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How Long Does It Take To Sell A Car Privately

You finally decided to sell your used car privately. However, you are unsure how long the sales process will take. 

If you are interested in buying a new car and need the money from the sale, then knowing how long it will take to sell your current vehicle is very important.

Also, we strongly doubt you want to pay registration, insurance and maintenance costs for two cars. Hence, the quicker you can sell your old car the better.

To help you understand your expectations, we’ll look at the average time it takes for selling cars privately and the factors that can speed up or slow down the sale. 

In particular, we will give you a few options you can use to sell your car fast.

Buyer and seller shaking hands in front of Sold sign on vehicle that has just been bought.

The Average Time it Takes to Sell a Car

Most sources, including experienced auto dealers, say that it takes an average of 60 days to sell a car. In general, it takes anywhere between 1 week to 3 months.

This includes time for making necessary repairs and improvements to help make the vehicle attractive to potential buyers, listing the vehicle for sale, completing the paperwork and getting paid.

Realistically, however, the time it takes to sell a car can range from instant to never depending on many variables. Let's look at the most important of those now.

Factors That Affect How Quickly Your Car Will Sell

Below are the main variables that affect the time it takes for selling your car privately.

Asking Price

Most people looking to buy a used car consider price as one of the highest, if not the most important factor when selecting a vehicle.

However, this doesn’t mean that advertising your car for a low price will achieve a quick sale. 

Car buyers typically look for a balance between value and quality. With that in mind, this is how impactful the asking price can be.

  • If you advertise your selling price too high you may turn potential buyers away. Instead, they will look for something which is more reasonably priced.
  • If your asking price is too low, say a thousand dollars when similar cars are selling for over ten, then your listing may be considered a scam. At the very least you will give the impression that the vehicle has serious issues.
  • As such, you need to understand the market and price your vehicle at a fair value to attract buyers.

According to recent car-industry stats, Australians pay an average of $10,811 for a second-hand car. Of course, your vehicle may be worth much more, or less depending on the value of your vehicle in the current market.

Yellow For Sale sign on blue car bonnet.

Car Year, Make, Model, and Type

The year your car was made, which manufacturer made it, and what model it is all play a huge part in how quickly your car will sell. 

In general, Toyota and other Japanese car manufacturers populate the list of best-selling cars. 

Pick-up trucks and sedans are also popular choices in the used-car market.

When it comes to the year of manufacture, it depends on the car’s demand. For example, an old Land Cruiser might sell faster than a newer Tucson because there are a lot of hobbyists and adventure seekers looking for an old LC. 

Condition and Mileage

Aside from the price and car model, the condition and mileage of the car also strongly affect the turnover rate. 

As for the odometer reading, Australians typically drive 19,200 km per year. Buyers will multiply this amount by the age of your vehicle to understand how much it has been used.

That said, a car with mileage below 96,000 km is considered attractive and typically sells faster.

Also, cars in good condition both inside and out will usually sell faster and for a higher price.

Potential buyers typically look at the condition of the wheels, interior, the engine bay and inspect for panel damage on the body.

If your vehicle is not in great condition but still runs, there may still be people who are interested. There are people who buy cars, improve them and then flip them for a profit.

Wrecked Cars

For cars that are totally wrecked or have severe problems with their internal components, it might take a very long time to get rid of them.

Plus, there is also the possibility you will never find a new owner for it when selling privately.

In those cases, it is recommended to sell your old car to a wrecker who will buy it regardless of its condition. 

An old car displayed for sale.

Your Sales and Marketing Skills

The type of car you are selling isn’t the only factor in the selling process, your skills in sales and marketing will also be put to the test. 

If you are good at marketing and selling your car, then selling it can take just a few hours to a few weeks. 

But if you don't put much effort into the selling process then you should expect sub-par results.

How To Achieve a Quick Sale When Selling Your Car Privately

The best thing you can do is get your car ready for a private sale. This includes the following:

  • Perform minor repairs to ensure it is legally safe to drive.
  • Clean the interior and wash the exterior.
  • Consider getting it professionally detailed.
  • Take photos of your vehicle when all cleaned and looking its best.
  • List all the correct details when you advertise
  • Respond fast to enquiries.

And remember, many potential buyers will negotiate with you by asking what your best possible price is. So keep this in mind when you decide on your asking price.

Final Thoughts

A car can sell in just a few hours or it can take several months depending on the factors we’ve discussed above. 

If you think you can sell your car fast privately to earn the maximum amount, then go ahead and start listing it now. 

However, if you think your car is in bad condition, or you just don’t have time to sell your car privately, consider selling to a car dealer or wreckers. 

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