In this article you will find tips on how to successfully sell your car to a private seller. It doesn't matter if you want to sell a car for €1000,- or €15.000,-. These tips are easy to apply for anyone who wants to sell their car successfully.

Prepare the car for sale 

If you want to sell a car at the highest possible price, it is necessary to do a little preparatory work. If you want to do it in between your other daily chores, you always forget a few things that are important for the sale. 

That is why it is important to schedule a morning/afternoon to prepare the car for sale. And if you have the opportunity, then it is smart to avoid the weekends. The car wash is often very busy then and you don't want to get stuck in a traffic jam. Tuesday morning for example is a perfect time to visit the car wash and often you have the advantage of a "Happy hour", which saves you a few euros.

Make sure your car has at least 6 months MOT 

Although the MOT does not say much about the state of repair, buyers on sales sites such as Marktplaats often use the filter "Minimum 6 months MOT".

So if your car does not meet these requirements, it will not be shown to buyers who use this filter. That is why it is important to have 6 months MOT on your car, especially for cars from € 2500,-. 

The tyres

An important part that is important for the MOT and relatively cheap to fix are worn tyres. If the tyres are worn out, you could choose to have used premium tyres fitted with a sufficient profile. Used tyres from, for example, Michelin, are generally more appreciated by the buyer than budget tyres from China. 

The brakes

The brakes are perhaps the most crucial part of a car. If your car cannot slow down, or cannot slow down enough, this can have nasty consequences. It is therefore an important part to have in order. So if you know that brake discs and/or brake pads are insufficient for the MOT, have them replaced. The cost of replacing brake discs varies greatly from garage to garage. Some garages ask for more than 400./ euro. Google on brake discs and pads "your type of car" and you will get them for most models for less than 100 euros. A good mechanic can replace a set in about an hour. So if a garage charges 400,- euro you can ask yourself if this is a fair price. 

Other things to watch out for during the MOT

Apart from the tyres and brakes, the bodywork, emissions, steering knuckles and ball joints can sometimes cause problems at the inspection. When a car gets old like a youngtimerThen it can get rust. In some places, such as the mudguards, this is not a problem, but if there is rust in the sills and the subframe, it can cause problems at the inspection.
If you know in advance that the bodywork has welding work, you could also offer the car to a dealer. Depending on the make of the car and to a lesser extent on the model, you will receive an offer from a dealer. This offer is in many cases low, but before you reject an offer, calculate the costs you will have to incur to get the car MOT-approved, and don't forget the road tax and insurance costs. When you add all these up, it can be quite interesting to sell your car to a dealer.

For budget cars (up to +/- €1500.-), you have to calculate whether the costs for a new MOT outweigh the possible benefits. An example calculation below of a VW Polo from 2003. 

The car still has 3 months of MOT and you have noticed that potential buyers find this too short. Therefore, you decide to do a pre-inspection with the following result: 

Rejection points:

  • 2 tyres below the minimum tread depth. Cost 120.- Euros. 
  • One steering ball joint has too much play and must be replaced. Cost 90.- Euros.
  • Cost of MOT check. Cost 40.- Euros.   
  • Insurance and road tax. Cost 1 month 50,- Euros. 
  • Car advertising on Marktplaats. Cost 25,- euro.

The total cost of preparing the car for sale in the above example is therefore 325. So if you want to sell the car for 1,500 euros, then you will have a net 1175,- euro about it. A VW Polo will fetch between 900 and 1000 Euros in the trade without an MOT, and in this case you do not have the hassle of people at the door. So there is a difference of 200-300 euros between selling your car to a dealer and selling it to a private person, the choice is yours. 

Damage repair if applicable

If a car in the middle and high segments has damage, this can be a big problem for private buyers. Therefore, it may be wise to have major damage repaired. When it comes to minor damage, such as restyling dents and a few scratches, it is better to do this repair in consultation with the potential buyer. Perhaps he or she will not object or it can be repaired with the help of the insurance. Large damages are a different story; if you put your car on Marktplaats with damage, buyers are more inclined to look further for a car without damage.
As I wrote earlier, the selling price is important. If you choose to have damage repaired on a car with a selling price of €1500, it is obviously not worth it to have large/expensive damage repaired. You usually do not earn this amount back when selling to a private person. 

If you still want to repair damage to an older car, go and look at a car wrecking yard. There is a lot of sheet metal to be found for current models. If, for example, there is a dent in one of the doors of your Golf 4, you can find a used door at a scrapyard for a song. Because so many Golf 4s have been sold in the past, you can always find one in the right colour. The same goes for bonnets and tailgates. Wings and bumpers are often more difficult to assemble.

Presenting a car for sale  

If you want to sell your car quickly and successfully to a private person, it must be presentable. This means that it has to be washed inside and out. It is not for nothing that accessions are completely taken care of at a dealer before they are placed in the showroom. 

If you have been smoking in your car, it may be useful to have a so-called ozone treatment done. During this treatment, so-called (O3) molecules are sprayed into the car. These molecules have the property to bind to oxidisable molecules and destroy them. For a successful ozone treatment you usually have to lose your car for 24 hours, so keep this in mind. The costs for the treatment vary between 60 and 100 Euros. If you find these costs too high, or simply don't have the time, then it is wise to clean the upholstery of the car with vinegar and water. For the hard parts, there is a so-called cockpit spray. Besides this spray, you can also use wet wipes and if you have children, you probably know about baby wipes, which are also very suitable for this job. 

