Trading in versus Selling up

Let’s face it; it’s exciting to think about driving out of the dealership in a brand-new car. Whether you imagine upgrading to a newer model or simply just investing in a car to suit your lifestyle, there are plenty of makes and models out there guaranteed to fit your own individual needs.

Before you sign on the dotted line, however, you’ll have to consider what’s next for your old car. Do you simply trade it in or try and sell it yourself?

Selling Privately

Sellers often think that by selling the car themself they are going to attract a higher selling price. But, once you factor the time and effort of selling a car, the final price can often be underwhelming, especially if the value of the car is relatively low to begin with.

Typically the steps to selling a car are:

1. Roadworthiness, repairs and registration

In most states it is illegal to sell a road registered vehicle unless it has a roadworthy certificate. Most mechanics can check whether a vehicle is up to standard and provide a certificate for around $100 - $150. If the vehicle isn’t in a roadworthy condition, money must be spent and repairs be made, to ensure that the vehicle meets the mechanical and safety requirements of a RWC. Registration also needs to be considered, as a vehicle with more registration will be more attractive to a buyer then a vehicle with limited registration remaining.

2. Car Detailing & Photos

The cleanliness of a vehicle can have a high bearing on the final sale price. It provides the buyer with an insight into how your vehicle has been treated during your ownership. You can choose to spend a day cleaning your old car front badge to boot. Alternatively, you can pay a detailer anything from $60 to $200 to do this job for you. High quality photos are important in ads to highlight features and to build interest. A good camera and a clean open setting is a must for a photoshoot. Dimly lit, cramped photos from your camera phone probably won’t have the same impact as high quality photos will.

3. Vehicle Details & Ad Creation

Photos alone are simply not enough to get prospective buyers contacting you. Details on the make, model, features, specification, general condition and kilometres are all important in for the ad. Time will need to be put aside to research, draft and upload your ad online. Most car sale websites will charge you to sell your car online. To get the most out of your ad you may have to spend more money to promote your ad.

4. Dealing with Buyers

Possibly one of the most painstaking task of selling a car is dealing with buyers. Many may just be tyre kickers or joy riders. Of those that are genuinely interested, they are often looking to haggle on price. Negotiation can be awkward and can result in being pressured into a price that you are not happy with. Many sellers get to the point where they ‘just want to get rid of that old car’.

5. Transfer of Registration & Post Sale Issues

The final hurdle is transferring the registration into the new owners name. Both parties need to arrange a time and place to meet to finalise the formal part of the sale. This can also be time consuming as most motor registries are only open during business hours and everyone has the same idea during their lunch break. Now that you have given your contact details over to a stranger, expect to receive calls or messages about the condition of the car.

By going down the private selling route you will invest time, effort and money into the process. This is why it can be an attractive option to simply trade your vehicle in with a dealership and let them worry about the complicated selling process.


The convenient alternative to selling your own car is to trade your car in. A dealer trade-in is an easy hassle-free way of moving on from your old car. Most people these days are tight on time, If you are like this, the trade-in option is good for you.

It goes without saying that you should go to a dealer that has the vehicle that you want or that has a wide variety of cars to choose from.

Typically, these are the steps involved in a trade-in:

1. Research and a Tidy Up

It will be beneficial to do some homework on your vehicle, primarily how much it is worth. is an easy way to check how much your car is worth*, this should give you an idea on what to expect from the dealer. It would be a good idea to give the car a little tidy-up a quick detail can make all the difference when the Dealership comes to value it.

*Note - this is just an indicator and does not take into consideration the condition of the vehicle. Consider taking the vehicle to a dealer for a thorough valuation.

2. Negotiation With The Dealership

The dealership will have a dedicated trade-in department. Their primary role is to ensure that both parties are happy with the trade. Most dealerships are honest about the value of your car, as long as it is in good condition, you should get a fair price on the trade-in. The price that they come back to you with might be slightly lower than your research, but, this should be seen as an offset of the cost and hassle of selling the car privately.

3. Paperwork and Transfer of Registration

Once you come to an agreement, consider that a trade-in as a down payment to your new car. The Dealership will be able to do all of the grunt work in terms of paperwork and transfer of registration etc.

What is my car worth?

The team at Bartons are more then welcome to give you a free and fair trade-in valuation of your car. You can fill out the form below to get in contact with one of our experienced team.

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