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How do I sell my car? 8 ways to sell your second-hand car in Australia

Discover 8 ways to sell your car in Australia. We’ll show you how to sell at a higher price, or more quickly. Plus, find out what paperwork you’ll need.

Linden Brown

How to sell your car for more money (with less time and effort)

Have you been wondering, “How do I sell my car?” You’re not alone. When it comes time to sell a second-hand car, sometimes you discover it’s not so simple. It can be frustrating and time consuming.

In this article, we’re compiling everything you need to know about selling your car in Australia – where to sell your car, how to sell it, and the pros and cons of each option.

We’ll also take you through another option. Maybe you don’t need to sell your car.

Yes. Just consider for a minute: what if you could hold onto your car and start earning money from it, like Priyanka, whose car pays for itself?

Or Steve, who’s earned nearly $30,000 from one car alone, and has turned car sharing into a business? As an alternative to selling, have you thought of sharing on Car Next Door for a regular income?

Before you make the choice, have a quick read of this complete guide. There’s lots of tips that’ll help put more dollars back in your pocket, whichever road you choose.

How do I sell my car privately?

8 steps to sell a second-hand car


There are eight things to do when you sell a second hand car, no matter which state you live in.

1. Get a valuation

2. Set your private sale price

3. Clean your car

4. Photograph your car

5. Advertise your car

6. Make sure you can be contacted

7. Negotiate the price and take a deposit

8. Accept final payment

Now let’s look at those in a bit more detail.


1. Get a valuation

First, you need to know how much your car is worth. This may mean getting a valuation. You can get one from a car dealer, and you can do that over the phone. You can also look online with the RACQ car price guide if you’re in Queensland, or use a reputable service like Red Book to understand the fair market value of your car.

2. Set your private sale price

Once you know how much your car is worth, there’s something else to consider too. Ask yourself: “How quickly do I need to sell my car?” If you need a really quick sale, price it at the lower end. If you can wait, and have the spare time to put into a longer sale, then price it at the higher end.

3. Clean your car

After the price, presentation is really important to buyers. Clean your car thoroughly, or consider getting it professionally detailed.

4. Photograph your car in the early morning or late afternoon

You’re going to need to catch a buyer’s attention. Really good photos can help you do that. Try to photograph your car at the beginning or end of the day – there’s a reason they call it the ‘golden hour’ in photography circles. Choose a clean background, and get photos of:

  • front and rear (at a slight angle)
  • interior
  • dashboard
  • engine
  • boot.

You could also include photos of the wheels, logbook and spare keys.

5. Advertise your car or park it in your local area

You’re ready to advertise! At this point you might wonder, “Where do I sell my car?The good news is that there are lots of options for a private sale. Some will be free and some you need to pay for.

  • List your car online.
  • Advertise in your local newspaper.
  • Find your local place where cars are parked for sale.

There are pros and cons to each. Let’s take a closer look at your options when selling second hand cars privately.

List your car online

Listing your car online to sell a second-hand car is becoming increasingly popular. It’s where many buyers look first. There are lots of sites to choose from, such as Car Sales, Cars Guide and Auto Trader. You can also list it on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.

Make sure you understand how much it will cost you to list, but also how popular the website is with buyers. Saving on a half-price ad isn’t helpful if people don’t see your ad.

Once you’ve found a site you’re happy with, you need to create your ad. Here’s what you can include:

  • make, model and body style
  • transmission type
  • build date
  • condition
  • distance travelled
  • engine size
  • accessories, optional equipment & special features
  • registration expiry (or if unregistered)
  • the asking price
  • your contact information.

Write a detailed and honest description. And use a friendly, conversational tone – it may appeal to buyers.

Body: While many buyers are looking online, people do still search their local papers too. Use the same principles to write your newspaper ad, but keep in mind you may be charged per word. If so, consider your words carefully. You’ll find that many words simply aren’t necessary.

