Properly cleaning your van before sale can add hundreds of pounds to its value. That doesn't mean just driving it through a van wash - you need to pay more attention to detail. That could mean paying £60-100 to have it professionally valeted, or you could do it yourself.
If you decide to do the work, buy some decent van shampoo and a decent polish. See this as an investment; £50 spent on the right products, plus a bit of elbow grease, could see your van's value increase by several hundred pounds.
Hose the van down then with the bodywork already wet, hand wash the panels using a sponge and some soapy water. Don't use washing up liquid as it smears and don't hose down the engine bay as you might damage the electrical systems. Once you've cleaned the outer panels focus on:
The wheel arches
The door shuts
Once you've washed everything, leather down the bodywork and glass, to get rid of any drying out marks. While the van dries out, turn your attention to the interior.
Advertising your van on Van Trader is quick and easy, but if you don't use the best wording or you ask too much for the van, you'll get a limited response. Here's how to create a great advert.
Start by working out how much to ask for your van. Price it too low and you'll lose money, but price it too high and you'll get no interest. The key is to price it just above what you'll accept, leaving room to haggle - everyone likes to think they're getting a bargain.
You can get your van valued on Auto Trader, for just £3.95. This gives you a tailored value, for your van specifically, but it's also worth looking at what other people are asking for their vans. A quick look through our listings will help you set the price effectively. When setting the price, take into consideration the mileage, derivative and overall condition of your van.
Once you've worked out the right price for your van, put an advert together that tells potential buyers everything they're likely to need to know. Make sure you include:
The exact type of van, including the engine size and bodystyle
The year and registration
Your van's mileage and colour
How much road tax and MoT are left
How many owners it's had and how much service history is available
equipment that's fitted, such as air-con, alloy wheels, sat-nav
Selling a van can be a daunting prospect, but by knowing what to expect, you can avoid being caught out by experienced hagglers, time wasters or criminals. Follow these steps to make sure you're not caught out.
Don't let a buyer go out alone, as they might not come back
Check they have adequate insurance cover, or you could be liable for any accidents
Keep a close friend or relative with you - especially if you're selling
Always keep the keys on you when swapping seats or getting out of the van
Let buyers follow their own route, as many are suspicious if you dictate which roads to take
Buyers will probably be keen to haggle on your asking price. You need to be firm, without being unreasonable; set a price beforehand and keep it in your head during negotiations. While this price in your mind should be the lowest you're prepared to sell the van for, don't decline a sale over a £50 difference in your lowest and their highest offer. It'll cost you far more in re-advertising fees, time and hassle.
In an ideal world, you'd be paid cash during office hours which you'd pay in immediately, but this isn't always possible. If you do receive cash, try to get it handed over in a bank, so you can pay it in immediately and the cashier can check for fake notes. If your buyer gives you cash outside banking hours, pay it in as soon as possible.
A far better way is electronic transfer. It allows you to transfer funds online, but it can take a few days, so don't release the van until the bank tells you the funds have been successfully transferred.
Personal cheques and bank or building society cheques can cause problems. Personal cheques can be cancelled or issued without the available funds in the account, so if you've already handed over the van, you could be left seriously out of pocket. Despite common belief, bank or building society cheques aren't as good as cash; forged cheques are common.
Other precautions you can take include:
Ask the bank if you can draw funds against the cheque; asking if the cheque has cleared can mean something different
If possible, go with the buyer to the bank to draw the cheque
Ask the buyer for ID with an address and landline telephone number; if they're reluctant to give this information, be wary
It's easy to be daunted by the various bits of paperwork that accompany your van, but there's nothing to be frightened of. Once the deal has been sealed, you'll need to write a receipt acknowledging the following information:
The amount paid
The make and model of van sold
The van's registration
The names and addresses of buyer and seller
Make two copies of the receipt; one for you and one for the buyer. The most important thing for you to do next is to fill out the tear-off portion of your van's registration document (its V5C) and send it off to the DVLA; give the top part of the V5C to the new owner. Telling the DVLA that the van has a new owner means you won't be liable for any fines racked up after the sale.
Finish off by handing over any other useful documentation such as:
The van's handbook and service records
The MOT certificate (if it's over three years old)
Any paperwork that relates to the van's warranty, if it still has one