What should I expect from a buyer inspecting my car?

Your car won’t sell itself; how you interact with the buyer may be a major factor in the sale going through 

“Tell him he’s dreamin” are not the words you want to hear when you’re attempting to sell your car.  Those famous words from the classic Aussie movie ‘The Castle’ are sure to make you annoyed, especially if you’ve gone to considerable lengths preparing your car and making ‘the road to a sale’ one that is easily navigated by the prospective buyer.  

Yet it is entirely possible that an aspiring buyer will offend you by pointing out that the car you’re selling is flawed in some way or another. It’s best at that point that you breathe deeply, relax, and turn it into a joke. “Mate, we’re not haggling over jousting sticks here!” will hopefully convey that you haven’t taken offence and that you’re on the same wavelength.  

But be prepared for the prospective buyer to throw some criticism your way, in the hope they can lower your asking price. If you didn’t mention in the ad the minor dent in the lower section of the left rear door, that could be used as leverage. And the more leverage the prospective buyer can find, the better for them 


What else can you expect from a prospective buyer?  

 They may be as nervous and defensive as you feel, so try to put them at ease up front, paving the way for you both to discuss the merits of your car (as well as the shortcomings) in a reasonable, rational way.  

Here’s everything we suggest buyers look out for when inspecting a used car.

Before you enter negotiations, they may wish to take the car for a test drive. You need to let them know whether they’ll be covered by your insurance during the test drive.

We would suggest checking with your insurance company regarding coverage during test drives and conditions around that coverage. Some insurers may require the owner to accompany the buyer on a test drive in order to provide cover - so it's best to check.

Before the test drive, do grab the driver’s details from their licence. A quick photo of the licence snapped with your smartphone would be wise.

And feel free to refuse them a test drive if you happen to suspect that the person before you is just a ‘tyre kicker’ who wants to take your high-performance car for a blast, with no intention of buying the car from you. You are perfectly entitled to go along on the drive to see that they don’t abuse the car and also to take note of any traffic infringements occurring while the vehicle is being tested.

In all your online and verbal exchanges with the buyer, always be polite and ‘professional’, but ensure you look after your interests too. Be wary of anyone trying to scam you for example.  

It’s your car... right up until the time you sell it.  



Related articles: 

How to prepare my car for an inspection
How should I negotiate with Buyers

Any information on this page is provided as a guide only. It is not professional or expert advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The content may not be appropriate, correct or sufficient for your circumstances and should not be relied on as the only reason you do or don’t do anything.
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