Trading In vs Private Sale

When your clients are ready to upgrade their car to new model, they are sometimes faced with the dilemma of how to sell their current car. There are two common methods to consider: trading it in at a dealership, or selling the car privately.

Both methods have their pros and cons, so how you or your clients decide to go about it will depend on your priorities and needs. Do you need to sell it quickly? How much time do you have? Or do you need to get as much money for it as possible so you can finally go on that holiday?

Trading in to a Dealer


  • A car dealership will accept a car in any condition. You obviously won’t get top dollar if repairs are required, but you will easily rid yourself of the car and all its headaches
  • It’s simple, convenient and saves you time. The deal can be done in a matter of minutes and the dealership takes care of all the transfer paperwork
  • The trade-in amount can be deducted from the price of your new car


  • You generally won’t make as much money on your trade at a dealership. You are likely to receive 10-20% less than market value
  • Negotiating with a dealer to get the best trade-in price, can sometimes be daunting. Make sure you are prepared to haggle

Private Sale


  • Selling privately is likely to put more money in your pocket
  • You have control of the selling price
  • If you have a popular model car, with all the features that customers want, all your service history and low mileage, your car is likely to sell quickly privately


  • You will need to do your research on numerous websites to decide on the acceptable “market price” for your car
  • The car will need to be spotless and all repairs done, as the private buyer will scrutinise the vehicle from top to bottom
  • You’ll need to arrange your own advertising
  • It’s best to have proof of your vehicle’s service and maintenance history to avoid curly questions from buyers
  • Most buyers ask for a mechanical inspection report before purchasing, so it’s best to be on the front foot with this
  • Waiting around for people to come and look at the car can be tiresome and unproductive…not to mention it could take weeks or months to finally find the right buyer
  • Make sure you ask your buyer for ID and check they have insurance before test driving your car. Most importantly don’t sign any transfer papers until you have been paid for it

PPSR Search

Whether you are selling privately or through a dealership, you should consider doing a PPSR (Personal Property Securities Register) search before selling. This will provide you with a certificate to hand on to the prospective buyer proving that there’s no finance owing on the vehicle. The buyer will have peace of mind that they aren’t taking on any debt with the second-hand car and it will speed up the sales process.

Car Buying Service

Another option is to consider a car buying service and avoid the dealerships and selling privately altogether. Our sister company Fleet Avenue, can arrange to buy your new dream car at a discounted fleet price, deliver the car to your home or work and take away your trade-in at the same time. Out with the old and in with the new without leaving your house!

Just remember, consider what your needs are, and whether it’s worth selling privately and possibly making more money, or if you’d benefit by trading in and saving both time and effort. We have experts on hand to assist you with all things cars – from unbiased advice on the best cars for the best resale, through to finding you the best finance options for personal or business use.