After cleaning the car, it is time to take pictures of the car. The following paragraph gives tips on how to take a good picture of a car. The paragraph ends with some examples. 

Taking good photos of your car for sale

The photos of your car that you are going to post on Marktplaats are essential for a successful sale. This is because there are probably more people who want to sell a similar car. When people scroll through the adverts on Marktplaats, your photos should stand out. So first find a suitable spot, where you can take your pictures quietly and where there are not too many distractions in the background.
A car park at a DIY store or garden centre is often sufficient. Of course, it is important not to do this during busy shopping hours. If you want to take a photo of the car after washing it, wait until there is no more water coming out of the drain before you take the photo. Some people think that the drops on the ground are leaks. Therefore, it is better to wait until the car is completely dry. 

Take pictures of all the views, the interior and any service booklets or bills from the past period, this inspires confidence in buyers. Here are a few examples of a  youngtimera BMW 318td compact: 

You could add a few more pictures like the one of the maintenance booklets, one with the tailgate open, also with the benches flat and finally one of the engine. As I wrote before, it is wise to mention major damages and also include them in the picture. This prevents disappointment and an unpleasant situation with potential buyers, who sometimes come from far to have a look at the car. So again, if you want to sell a car in the higher segment, it is best to have large damages repaired, restyle dents and small scratches are often not a problem.  

If you are going to post the car on Marktplaats, crop the picture so that the car stands out (almost all smartphones have this option). Marktplaats automatically cropped their images, which can make your car stand out a bit. After you have added your car, make sure it stands out in the list of cars of the same type. The list shows you whether Marktplaats has cropped the pictures too much. If Marktplaats has cropped the picture too much, it is best to edit the picture on your smartphone and upload it to Marktplaats again. The next section describes how to place an effective ad on Marktplaats. 

Place a good advertisement on Marktplaats  

Now that you have completed all the preparations, you can start creating an advertisement on Marketplace. 

Although there are websites where you can offer your car for free (speurders, autoscout24 and autotrack), Marktplaats has won the war and is where most cars are placed, viewed and sold. The 25,- euro Marktplaats asks for an advertisement is not small, but if you want to sell your car quickly, you can't escape it. 

If you are going to post a car on Marktplaats, I would advise you to do it on a laptop or desktop, and certainly not using Marktplaats's app. Although this app works great, it often doesn't pick up the license plate number. One consequence of this is that the NAP label is not shown with your advertisement. Potential buyers can't see whether your car's odometer reading is correct. In the example below you can see that the advertisement has a NAP check mark. Please make sure that this is correct. When the check mark does not appear, but you are still convinced that the odometer reading is correct, please contact Marktplaats's customer service. You will be asked to remove the ad as soon as possible and place it again. They will then refund you the amount paid for the first advertisement.  

Characteristics and filters in Marketplace 

If you enter the license plate number via the Marktplaats website, most of the details are filled in for you. Of course, it is important that you check the details carefully and add any options that your car may have. This is important because visitors often use filters. It would be a shame if potential buyers did not see your advertisement because you forgot to fill in that the car has a tow bar, but buyers do filter on that. 

I have experienced this myself when buying a car; when I am looking for a car, I want it to have cruise control, so I used this filter in my search, but I did not find a car that appealed to me. Then I did the search without the filter and there I saw a car that met my requirements, but according to the filter it did not have cruise control. Because I know which cars have cruise control and which do not, and because I was convinced that this car should have it, I decided to send the seller a message. But the provider forgot to fill in the cruise control. 

In this example, the seller is unnecessarily missing out on many buyers who, like me, use the filter. Therefore, it is important that you enter all the options. 

The ad text 

If you have gone through the above steps properly, it is time to write the advertisement text. The text is the final part of the advertisement and has to make sure that buyers contact you or make an offer for your car. To achieve this, the text needs to be complete and you need to refute any objections people might have. Therefore it is best to answer the questions below in the text: 

  • What maintenance has been carried out in recent years. List the parts that have been replaced in the past.   
  • State how long the car has been owned and why it is being sold. "The arrival of a lease car" is often used and in some cases this is undoubtedly true, but if not, don't write it down. People understand when you need a new car after 2 years, or maybe sooner. 
  • Be honest about when the car has defects and whether you are going to fix them before the sale. In the case of older cars, for example, a youngtimer there are almost always major or minor defects. Not mentioning them may arouse suspicion. 
  • Indicate when the car can be viewed and be inviting, you are the seller in this case. 
  • If you are selling the car privately, then trade-in is usually not desirable. You don't have to mention this directly in the advertisement. When people ask this question by sending a message, they have already made a first move towards buying your car. You can reply that you are a private person and unfortunately cannot buy a car. You can also ask them to come and see the car. If they agree to this, it is the second step to a sale. During the visit, you can mention that you bought a new car yourself and that selling your own car is not such a big problem, and of course you can refer to this article after you have sold the car. 

Hopefully the above tips will help you sell your car faster and more successfully. If you have any additional questions, please post them below as a comment. I will then respond as quickly as possible.