Advice Selling Second Hand Car (Novice- Have no Idea)

Never sold a car before.
Washed the car, taken the photos and have a price in mind. Will be selling with decent Rego and will provide a RWC.

Selling on Marketplace to begin with.

Now this is where I get really bloody confused.

Once the car is on the market and lets say I have a potential suitor, do I request a deposit before taking out the RWC?

Can a deposit be returned at any stage to the buyer if they choose to pull out?

What is the best way in steps to actually sell this car. I might need this explained to me like I am 12 year old.

Please forgive me, I am reaching out to the brain trust of the users here as I am sure you have a wealth of experiencing doing this and I do not want to be scammed which will be subsequently be followed with an "I was scammed, please help" post.

Thanks team


  • I'll buy it :)

    • 😂 Only accepting cash. That I know!!!

      • +4

        Do you have a fake note detector? How much is the car. If its over $5k you may wish to meet in a bank, and get them to deposit over the counter into your account.

        • I do like this idea. Thanks for pointing it out as also mentioned below

  • +3

    RWC is for the car, not for the buyer, so I think it'd be a bit strange if a seller asked for a deposit before getting RWC. There wouldn't be much to stop you from refusing to sell to them, and keeping the deposit, lol.

    I suppose it's only valid for 30 days, though. May be best to agree on a price before getting the RWC done.

  • +11

    Only take a deposit up to the value of the RWC or let them know that if they back out of the deal, you will return what is left over after the RWC costs. You can’t take a $2000 deposit and refuse to return it if they ask, but you can remove reasonable costs to cover yourself for any costs you incurred from selling and they backed out.

    Don’t let anyone test drive the vehicle without you in the car with them and make sure your insurance will cover them.

    Get a PPSR check done so if they ask, you already have one on hand (search here to get one for free)

    Don’t negotiate with low ballers or time wasters. Just be polite and say thanks but no thanks.

    No one to your home for the initial inspection. Meet somewhere public with cameras, like the parking area at a fuel station or a shopping centre. If they are genuine, then you can give them your address…

    If they sound like a scammer (ie; I’m on an oil rig/in Afghanistan/remote FIFO worker), ignore them.

    No PayPal, no personal cheques, low value car, cash is fine, high value car, consider going with them to their bank and doing a transfer or watch them get a bank cheque drawn up for you. If they do EFT/Osko, no car until funds have cleared.

    Do the transfer of ownership as soon as you sell the car. Make sure they sign the appropriate paperwork and get the required details from them (in NSW, you need their license details for the transfer) . If you don’t get their details or don’t transfer it as soon as you can, you could be liable for their traffic infringements.

  • What dollar value, what sort of car?

    • I’m guessing a 2012 Toyota “Sportivo”…

      • Hahahaha no but I thought about trading both in and getting something but cant do it.
        Its a 8 year old Suzuki with about 80 on the clock.

        Low Kms which makes it hard to price it because most comparable have done 130 onwards.

        • makes it hard to price it

          Seems at odds with

          and have a price in mind.

          • +1

            @pegaxs: Why can't it be both. haha

            Thanks for your comment above, really really in depth. Appreciate it:)

            Will follow your advice:) Cheers

        • Depends what Suzuki as to how hard to sell. A kizashi, possibly take a while to sell, while a swift would be gone pretty quickly.

          Price depends on how quickly you want to move it. Being under 100k km will excite a lot of people, so that's good. Price it on the upper end for the kms and condition of you aren't in a rush, on the lower end for a quick sale.

          Do NOT use that completely moronic carsales description template it makes. Sounds like someone with an IQ of 60 is selling the car. Write your own description.

  • Check your states rego authority website. They’ll likely have a page on what to do when selling a car, particularly in regard to the RWC and transfer of ownership.

    Assuming you do actually need a RWC, get it done before you advertise. (Not required in NSW due to annual inspections) It’ll save the headache of trying to organise while a buyer waits. Will also prepare you for what work may need to be done for it to pass.

    Plus one for checking if your insurance covers test drivers and also going along for a ride. Also ask to see a buyers licence, you don’t want to find out they shouldn’t be driving the hard way if your insurer refuses a claim.

    Ive never bothered to go to a public place for selling. It’s nice to talk to the person on the phone rather than solely relying on text, but at least text/message has a bit of a trail. I usually start with texts then ask for a call. Try to be polite to all potential buyers, but don’t put up with crap. Just ignore anything that seems dodgy.

    When I’ve sold cars I immediately hop online to transfer the rego as the new owner leaves. Again, that’s in NSW not sure about other states.

    • Ok to show the rego on the photos?

      Weirdly finding half the listing with the rego covered…

      • +1

        I’m not aware of any reason not to show it. I cover mine in social media stuff, but not when selling.

      • -1

        People hide their rego cause on gumtree possible put in rego on webpage below get very rough value of the car your going buy(sell)

        Suspect some selling for more than it’s worth. So hide the rego. One possible reason.

        • +1

          Yeah but they could also just input the year and model of the car? 😂

          According to that link it could be either…lol

      • +4

        Saw a news story recently, might have been ACA so take it with a grain of salt.

        In the story, it was saying that crimes are trawling through car ads to find cars that look similar to the one they have(usually stolen) and then clone the rego. It allows them to drive on the road undetected, and if they do get caught, the rego leads the police back to the person trying to sell the similar car.

