The trials and tribulations of selling cars privately.

Selling your car privately is a brilliant way of making an extra few grand. Research the market, take some great pictures of your car and let buyers know what makes it special and unique. That being said there’s many headaches that come with selling cars yourself. The continuous messages without purpose , insulting offers and general dreamers you’ll meet along the way. Some make for a damn good story though.

Over time I’ve come to realisation that most who message you about your sales post are time wasters, or can’t afford to purchase it. You’ll get the “condescending type”, they’ll tell you what’s unappealing about your vehicle, why it’s near impossible to sell and how they’re doing you a favour by lowballing you. Next there’s the “in a rush” I’ll offer you (insert low offer here) cash today. These are often just as insulting as they’re usually aiming for below book price to flip it on straight away. Then there’s my personal favourite the “ambitious part ex guy” I’ve been offered everything from a high mileage Porsche Panamera to badly specced M4 BMW’s. These people are dangerous as they’ll think they’re doing you a favour while lying to you about their cars spec and history. (“Fully loaded swop swop”) The last type I’ve encountered is rare but not isolated to a single incident. The “pen pal” someone who idolises your car for one reason or another, it’s either the perfect spec or right in their budget. They’ll ask you thousands of questions and perhaps make you an offer. Then for the kicker (insert story about funds anytime within 6 months) and they’ll ask to stay in touch to finish the deal. In reality you end up with people who never have the money and just want some cool pictures to show their mates and the story “I nearly bought an Aston”

I’ve had mixed success with selling cars, yet I’ve always achieved the desired result. My best effort was the R35 Nissan GT-R. The R35 had covered 77,000 miles or so by the time I’d finished with it , bodywork was a little tatty but the cars service history and maintenance was fantastic. Freshly serviced, new Alcon brakes supplied and good Michelin’s on all four corners. Must add it was the cheapest on the market at the time. The first “buyer” ignored the entirety of the cars service history, the upgrade TSW alloys, new brakes and fresh service. He instead moaned like a petulant child about the paintwork on an 11 year old car with 77,000 miles on it. He kept trying to knock money and I stood firm before asking him to leave. He had brought 3 mates, (without consulting me) one of whom tried telling me half the car had been painted (it hadn’t) others mentioned it’s debut on Carwow a few months prior. His overall attitude was appalling so I took great pride in denying him a test drive and rejecting his offers. However I digress as within 24 hours the car was sold for exactly the money I asked for. I made £1000 and the GT-R had departed within two days of my listing. The monster is currently being used regularly as a track car by its new owner, which makes me both happy and sad really.

Other sales to note are my supercharged Audi B7 RS4, this took a few months as I did it piece by piece. An unfortunate incident in South Wales and some failed rod bearings made the high mileage example worth about as much as a Freddo in one piece. So I stripped the few month old TTS supercharger kit and sold it for little over £9k (whole car owed me £16k). Soon followed by its bucket seats, carbon fibre airbox, coilovers, Milltek exhaust, ceramic brakes blah blah blah. Thanks to the Facebook marketplace and knowing a lot of people in the Audi RS world I was able to flip parts quickly and easily without paying extortionate fees. I did so well on my last B7 that I was able to settle a small personal loan, utilise my savings and pay for my Nissan GT-R which cost almost twice as much! My first B7 RS4 was a nightmare to shift. From the outside it was an immaculate freshly painted example with new coilovers and brakes. To everyone on the market though it was “moon mileage RS4 saloon £12k”. I ended up removing my Milltek exhaust and selling some of the carbon-fibre additions to make up some cash. £11500 later the car was gone, she’s still running well with around 170,000 miles.

I think to summarise what I’m saying is that selling cars yourself is great, providing you get the sort of figure you’re looking for. However the more expensive my cars get, the more I understand why people part-exchange. No time wasting, no viewers or test pilots. Just a quick inspection agree a number and bang it’s all done and dusted. My honest advice is if your budget is bigger than mine then part exchange. If not then buckle up and enjoy the emotional rollercoaster that is private car sales.

Published by Sam Busby

a big nosed bearded idiot who likes to write about cars. Lucky enough to have owned a few quick ones too.

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