THE TG GUIDE TO...

sell­ing your car online

Top Gear (UK) - - INTAKE -

t’s time to sell your old jalopy. And, young-fan­gled thing that you are, you de­cide to em­ploy The Web for this task. But don’t log on to the World Wide In­ter­net be­fore pe­rus­ing

handy seller’s guide!

Choose a web­site

The cor­rect listings site rather de­pends what car you’re ofoad­ing. If you’re sell­ing a run-of-the-mill Vec­tra, Vec­tra sa­loon or Vec­tra es­tate, a ma­jor site like Au­to­trader is likely your best bet. If you’re sell­ing a clas­sic 205 GTI, a hot-hatch owner’s fo­rum could be the place. If you’re sell­ing a Tri­umph Dolomite Sprint, you’re bet­ter of stand­ing in your lo­cal town square, wav­ing a bell and yelling a bit.

Write your ad­vert

We live in a post-truth age. Facts that would once have been re­garded as ab­so­lute – colour, mileage, num­ber of wheels – are now open to de­bate. Is it truly pos­si­ble, ob­jec­tively, to defne colour? Or mileage? Or num­ber of wheels? Pri­or­i­ties have shifted. For­get facts, con­cen­trate on rhythm. Iam­bic tetram­e­ter will give your ad the oomph it needs to jump of the page.

Pho­to­graph your car

Clean­li­ness, of course, is a given, but to se­cure that sale, you need to go a step be­yond with your pho­tog­ra­phy. You’re sell­ing a lifestyle here. Ac­ces­sorise your car. A copy of Flaubert’s Salammbô pok­ing sug­ges­tively from the glove­box. A mix-tape of Sade’s great­est hits perched lewdly atop the steer­ing wheel. A pair of leder­ho­sen peek­ing li­cen­tiously from be­tween the split­fold rear seats. Who doesn’t want to be part of that world?

Place your ad­vert

De­scrip­tion writ­ten, pho­tographs pho­tographed, all that re­mains is to hit the “print” but­ton on the in­ter­net, and wait for those buy­ers to come food­ing in. In TG’s ex­pe­ri­ence, a well­writ­ten, well-shot ad­vert, cor­rectly placed, could gen­er­ate as many as three ex­cited en­quiries within the frst year. Hope you’ve saved up some hol­i­day time at work!

Re­ject the first of­fer

No one likes a des­per­ate seller. Even if that frst ofer is way over your ask­ing price, even if the buyer’s pre­pared to hand over a blank cheque be­cause your grotty Elantra was the very car in which their re­cently-de­parted Great Aunt Horten­sia pro­posed to blah blah – you must, must stand frm. Say no. If they really want it, they’ll be back. Just you wait. Defnitely com­ing back. Any time now. They’re… not com­ing back, are they?

The test drive

Once you’ve fnally snared a suit­able buyer, they’ll likely de­mand a “test drive”. Care­ful. This is a com­mon scam, sure to see the buyer ei­ther mak­ing of with your car, or de­mand­ing a hefty dis­count for the “non-func­tional brakes” or “lin­ger­ing smell of death”. Do ev­ery­thing you can to avoid ofer­ing a test drive, as the faults your car does have are un­ques­tion­ably worse than those any sane buyer could imag­ine. If they do in­sist on a test drive, make sure you ac­com­pany them to pre­vent ir­re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iour. No hand­brake turns when you’re sat atop them in the driver’s seat!

Seal the deal

It’s com­mon prac­tice for the pur­chaser to de­mand a few quid of the ask­ing price by re­veal­ing them­selves as a “cash buyer”. Steal a march on them by, just be­fore the hand­shake, re­veal­ing your­self as a “cash seller” and adding £100 to the ask­ing price. Don’t know what a cash seller is? Ex­actly! Nei­ther will they!

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