        Found the video:

        • Awesome, just edited the photos.

          Thanks for the link of the story as well!

      • Stops the cars being 'ghosted' with clone number plates for various nefarious reasons.

  • I'm the same i got no clue, part of why i've stuck with the same car for so long lol

  • +1

    Please just be upfront and honest about specific issues. It helps if you have some kind of service history to show buyers. Also when writing an advert please add some details and some decent photos inside and out of the vehicle, I've seen so many adverts with just one line and one photo in the dark like seriously… Also please vacuum your car before your try to sell it, it just looks lazy if not.

    please take some time to highlight the good and the bad points! Be honest about any dents or scratches etc I can't count how many times I've gone to see a "mint" car just to see a bunch of dents and literally walk away before I even get to the door.

    Use paragraphs to explain each area as not to overwhelm.

    Be polite but Stern about your price range.

    Rwc is something you can negotiate or let them figure it out you don't have to do it yourself if you don't want but it usually helps to sell a car if you have a valid RWC

    Make sure you have appropriate documentation from your local RTA as not everyone is willing to do online registration transfers even though it is now 2022!

    Also to be safest make sure you see the licence of the person wishing to test drive your car!! So they are liable if any accidents etc and to cover your arse list the actual time they take the car off your hands so you don't get done for any fines even if you need to write out a formal receipt of sale to cover both your arses with both signatures I've even taken a photo of said licences just to be safest.

    And good luck

    • +1

      Any particular wording you should include in the receipt?

  • In your ad say no offers without doing physical inspection first.

    When you do have some inspections remove log books etc so they don’t go missing.

    Have a few people around. Maybe stick an AirTag in the car.

  • +1

    I’ve test driven someone’s car and been requested to show my current licence - no objection, good idea.

    Ya, check with insurance company first.

    Accompany them on test drive. I generally drive first to show there’s no issues. That is if you have awkward driveway etc - you get the car out.

    • +1

      Take a photo of front and back of their licence is another tip.

    • And only hand over the keys to them when you're seated in the passenger seat

  • I would advise not to sell it without RWC as many buyers will say 'Yeah I can sort my own no worries' and then you're left with a car they didn't transfer into their name

    I usually do a contract for the sale of the car with $x deposit on x date, $x remaining to be paid by x date.

  • The last car I bought I paid a $500 deposit to the seller with a written contract note of what was remaining, and they then did the RWC, which ended up costing around $1,500 in fixes, so they were "out of pocket" and the buyer (me) was protected. If they really want the car they will pay the deposit and hope for the best. Last thing you want is a dispute over money and loss of a sale / having to start again.

    And also, be honest about any other obvious faults (not RWC-related issues) which may not be evident to the buyer when they test the car. Eg. a door which doesn't register as open when it's opened as you're trying to put your kid in the car (so the car re-locks itself after 30 seconds - don't put down the keys in the car!). I think badly of the woman who obviously hid this from us every time it happens (an earlier car).

  • It is a reversal of you buying a car… the buyer will pick faults (say nothing) they will kick the Tyers, check the oil, and may even say the market is not good now (say nothing)… when they ask what your lowest price would be tell them you have a lot of interested buyers. The posted price is quite reasonable.

    If they want to go for a test drive, you TAKE their CHECK their licence and take a photo with your phone: is it up to date, correct person, correct address, and tell them you will keep possession of the licence and give it back later.

    YOU go with them on the drive. You stipulate the route they are to sick to. Make them only 10min max.

    Tell them you have another buyer coming at places bla bla and need to be home for them.

    Good luck

  • I just went through this and sold a car for $5000 more than trade-in, so for me it was worth going through all the trouble. This was a car sold in Vic so not sure about other states.

    Lots of good advice, I'll add what I did.

    • advertised on FB Marketplace and Car Sales
    • listed in ad tyres needed replacing soon, RWC will come with the car, deposit required
    • Virtually 0 buyers in Car Sales, waste of ~$120. Constant FB messages so I guess that's where people buy cars now.
    • A few people came to view the car, told them they needed to put down a $2000 deposit (about 10%) if they wanted to drive it. None of those people did but I drove them around for a bit to show the car.
    • One of these people decided to buy the car after this without even driving it himself. We then settled on $1500 deposit via instant bank transfer.
    • I provided (a copy for both) a deposit receipt which is available from Vicroads and car sales. Copies of licence's, car details, buyer and seller details, deposit amount received. Also added notes that RWC to be completed by seller before sale
    • RWC was booked in and completed. It's online now so forwarded the email to buyer and sent him a msg car's ready to pickup
    • I advised buyer either use a bank cheque or transfer cash before collecting as large amounts may not transfer same day. He turns up to collect car, transfers the money in front of me and thought that would be enough. Money did not transfer so after about 30mins said he'll have to come back tomorrow after it clears. I told him all of this when he put down the deposit, and in messages when letting him know car was ready to collect, so he wasn't too surprised I wouldn't give him the car.
    • Money transferred next day, he turned up and got the car that day.
    • Provided a receipt, again from vicroads or carsales, with all of same info as deposit receipt. Provided 2 copies of transfer papers which were signed by both parties when car was collected.
    • I asked him to send me a msg when he transferred the car as legally it's up to the seller to confirm. The next day he sent me a photo of the vicroads transfer papers in his name.
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