How to sell your car for the best price

It doesn't matter if you're downsizing, or you're looking to finance a new purchase - selling your used car privately is a great way to get some money in your pocket. If you're considering listing your vehicle privately, there are a few simple steps you can take in order to maximise your potential revenue. It may take a little time and effort, but it'll definitely be worth it when you're using the profits to finance your next big purchase.

Do your research

To get the best sale price that you can for your used car, you'll need to know the current market value for the make and model of your vehicle. Check out online car sales directories to get an idea of the range of prices. Search by completed listings wherever possible, as this will give you a more accurate idea of the prices that people are actually prepared to pay.

Get your car looking great

Thoroughly clean your vehicle in preparation for sale. This means scrubbing the car's interior - including the dash and console - with a damp rag and cleaning solution. Move the seats back to vacuum the floor and consider replacing the mats if they're looking tired - even the cheapest investment like this can sway a potential buyer.

Now it's time to tackle the outside. Wash the car with specifically formulated soap. Once rinsed, you should be able to see any imperfections in the paint job. Small marks can be treated with a clay bar, and light scratches to the car's clear coat can be smoothed over with specialty products. Once you're happy with the paint, apply wax to give it a shine and add an extra layer of protection. If necessary, don't forget to clean the wheels and replace headlight bulbs.

Take great photos

Now that your car is looking fantastic, it's time to document it. Photos are going to be your biggest asset when it comes to capturing the interest of a prospective buyer, so it's worth investing the time in producing quality shots. If it's an option, ditch the phone in favour of a DSLR (if you don't have one, some local libraries loan them out free of charge). Cars are shiny objects - especially after a fresh wax - so leave the flash off and instead rely on a longer exposure from a tripod. Shoot with the sun behind you to minimise reflection, as well as capture the true colour of the car's paint.

If there's cosmetic damage to the car, make sure that you document it. Don't try and hide any faults in your photos, as this is guaranteed to create issues further down the track. Try and capture the car from multiple angles so potential buyers can get the complete picture of the vehicle - and don't forget to shoot the interior.

List your car

Include all the details that you can think of when creating your listing. This includes the registration period, any recent services, and any specific quirks of the car that you're aware of. When you're setting the price, remember that haggling is to be expected - so leave yourself a little bit of room to move. Once the ad is live, make yourself available to contact should any questions arise. A prompt and courteous reply can make all the difference for a potential buyer. Be patient with the process, and don't feel pressured to make a sale if you're not completely happy with the terms of the agreement.

Get your paperwork in order

If you've found a buyer and agreed on a price, congratulations! But you're not done yet. Draw up a receipt, and make sure that the purchaser is clear on the terms of the sale. Each state and territory in Australia has different requirements when it comes to transferring paperwork, so check in with your relevant authority. Finally, notify your insurance company as well as any roadside assistance programs of the sale - and update any tollway passes that you use.