Selling your car privately usually means you get a better price for your vehicle, however, this tends to cause extra time and hassle as it leaves uncertainty as to when the sale will go through and how much you will receive.

Having finance outstanding can also lead to additional complexities.

The most common approach is to advertise privately, typically though AutoTrader, eBay, or other classifieds. In recent years social media has proved to be a valuable tool for selling your car.

The standard process of selling your car privately starts with agreeing on a settled price with the potential buyer, which then moves on to exchanging keys, money and the new keeper's supplement.


Usually you get more money than with the other selling options.

Generally you get approximately £500 more for your car by selling it privately than you would if selling from a dealer.


It may take longer to secure a sale.

It requires more of your time and some hassle. You need to advertise the car, answer queries from potential purchases, and then be prepared for people to come to view the car.

It can be frustrating and often a lot of time is wasted with many viewers hoping to get a bargain, by offering much less than the asking price, or just wanting to look but not to buy. Most buyers will want a price reduction, and some buyers may promise to buy, but then not turn up with the money.

If you are buying a replacement vehicle you may need to tax and insure both cars at the same time, until your old car sells.

The sale date can be unpredictable. There is no guarantee when or if the car will sell and how much you will receive on the final sale, leaving you at a loss if you are in need of the money.

It comes with a higher risk than other selling options as you cannot be certain the buyer is genuine and if they are going to pay in cash, and if that cash is genuine and not counterfeited.

If your car has existing finance you will need to clear the debt before you finalising a sale. You must also receive your finance company's agreement to sell privately. They will also advise the process for repaying your debt.

Private sale tips

Before deciding on the selling price you must check your car's value through Parkers, CAP, or Glass's. It is also worth looking at similar cars nearby to see how they are priced and how long they are advertised for before selling.

Most buyers will feel happier if you offer a price reduction and many will demand a reduction.  Factor this into your selling price and expect to barter.

If you have finance outstanding on the vehicle, contact your finance provider to obtain a settlement figure and to confirm the process to follow to sell your car privately. You will need to repay your finance before transferring the car ownership.

If you allow the potential buyers to test drive the car you must consider what insurance they have as not all policies provide third party cover for other cars. If your vehicle was damaged, third party cover would not provide you with any money towards repairs.

When the buyer is paying in cash ask them to pay directly into your bank account. The bank will then validate whether the notes are genuine or not. This may only apply to smaller value deals, and most banks will not accept large quantities of cash.

Ask the seller for proof of ID to match the details needed to complete the V5C in document.

It may be useful for the buyer and seller to have a written receipt of money paid, car sold and any verbal guarantees given (e.g. finance cleared on vehicle etc.)

Inform the DVLA of the sale as soon as possible after the sale has been completed. This can be done online or by post. See our guide for insurance and tax when selling your car.

Until the DVLA has updated its records you may receive any speeding fines or other penalties belonging to the vehicle. If this happens you should return the fine to the organisation who sent it and explain that you no longer own the vehicle. Further information can be found on


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