve a higher price than part exchange. The car stays in your possession until sold.

Negatives – High advertising costs, time wasters, no-shows, uninsured test drive risks, possible theft, or payment fraud, consistently keeping your car clean for viewings, regardless of how competitively you have priced your car a private buyer expects to negotiate the price downward.

Online buying sites

PositivesThere is normally a local branch, so you do not have to travel far. Subject to the make/model of the car you are selling they can offer more than part exchange.

Negatives – They charge fees. You can wait up to 4 days to get paid. Outstanding finance can take longer to settle as it has been signed off by HQ. The offer is only valid for 4 days. Valuations are done by an algorithm, not a real person. The desktop quote is never equaled once the face-to-face in-branch appraisal of your car has taken place, i.e., the net offer is always less unless your car is blemish-free – not one stone chip!

Specialist independent trade buyers

Positives – Most will travel to you, work, or home. Values are done by a real person not a computer and are based on the current market taking into consideration colour, specification, and provenance, typically translating to a higher value. Transactions are fee-free. Money is in your bank before the car leaves your drive. Finance is settled (look out for FCA-regulated companies). Most specialist buyers have a customer for your car already or buying for retail purposes, so no middleman. Generally, they pay the highest price for nice clean cars with a good pedigree.


Some independents can have funding restrictions, so they are not always looking for stock. The minority expect you to take your car to them.


There is a simple formula for the price, as a private seller you cannot ask what a dealer can ask, as the dealer has full dealer facilities, i.e., they offer part exchange, finance options, warranty, etc.

If you ask too much then the phone will not ring and if you ask too little then you will be inundated with calls, and you could end up almost giving your car away.

The benchmark is AutoTrader, look at similar cars offered by private sellers and then price accordingly or alternatively if there aren’t any for sale privately look at dealers and price sensibly lower, Afterall you are trying to sell a car off your drive, regardless of how nice your house is!

Consider this, if you are searching for a company, product, or service on a search engine, when the search results come back you do not ever go beyond the first page, therefore if you price your car too high and your car appears on the second page of the car listings you will not get a call.

If you opt to sell to a specialist buyer then also consider that they need to make a margin, but their offer should still not be far away from your net expectation of a private sale, especially as they can ask more for your car than you can.


Many buyers, private or specialist trade, especially those who are considering premium brands have already done their research, read the forums, and have the t-shirt. It is worthwhile keeping your car presentable without going overboard, do not get it detailed, and never drown it or mask it with cheap valeting products, like cheap perfume the sophisticated buyer can spot the last minute spruce up from 1000 yards.

As a trade buyer, we would rather see an original example, as we can get bodywork or mechanical repairs done in-house and prefer to do so.

Never organise a viewing when it is going dark or in the rain, as the buyer will only want to come back and view again, hence taking up more of your time.

Test drives

Unless you are selling to a proven trade buyer then your vehicle is not insured for a test drive, unless you have it covered on your own policy but then you will need to have motor trader’s insurance. A private buyer may tell you that they have fully comprehensive insurance and can drive any car third party, but it is rarely the case and even if they had insurance, the cover would be the third party, therefore spelling out financial disaster in the event of an accident on a test drive.

If you get a request for a test drive, then drive yourself whilst the potential buyer is a passenger.


It is obvious to state that if you aren’t in receipt of cleared funds that don’t let the car go, however, it still to this day amazes me how people sell their assets to the likes of webuyanycar and wait up to 4 days to get paid, could you fill up with fuel and tell the cashier you will pay them next week? Thought not.

The difficulty comes when you have outstanding finance and the private buyer will not pay you until you have settled the finance off, yet you will not settle the finance off until you have been paid, so it ends up no going anywhere.

If you are selling a car on finance to a specialist buyer, only ever sell to one that is FCA regulated giving you the assurance that any outstanding finance agreement will be settled in advance of the valid date. If you ask the buyer for their FCA number, you can then check it on the FCA website

When selling to a private buyer or a specialist buyer always request a bank transfer and when the money is in your account double-check with the bank that it is cleared funds and not just credit, as some credits can magically disappear.


In summary, if you don’t fancy entering the world of pain that comes with trying to sell your car privately or aren’t excited about the negative experience of being messed about by the likes of webuyanycar then please do get in touch with Barnfield.

Before contacting us why not see what our customers have to say about us, read our 5-star reviews.

Barnfield Cars Reviews

Please call Barnfield Cars today for an informal conversation about selling your car.

North 01625 724177 South 01483 323474

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