MoneyMagpie and Gumtree’s guide to making extra money by selling your car


Reading Time: 5 mins

Everyone wants to get as much money as they can when they sell their car, and the good news is that by using online marketplaces such as Gumtree there are just a few simple steps between you and a great deal.

Selling your car is an exciting time, but possibly a bit daunting, too. However, as long as you follow a few simple steps, you’ll be able to get the maximum money for your motor.


First steps

Before you start to think about adverts and part-exchanges the most important thing to do is find out how much your car is worth, so that you can set a decent asking price and assess any deal you’re offered.

It’s a good idea to check out the competition and search sites like Gumtree to help you judge the right price to offer your car for. Check out Gumtree’s Car Price Index to get a sense of the average selling price for your motor, but also look around to see what other sellers are offering and remember to also take into account any extras fitted to your car, as well as its history, mileage and condition to help you make a decision.

Next, take the time to prepare your car for sale. Not only could this mean that you sell the car more quickly, it might also mean you get more money for it.

At the very least, make sure it’s clean and tidy inside and outside, but it might be worth considering a professional valet. After all, if a £20 clean adds £100 to the value of the car, you’re quids in.

Likewise, go around the car and check that all the electrics work, that all the tyres (including the spare) are in good condition, that all the mechanical bits are in good working order – Gumtree also recommends that you have all the parts you need to reassure potential buyers you have the necessary accessories for the car you are selling.

If you come across any minor problems or damage, it’s worthwhile getting them fixed. But, you don’t have to fix everything; the older a car is, the more likely it is that buyers will be prepared to put up with the odd ‘war wound’ here and there. Also, if your car has an MOT that is due to run out in the near future, consider getting a fresh one done.

Research from Gumtree found that in a survey of 2,000 Brits, 50% of people’s biggest fear around buying vehicles online is being ripped off.* Therefore, make sure to gather together all the paperwork you have for the car. This is not just because a clean bill of health and a full history will make the car more appealing, but also because any obvious problem provides the buyer with the perfect opportunity to try and beat you down on price.

Selling a car yourself doesn’t need to be a difficult task, and there are key ways that you can ensure the process runs as smoothly as possible. Gumtree lists safety advice on buying and selling cars in a number of areas, including its Help Centre and on its dedicated motors advice portal, The Inside Track.


Where should you sell?

It may be a surprise, but where you sell your car can have a huge influence on how much you get for it. An auction or car-buying website will certainly get rid of your car quickly, but you’ll probably get a relatively low amount of money, because the buyer will want to maximise their profit when they sell the car on.

You’ll probably get more selling or part-exchanging at a dealer, but selling the car yourself is likely to be the way to get the most money – 10 to 15% more than selling to a dealer, according to the Money Advice Service. If you advertise on Gumtree, you’ll be putting your car on one of the biggest free classified ad sites and a trusted buying and selling community – where users are encouraged to meet with one another to complete their trades.

A Gumtree spokesperson commented, “When looking for the best place to sell your car, Gumtree is the leading destination for selling your vehicle locally and with little fuss.  The recent integration of to the Gumtree platform means more choice and more potential buyers for sellers than ever before.”

Gumtree’s tops tips for sellers include:

  • Meet in person – it’s the only way to make sure your buyer is for real before you part with your goods
  • Take a friend – Always take a friend or family member along with you when meeting in person after connecting online, and be sure to meet in a public location
  • Exchange payment safely – there are many options to transfer money, both online and in person, however it’s important to consider the situation to decide what payment method is best for you

However, you’ll need to have time – and the patience – to create an ad, as well as respond all the enquiries. You’ll also need to make yourself and the car available for potential buyers to view.

If you do decide to advertise the car, it’s important to price it right. If you set the asking price too high, no one will take a second look. At the same time, though, you do need to leave a little wriggle room because potential buyers will expect to be able to haggle the price down a little.

Beyond that, you can be pretty certain that the first thing people will look at in an advert are the pictures of your car, so you need to make sure they stand out. After all, to receive the full price for your car, you need people to look at your advert and think, ‘That looks nice.’

The first rule of car photography is to make sure the car looks good before you even think about picking up a camera. So, ensure that it’s clean and tidy inside and out, give it a good wash and throw away any clutter from inside.

In terms of locations, choose somewhere bright, with a plain background. If possible, only shoot the car when it’s dry and in daylight, and try to take the photos from a natural height. Don’t crouch down or stand on something to make them look more dramatic.

How you write your advert – making the car more attractive to potential buyers – is also crucial. And, remember: it’s against the law to mis-describe a car, so you must be honest and as accurate as possible in what you say, and include any defects you know about.

The number of owners the car has had, and whether you’ve made any modifications, can be of interest to a potential buyer. You can also include details like the car’s MOT, warranty information, service history and any attractive, optional features it may have.

Above all, though, be concise. Often between 50 and 75 words is the ideal length for an online advert; and you should avoid block capitals (which make the advert harder to read) and clichés, such as ‘lovely driver’ and ‘first to see will buy’. Think of your audience – don’t use terms that won’t mean anything to buyers, and remember to do a spellcheck before you post.

What’s great about all this is that there’s nothing complicated about any of it, and none of it requires any specialist knowledge. So, there’s no reason that you shouldn’t get the right deal when you sell your car. And if you need more tips on how to buy and sell online, check out Gumtree’s free downloadable guide to ‘The Etiquette of Buying and Selling Online’.


Still not sure about selling your car? Then begin by seeing how much your car might be worth.


* Research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Gumtree. Total sample size was 2,004 UK adults. Survey conducted online between 6th and 8h June 2018. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).


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