Viewings, test drives & haggling with potential buyers

This is probably the scariest part of selling a car for most people. Dealing with potential buyers can be a little intimidating at first. The thing to remember is that they won’t all be experts and they do want to buy a car – so try and help them do that.

Viewings & test drives

Even on eBay, many people like to view and/or test drive a car before they buy. This is reasonable but you should insist on people pre-booking their viewings and test drives. You should also ask for their name and telephone number and it is quite reasonable to ask to see some ID – a driving licence is ideal and enables you to confirm that they are entitled to drive.

Always accompany potential buyers on test drives. If the car is a two-seater and they want to take a friend, hold your ground and insist. Your insurance won’t cover you if you give someone the keys and let them drive off!

Important warning – Insurance for test drives

Does your car insurance cover any other drivers driving your car? Probably not. Even if a buyer’s own car insurance does cover them to drive other vehicles, it will probably only be third party cover – meaning that you won’t be able to claim if they cause any damage to your car.

I suspect a large number of test drives take place without any insurance cover at all, which is an offence, although you are unlikely to get caught.

One solution is to use the services of a company that offers daily insurance – car insurance by the day. This will enable your buyers to take out their own insurance cover before they test drive your vehicle. However, unless you are selling a high value car, I suspect that most potential buyers will refuse to do this.

Doing the deal

If your potential buyer has inspected the car, test driven it and still likes it, they will probably start haggling on price.

If your car is in good order this stage is easier – just aim to haggle down the price to somewhere around your original valuation (before you added the 10%) on.

If you car does need some work doing then you will have to agree a discount to reflect this with the buyer – or convince them that your price already takes this into account.

If you can’t agree on the cost of any necessary work, you can always get a garage to provide a written quotation and use that as a bargaining tool.

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