We use Gumtree for old furniture, homes and even jobs – so why not cars? Here’s how to value, advertise and sell your vehicle
Selling your car on Gumtree
Chances are, you’ve used Gumtree before to buy or sell something.
The classified ads website – the largest in the UK – is about much more than used furniture.
You can now find rooms to rent, jobs, services, pets and of course used vehicles on Gumtree, which claims to be visited by one in three UK adults every month.
Unlike many of its competitors, creating a basic advert on Gumtree is free.
As a classified ads website, it’s important to recognise the difference between Gumtree and car buying websites such as webuyanycar.com, or more specialised ads websites such as Auto Trader.
In this article, we explain how to safely sell a car on Gumtree, from correct valuation to maximising your advert’s potential, to meeting buyers and receiving payment.
Preparing to sell
September and March are when new model cars arrive, meaning older versions flood the market, so these months are best avoided.
Also, consider the season when selling: an obvious example being there's probably limited demand for convertibles in mid-winter.
Selling your car before it hits the five-year mark can also be advantageous: The Money Advice Service notes that there’s a perception that cars are not as reliable after five years or 60,000 miles.
Documents you’ll need include the V5C Registration Certificate, service history and MOT certificate (if it has one). You’ll need the vehicle registration number for Gumtree to conduct an HPI check on the car.
Cleaning the car, and getting small repairs done, can help sell the car, as can a fresh MOT if the current one is nearer expiry. When considering major repairs, make sure you’ll be able to recoup the costs.
Make sure your car is ready to sell before listing on Gumtree, as adverts go live instantly.
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Valuing your car
Unlike many other used car websites, Gumtree doesn’t have a built-in valuation tool.
Instead, get a free valuation from one of the other websites mentioned above as a guide – just read the small print to ensure the valuation doesn’t just apply to cars in perfect condition.
You may also want to make a manual valuation. Marcus Rockey, who runs tips website The Used Car Guy, recommends you search for your model of car in a 100-mile radius and look at the prices:
“The rule of thumb is that your car should be in the cheapest third of all comparative cars in a 100-mile radius, to help make a sell in a couple of weeks.”
Don’t forget to add to the valuation if your car has optional extras, such as built-in sat nav and set a price in round numbers for simplicity’s sake.
Gumtree insists it’s not an auction site – you can’t invite bids – but be prepared to haggle with prospective buyers.
Creating an advert
Creating an advert on Gumtree is very easy.
There are two things to watch out for: firstly, make sure you select ‘Private’ as your seller type, to get a free advert.
Second, if your car isn’t roadworthy, make sure you post it in the relevant parts and accessories section of Gumtree, rather than in motors.
When you enter your car registration number, the car’s details should come up automatically, although these can be edited.
You can then add up to nine images, a price, a description and even link to a YouTube video, although links will cost you £7.50 each.
Images are hugely important. Along with other classified ads sites, you should consider using all nine images and including pictures of the following:
- Front corner (ideal for the primary picture)
- Rear corner
- Front straight-on
- Back straight-on
- Side profile
- Close-up of a wheel – especially if they are alloys
- The dashboard
- Front and rear seats
- Any damage to the car
If you include pictures of car keys and documents, make sure you’re not revealing any personal information
Finally, make a note of your Ad ID, which you’ll need to find your ad quickly and to contact Gumtree.
As a private seller, your first ad on Gumtree is free.
That’s quite different from most other car classified ad or buying sites; the downside is that the popularity of Gumtree for sellers means it can be hard for your car to stand out.
You can pay to increase the visibility of your ad, using one or all of the following options:
- Urgent: marking your ad as urgent costs £11.99 for seven days.
- Featured: you can also pay to have your ad pinned at the top of the category listings, which starts at £11.99 for three days and rises to £17.99 for 14 days.
- Spotlight: to get your ad featured on Gumtree’s (rather busy) homepage - pictured below - costs £24.95 for seven days.
Users of Gumtree can be targeted by a range of scams.
Phishing scams ask you provide personal information and details: Gumtree says they'll never ask for your login, password, bank or credit card details.
Look out for fake Gumtree or banking websites and check links before clicking on the link; also insist that buyers call you to avoid numbers that use hugely expensive premium rates.
When communicating with buyers, keep all communication within Gumtree’s messaging service (click ‘reply to ad’) and avoid listing your mobile number on the main page; you can always give it to buyers further down the track.
Before organising a test drive or revealing your address, get the potential buyer’s full details.
Meet at your home and at no point give the potential buyer your car keys or allow them to be in the car by themselves or otherwise out of sight.
Also, check they have a valid driving license and insurance that will cover your car before they drive.
Gumtree doesn’t get involved in the payment process, but it does provide a useful guide.
According to Gumtree, cash is the safest way to get paid. The best way to accept payment in cash is at a bank, where staff can count the money and confirm it’s genuine (or check yourself).
Bank transfers enable you to avoid handling cash, but make sure that the money has cleared into your bank account (not just ‘pending’ or appearing) before handing over the keys.
Avoid PayPal, because it’s buyer and seller protection guarantee doesn’t cover vehicles and don’t use Paysafe, Ukash or Western Union for Gumtree trades.
Once you’ve sold
Always provide a receipt to the buyer and keep a copy for yourself.
Then give the green ‘new keeper’s details (V5C/2) slip from the log book to the buyer.
You can notify the DVLA that you’ve sold the car online, or by tearing off the bottom section of your V5C document and send it to the DVLA, saying you’ve sold the car.
It’s important to inform the DVLA to receive a tax refund and avoid being held responsible for any future penalties involving the car.
Tell your insurers that you’ve sold the vehicle as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to delete your Gumtree ad, or you’ll continue to get contacted by prospective buyers.
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