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How to Save Money by Selling Your Car

How to Save Money by Selling Your Car

8 Tips for Selling Your Car

Selling your car can be a strategic way to manage your finances if you can live without one or if you no longer need one of your cars.

Some people downsize or buy a cheaper car while clearing debt too.

It might be daunting, the idea of selling your car, getting it ready, dealing with buyers etc but with these tips, you can make it easier.

Here’s how you can sell your car and save money today.

Preparing to Sell Your Car

Before you list your car for sale there are some things you need to do to prepare it.

Fortunately, most of these things don’t take long but they do make a difference to the price you will get for your car.

1. Clean and Detail Your Car

A clean, well-maintained car can attract higher offers because it shows the car has been taken car of.

You can choose to detail your car yourself which might take a couple of hours if done properly, or get a professional to do it.

Professional detailing might cost around $100-$200 but if you are short on time or don’t want to buy everything needed to detail the car once, then it can be worth it.

It’s up to you if you feel the cost of the products and the time to do it will be more than the professional services.

If you choose to use a professional, get a few quotes for detailing the car then search for discounts and coupons to see if you can get a better rate.

8 tips for selling your car: How to save money by selling your car

2. Gather and Organise Paperwork

Complete records build buyer confidence and justify a higher asking price when it comes time to negotiate.

Keeping a logbook with the service history for the whole time you own the car will help with this significantly.

If you haven’t kept a logbook, contact the mechanic who services your car and see if you can get duplicate receipts and have a logbook filled out to help with the sale.

This paperwork shows the car has been taken care of, what work has been done, when it was done and can help the buyer determine what might need to be done soon.

Some mechanics even list on your receipts what work will be due soon to help you budget and this can help when selling too.

Consider getting a roadworthy certificate too as this provides buyer confidence and makes selling easier.

Longer registration is more appealing to buyers than a 1 to 3 month registration but that is an extra expense.

Buyers are less likely to negotiate down if they see the car has been well-maintained and you have more ground to push for the price you set since you can prove the car is maintained and has a long registration.

3. Take High-Quality Photos

Quality photos make your listing stand out and attract more buyers.

Take the photos immediately after the car is detailed, preferably in a location that is not immediately outside your home (for safety reasons).

Pictures from every angle, inside and out plus the odometer and engine help sell the car as buyers can see exactly what they are getting.

High-quality photos often lead to a faster sale and the faster you sell your car, the sooner you can stop paying for insurance and other car-related expenses.

8 tips for selling your car

Listing Your Car

There are multiple places you can list your car for sale.

With each platform you will need an account, have the photos, a good description and be available to message or respond to phone calls about the car.

4. Write a Detailed Description

Transparency about the car’s condition saves time and avoids unnecessary showings.

Clear descriptions reduce the back-and-forth with uninterested buyers, saving you time and effort.

If there are any issues with the car or any damage, be honest about it otherwise when buyers turn up and discover it, they will be frustrated and the sale won’t go through.

Think about what you wanted to know about a car when you were buying and include all the details.

How long have you had the car, what do you use it for, what are the features, are there any extras you’ve had added., why are you selling etc.

Those are all questions buyers are likely to ask so having it in the description reduces the messages about the car and means only serious buyers will contact you.

5. Set a Competitive Price

Proper pricing attracts serious buyers and reduces time on the market.

Do some research to see the private sale price of your type of car is going for.

There are websites that can help you determine the price or you can look at the platforms you want to sell on to see how much they are going for.

Remember, many people like to negotiate and while prices for used cars went up significantly a few years ago, that is not the case now.

Only select cars can attract a premium price so be realistic with your pricing but don’t price it too low either.

While you might think a lower price will attract more buyers, it can also make people wary that it is a scam.

Price similar to what you see other cards listed at and be open to negotiating.

Setting the right price helps avoid prolonged listings, saving on advertising fees and the costs of maintaining the car while it’s for sale.

8 tips for selling your car

Selling Your Car

The car is listed for sale, buyers are interested, now what?

6. Communicate Well and Negotiate

No doubt you will have to respond to numerous messages or phone calls about the car.

Then you will need to meet the potential buyers, discuss the details, do a test drive (be sure to get a photo of their licence and do a test drive safely!) and so on.

Negotiating is an art, so learn the best tips for it. Know the value of your car, the value of similar ones on the market and decide beforehand how much you are willing to negotiate, if at all.

