How to sell a car in Northern Ireland – the ultimate guide
If you’re planning to sell your car and you’re based in Northern Ireland, on top of the usual considerations, there’s also the worry that the market for your car may be restricted to Northern Ireland. It’s important to know what your options are, and whether they make it harder to sell your car, or to get the best price.
Regardless of where you are based, when selling your car it’s a good idea to first decide on your priorities. Do you want the easiest, stress-free sale? Are you primarily looking for a fast sale, with cash in hand? If your car could fetch a great price from the right buyer, are you willing to hold out?
Read on to discover all your options for selling your car in Northern Ireland.
Value your car
Firstly, if you’re thinking about selling your car, you should start with a valuation. This is the first step to knowing how much you can hope to get, and pinpointing the best way to sell.
Get an accurate, reliable, and free valuation with Motorway. Our valuations use live market data as well as sales on our platform of cars just like yours, taking into account your car’s age, mileage, and model. Get started by entering your reg and mileage on our homepage and see what your car could fetch today.
If you’re looking for more insights into the changing value of your car over time, use our new Car Value Tracker to see valuations for your car going back over two years. You’ll be able to visualise when your car drops value, holds it, or even increases. Since 2021, used car values have been much more volatile and unpredictable, and lots of drivers are getting much more than they bargained for when they decided to sell their cars.
When you sign up to monthly alerts for Car Value Tracker, you’ll stay on top of the ongoing value of your car, and you’ll be able to choose the perfect time to sell.
Selling your car privately
Selling privately can be done in Northern Ireland the same as in any other region in the UK.
The steps to take are the same as anywhere else. First, you will need to make sure your car is in a presentable condition, inside and out. You don’t want to put off potential buyers by not having your car look its best. You should also have an idea of any repairs that need to be undertaken, and what they’ll cost, so it’s a good idea to have your car serviced and valued before you start the process.
Once your car is in top shape, it’s time to advertise it. Whether you use more digital channels to do this, or stick to local noticeboards and mailing lists, you’ll need good pictures, and all of the important spec info handy. For best results, you should put together a well-written description outlining important information – like mileage, MOT expiry date, and any additional features your car may have. Honesty is key here; you don’t need to list every minor fault, but it is not a good idea to misinform buyers.
Then, you’ve got to wait for offers, communicate with any interested buyers, and arrange viewings. The higher value your car, the more likely you are to attract time wasters, or worse yet, car-selling scams. It’s recommended that you meet potential buyers in a familiar place that you feel comfortable in. Never leave buyers alone with your car. You should always remain present for test drives and not hand over the keys until a sale has been agreed. Finally, make sure they can see you have your important documents – but don’t agree to have them photographed.
Selling privately is often considered to be the best way to negotiate a good deal, because as the seller, you can hold out for your asking price. However, you may be waiting a long time to get some genuine buyers, who may then try to drive down your asking price.
Selling your car privately can also restrict you to your local area, prolonging the sale process and potentially leading you to settle for a lower price. It’s very difficult to know whether you could get a better price within other regions of the UK if you choose to sell privately in Northern Ireland.
Selling your car to a local dealer
Selling your car to a local car dealer is a little more convenient than selling privately, if you’re offered a price you’re happy with.
You first need to visit the dealers in your area, which may still require some travel. After you’ve got a few offers you may find them to be below your expectations. Car dealers have to consider their margins – and these are based on factors beyond your individual car’s value, such as their local customer base, emissions policies, and trends in the car market.
Because prices from dealerships are reflective of the local market, selling to a dealer in Northern Ireland means their offers will be bound to the trends of the used car market within the local area, or they will face additional transport costs. It’s hard to know whether you’ll get as good an offer as if you sold to a dealer elsewhere in the UK.
Part-exchange your car
Part exchange is the traditional option for a fast and easy sale. You trade in your car at a local dealership and an agreed sum is taken off the price of your new (or new to you) car, which you can usually drive off the dealership that day.
However, that convenience will usually require a compromise on price. It is very rare to be offered the true value of your car off the price of a new one. You can fetch more by selling it outright, which will give you more money towards a new car if that’s what you plan to do. For more information on if you should part exchange check out our guide.
Part-exchanging with a local dealership leaves you open to the same potential pitfalls as selling outright to a car dealer. In this case, that includes the restriction of working with just your local dealers in Northern Ireland, rather than selling in the broader UK market
The best way to sell your car
If you’re thinking about selling your car quickly and easily, at Motorway we offer a simple — and completely free — method of getting the best price when selling, wherever you are in Northern Ireland.
Just enter your reg on the homepage and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market data. We’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can be done right from your phone — in a matter of minutes.
If you choose to enter your car into a daily sale, it will be shown to our nationwide network of more than 5,000 verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.
In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer — and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.
Is it time to sell your car?
Want to learn more about owning, maintaining, and selling your car? Check out more of our guides here, covering everything from finding buyers, to negotiating a good price, and completing payment safely.
- How to sell a car for parts
- Car scrappage schemes
- Top 5 ways to sell a car
- Companies that buy cars
- How to sell your van online
- How to part exchange your car
- How to sell a car for parts
- Car scrappage schemes
- WeBuyAnyCar alternatives
- Auto Trader alternatives
- Selling a modified car
- How to sell a car on finance – the ultimate guide
- How to part exchange a car on finance – the ultimate guide
- Car finance – frequently asked questions
- How to safely sell your car online
- Can you sell a car without an MOT?
- Car depreciation — the ultimate guide