Find a local selling spot to park your car

Is there a well-known spot in your area where people sell second-hand cars? Great. You’ve just got yourself some free advertising. These spots are often in high-visibility areas with lots of parking space. Make yourself a sign and you’re ready to join the ranks.

Once you’ve got your ads running, or parked your car in just the right spot, you need to be ready to field any enquiries that come in.

6. Make sure you’re easily contactable

Listing your car online to sell a second-hand car is becoming increasingly popular. It’s where many buyers look first. There are lots of sites to choose from, such as Car Sales, Cars Guide and Auto Trader. You can also list it on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.

Make sure you understand how much it will cost you to list, but also how popular the website is with buyers. Saving on a half-price ad isn’t helpful if people don’t see your ad.

Once you’ve found a site you’re happy with, you need to create your ad. Here’s what you can include:

  • make, model and body style
  • transmission type
  • build date
  • condition
  • distance travelled
  • engine size
  • accessories, optional equipment & special features
  • registration expiry (or if unregistered)
  • the asking price
  • your contact information.

Write a detailed and honest description. And use a friendly, conversational tone – it may appeal to buyers.

7. Negotiate the price

You’re trying to sell a second-hand car. Unfortunately, you’re going to need to negotiate. But if you’ve done your research, then you know exactly what your car is worth, as well as what others are asking for something similar. So you just need to ask yourself, “how low will I go in order to sell my car?” Once you agree on a price, take a deposit and write a receipt.

8. Take final payment

Before the buyer drives away, they’ll need to pay in full. Don’t accept a personal cheque – it may bounce. Bank cheques, direct deposit or cash are all reliable forms of payment. You’ll need to provide another receipt, as well as all relevant documentation, spare keys and accessories.

Congratulations! Now try not to get too emotional as your car is driven away for the last time. (We know, we know, it’s just a car… but it may take you by surprise.)

Other ways to sell a second-hand car

While it usually gets you the best final price, selling privately can be stressful and time consuming. There are other ways you can sell your car that can be simpler and faster. You can:

  • trade your car in
  • sell it to a used car dealer
  • sell it on consignment
  • sell it via auction
  • sell it to the wreckers.

Trade your car in when you purchase a new car

This is by far the simplest and fastest way to sell a second-hand car. But there are two things to consider. First, this will usually give you the lowest sale price of all your options. And second, you need to replace the old car with another car. For a trade-in, you should make your car presentable, but don’t get hung up on fixing minor problems.

Contact a used car dealer

Do you like the idea of a car dealer making it quick and simple to sell your car? If you’re not looking to purchase another car, you can find a used car dealer who buys second-hand cars. Like a trade-in, you won’t get the best price for your car. But it should be an easy process.

Sell on consignment

Selling on consignment is when someone (usually a motor dealer) sells your car for you. You usually need to set your minimum price, and the seller will add their commission on top.  

Auctions

Don’t just trust anyone to do this for you. Make sure the car dealer is licensed and that you have a contract. You must also ensure you’re able to cancel the contract without penalty and sell the car privately.

Auctions are usually a fairly easy way to sell a second-hand car. But there are downsides:

  • you probably won’t get as a high a price as in a private sale
  • there are fees and commissions payable to the auction house.

On the other hand, you don’t do the advertising or deal with prospective buyers. Auction houses all vary as to their fees and arrangements, so make sure you shop around.

Wreckers

Has your car given great service, but seen better days? If your car is old and in poor condition, it probably won’t sell for much. But its parts can still be valuable – call around your local wreckers or scrap metal dealers to find out if they’ll take your car.

Quick pros and cons of sale methods

SALE METHOD PROS CONS
Sell my car by private sale Can negotiate the best price ·You need to negotiate
·Taking phone calls
·Being available for inspections
·People who don’t show up
Trade my car in ·Quick, simple and easy ·Sale price will be lower than a private sale
Sell my car by auction ·Fast and easy (usually)
·No negotiation
·Sale price will be lower than a private sale
·Pay an entry fee
·Pay commission to the auction house on sale
Sell my car by consignment ·It’s sold for you at the highest price ·Seller takes a cut of the sale price
Sell my car at the wreckers Quick, simple and easy ·Lowest return on sale price of all options


It’s clear there’s a lot to weigh up when it comes time to sell a second-hand car. And it’s not always simple. Have you considered holding onto your car and sharing it on Car Next Door instead? Ellen earns over $8,000 a year, and Zicong Wang started earning enough to quit his day job while he studied.

