Selling a car privately or to a dealer

Some folks are blessed with razor sharp negotiation skills, while others couldn’t sell ice to an Eskimo. If you fall in the latter group of hapless negotiators, make sure you follow the tips in this article to get the best deal for your soon to be former ride.

What paperwork do I need to sell my car?


A valid proof of identification will serve as verification of your ownership against the accompanying vehicle documentation. Be sure to keep a copy of this handy and also ensure to get a copy of the buyer’s ID document.

Proof of ownership

You should receive a copy if this when the car has been fully paid up to confirm that you, and not the bank, are the de facto owner of the vehicle that you are selling. If you don't have a copy, make sure you speak to the financial institution that financed your initial purchase. If you bought the vehicle in cash, then you should have the documentation in your possession.

Settlement letter

If you still owe money on the car you’ll need a settlement letter from the financial institution. This will inform the potential buyer of the amount outstanding on the vehicle and provide them with the information they need to engage the sale.

Change of ownership letter

If all goes well and a sale is agreed on, you’ll need to fill out the section of the form that pertains to the seller. The buyer will need to provide his or her details to complete the form and the transfer of ownership. As the seller make sure you have this document handy.

New vehicle registration letter

This is another document you’ll need from your nearest traffic department. The buyer will need this to complete the transfer of ownership so have it ready when you’ve agreed to the sale to avoid any hiccups or delays.

Proof of sale

The proof of sale document should include the agreed price for the car, the condition and any agreements that were entered into between yourself and the buyer. Include the car;s registration number, VIN number, seller/buyer contact details and addresses. Make sure you keep a copy of the document for some time after the sale.

Roadworthy certificate

You won’t get very far without a valid roadworthy certificate so be sure your vehicle has been tested and passed a roadworthy test and have this ready for inspection by any potential buyer.

Service history and receipts

Documented service history and receipts for any repairs done will give a buyer peace of mind that the vehicle has been well looked after while in your care. Always keep your service book updated and service your car by a reputable service centre.

Is selling a car to a dealer better than selling it privately?

In most cases, you’ll get a better deal for your car from a private sale. This is simply because car dealers are in the business of buying and selling to make the biggest profit margins that they can. A really interested private buyer will often fork out a little more in order to secure the sale.

How do I sell a financed car to a dealer?

There isn’t much difference between selling a financed car to a dealership or a private individual apart from the fact that dealerships will be well versed in the process of buying a financed vehicle and will usually go through the process much faster than a private buyer.

How do I get the best deal for my car?

Taking good care of your car is the best investment you can make. While any vehicle’s value drops the minute it comes off the showroom floor, this doesn’t mean it’ll worth less than a packet of Simba chips by the time you sell it.

Giving your car a good valet and repairing any issues before putting your car up for sale could mean the difference between a sale and an unimpressed buyer. Shiny tyres and black trim can help enhance the appearance of even the most forlorn car. When trying to get the best deal every little bit counts, so focus on the details and make your car look as attractive as possible.

Should I sell my car online?

Putting your car up for sale on a platform like Gumtree is a great way to market your intention to sell your car. Online platforms have access to thousands of potential buyers, some of whom are looking for your exact car. Practice safety and common sense when doing so and you could be walking away with a pocket full of cash towards your new car in no time.

Selling a car need not be a daunting task. With the right research and following the above steps, it can be done by a novice. But if you’re still not feeling sure, ask an experienced friend to walk the path with you. Unforseen mistakes in the process could end up being very costly.

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