For example, each time I have sold a car, I have had numerous buyers lined up but always went with the first person to contact/arrange a time to meet has first choice.

Having multiple buyers in line made it easy to turn down any offer that did not meet the price I had.

Once, I was selling a car and when the buyer turned up, it was a car full of men who tried to intimidate me and pressure me into a lower price.

I stood firm and told them they either pay the price or I leave since I have many buyers lined up.

They kept pushing, I was adamant and when I went to get in my car and leave, they suddenly came up with the full amount.

Some of the comments they said made it clear they used this tactic all the time but I refused to be bullied and they were shocked.

Ultimately, I got the price I wanted but I hated the whole experience.

7. Be Aware of Scams

Anyone that contacts saying they are from an off-shore oil rig, or they are overseas or deployed or need a family member or courier to get it etc is a scam.

If something sounds too good to be true, it is.

When you are selling, if you get an offer or there is communication that sounds a bit off, you can ask others such as in budget groups on Facebook.

People will be quick to help you work out if it’s genuine or not.

8. Consider Selling to a Car Buying Service

A car buying service can result in a quick and hassle-free sales process plus helps you avoid scam artists.

While you might get slightly less money than selling privately, the time saved can be used more productively elsewhere, and you avoid costs related to extended selling periods.

We did this with a car when we moved to Melbourne as the frustration of timewasters, lowball offers and the cost of keeping the car made it a hassle to do ourselves.

Selling it to a car buying service was so quick and easy yet it wasn’t something I had ever considered before then.

If the process is too much for you to do yourself, look at your options and see what would work best for you.

8 tips for selling your car

How You Can Save

Owning a car is expensive so if you can live without one, it can save a small fortune.

I’ve added up the cost of car ownership in a few of the cities I’ve lived and it is thousands of dollars a year, more when you add in the cost of replacing it eventually.

So how can you save by selling your car?

1. Eliminate Ongoing Costs

Owning a car comes with ongoing costs such as insurance, registration, maintenance, and fuel.

By selling your car, you eliminate these monthly expenses.

On average, car owners in the US spend around $9,282 annually on car ownership costs, when I added up my own costs, this was pretty accurate for me in each city I’ve lived (Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Noosa)​ ​.

If you no longer need a car due to remote work, moving to an area with good public transportation, or having access to another vehicle, selling your car can free up a significant amount of money.

2. Avoid Depreciation

Cars lose value over time. The longer you keep a car, the less it’s worth.

The average car loses about 20% of its value within the first year and about 60% after five years​.

Selling your car while it still has a higher value helps you get the most money out of it, avoiding further depreciation, especially if you don’t need to replace.

This tip also helps when buying a car because instead of buying new, if you buy one a couple of years old, you can save thousands.

3. Reduce Loan Payments

If you have a car loan, selling your car can eliminate monthly loan payments.

This can free up your budget for other financial goals or reduce debt.

Check the details of your contract about paying the loan out early so you know what fees you are up for and the total cost.

Sometimes selling a car doesn’t cover the whole loan and you might still be left with some debt so check everything thoroughly.

4. Gain Financial Flexibility

Selling your car provides you with a lump sum of cash that can be used for other important expenses, investments, or savings if you don’t have debt.

I have bought and sold numerous cars over the years and often not needed to replace it instantly so was able to use the money to clear debt, travel, invest etc.

It can also be a great way to build your emergency fund quickly if you don’t have one or start saving for a house or something.

8 tips for selling your car

5. Lower Transportation Costs

If you live in an area with good public transportation, ridesharing options, or the ability to walk or bike, you might find that these alternatives are cheaper than owning a car.

Public transportation and ridesharing can be significantly less expensive than the combined costs of car ownership but they mright take more time.

Look at the options available to reduce it further such as monthly public transit passes that are often a fraction of the cost of car ownership​.

Not all cities are easy to get around and not everyone can live without a car but if you can, or if your household can use one instead of two, it can make a significant difference to your budget.


Selling your car strategically helps you get the most value while minimising costs.

This process not only provides immediate financial benefits but also helps you avoid long-term expenses related to maintaining a car you no longer need.

How to get a $125 bonus from ING

Get a $125 Bonus from ING

Until 30 September 2024, ING is offering $125 cash to new account holders. Here’s what you need to do:

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Then you get your $125 the following month. Note: The $1,000 deposit doesn’t need to be $1,000 at once, it can be smaller amounts as long as it is $1,000 total within the month.

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