Now that covers most of the important parts of selling a second-hand car in Australia. But occasionally, there are slightly different rules in each state. Here’s a quick guide to selling your car in NSW, VIC, QLD, WA and SA.

How to sell a second-hand car: state rules and paperwork

How do I sell my car in NSW?


If you’re asking yourself, “How can I sell my car in Sydney?” The good news is you can follow the advice we’ve set out above. You must have a pink slip (to prove the car is roadworthy), and prove that you have the right to sell the car (with documents such as your rego papers or sales contract).
After the sale, make sure your buyer transfers the vehicle registration, and you submit a notice of disposal. If you don’t do this, you’ll still be responsible for any infringements that happen after you sell. Learn more about buying or selling a car in NSW from ServiceNSW.

How do I sell my car in Victoria?


“I need to sell my car in Melbourne.” Look no further. If you’re selling a vehicle privately, you’ll need:

a roadworthy certificate (unless exempt)

a vehicle transfer form

a copy of the registration certificate or renewal notice (to prove the right to transfer), or a myVicRoads account showing the vehicle you’re trying to sell.

When you sell a second-hand car to a car dealer, it’s their responsibility to complete the paperwork. You can check the VicRoads website for more information about selling a car in Victoria.  

Selling a car in QLD

Stop wondering, “How do I sell my car in Brisbane?” We’ve got you covered. Follow our advice above to get the best price when you sell a second-hand car. And as for the paperwork, there are four main things to remember.

  1. Make sure you have a current inspection certificate (unless exempt). This means that most light vehicles will need a safety certificate. Licensed tow trucks, heavy vehicles and buses need a Certificate of Inspection.
  2. Give the buyer's copy and registration transfer copy of the inspection certificate to the new owner. For an electronic certificate, they’ll need a copy of the certificate or the certificate number.

The new owner can’t transfer the rego without an inspection certificate, so you’ll remain liable for any tolls and fines.

  1. Get a gas certificate from an authorised gas installer if your car has gas systems.
  2. Don’t forget to transfer your registration.

To be really sure about selling your car in QLD, see the registration section of the QLD government website.

Selling a car in WA

Selling your car in Perth doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s what to do with the paperwork.

Step 1: Get a copy of the Vehicle licence transfer form.

Step 2: Fill in the Notification of change of ownership vehicle licence transfer form

Step 3: Give the Purchaser’s copy to your buyer

Step 4: Mail the Seller’s copy to the Department of Transport.
And that’s all there is to it. To learn more about selling a car in WA and download the forms, visit Transport WA.

How do I sell my car in South Australia?

When you sell a car in Adelaide, there are few things to remember. The main thing is that you need to lodge a disposal notice once you’ve sold the car. This formally transfers the registration out of your name, so you’re no longer liable for any infringements that occur.

For that, you'll need the buyer's:

  • date of birth
  • first and last name
  • South Australian driver's licence or client number
    And you’ll also need the date and time of sale, and the selling price. To lodge your disposal notice, or for more on selling a car in South Australia, visit SA Gov.

What if you could hold onto your car and start earning money from it?

It’s not always easy to sell a second-hand car. What if there was another option? There is. You can list your car on Car Next Door, and you can make a regular income from it.

This Sunshine Coast pensioner is funding his retirement, and this Cairns man turned one car into a successful fleet.

So before you make the call to sell or not, consider why you might want to rent out your car with Car Next Door.

Information included in this article is accurate as of (publish date).The information published on this blog is of a general nature only and does not consider your personal objectives, financial situation or particular needs. The information published on this site/page should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal financial or professional advice.

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