Dealing with buyersSelling a car privately can be daunting but knowing what to expect and how to deal with buyers helps you avoid running into any problems.

The golden rules of dealing with buyers are:
• Never let a buyer test drive your car alone
• Make sure they have a valid driving licence and suitable insurance cover, or you could be liable for any accidents
• Ask a close friend or relative to be with you
• Keep hold of the car keys at all times and never leave the buyer in the car with the keys
• Let buyers follow their own route, as many are suspicious if you dictate which roads to take
• Don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down or stop – it’s still your car


Make sure you’ve prepared your car for sale:
• Allow the buyer to take their time and view the car properly
• Avoid distracting the buyer from carrying out their own checks
• Most buyers will want to start the car when the engine is cold, so try not to drive the car shortly before a viewing

Used car inspections are very popular. The buyer will pay the cost and, if you’re serious about selling the car, you shouldn’t have any objections.


Buyers will be keen to haggle on your asking price. You need to be firm, without being unreasonable.

Decide the lowest price you’re willing to sell the car before you begin negotiations. Don’t decline a sale if a buyer’s highest offer is only slightly below your set price – it could cost you far more in re-advertising fees, time and hassle.


The best way to take payment is in cash and at a bank, so you can pay the money straight into your account and the cashier can check for fake notes:
• Ask to be paid in cash – this is the safest method of payment
• If you receive payment by cheque or electronic transfer, keep possesion of the car until the funds transfer
• Ask the buyer for ID with an address and landline telephone number

More in-depth selling advice:

Setting the price | Writing a car advert | Taking great photos
Preparing your car for sale | Dealing with buyers
Dealing with canvassers
Closing the deal | Doing the paperwork

How Auto Trader can help:

Closing the deal
Sell your car