Buying or selling a car can be a stressful experience. If you’re buying, you’ve got to find the right car – not to mention the funds to secure the deal. Then you’ve got the inevitable travelling, the paperwork and the time out of your busy schedule.
Selling is no less of a hassle. Once you’ve prepared your car for sale, you’ve got to write the ad, take some photos, find the best place to list it, before dealing with the time-wasters and chancers that come with the territory.
It’s little wonder so many people are turning to leasing deals or choosing to ditch their car once and for all.
But don’t despair, because Moneybarn has put together some top tips to help you decide when to buy or sell a car. You won’t avoid the time-wasters, but you could be left with more money in your pocket and more time on your hands.
When to buy a car
The Moneybarn advice is skewed towards buying a car at a dealership, but there will be some crossover into the private sector. For example, buying a convertible in the winter is a good idea as prices tend to be lower. Equally, buying a 4×4 when the weather turns nasty can end up costing you a little more.
Here are some important considerations when it comes to buying a car.
Monday to Friday
You’re advised to shop early in the week and to avoid Saturdays and Sundays. Dealerships tend to be crowded over the weekend but quieter at the start of the week, giving the salesperson more time to devote to you. In theory, that means more time to negotiate a better deal.
Moneybarn says that Mondays are a particularly slow day for dealers, so the salesperson will be keen to make a deal.
Buy later in the month or year
Car dealerships have sales quotas, which typically fall into yearly, quarterly and monthly goals. This means the final quarter (October, November and December) could be a great time to buy a car, as the sales team will be keen to hit their end-of-year targets.
It’s probably best to avoid the last day of the month, as some deadlines might fall a little earlier. It’s worth noting that not all dealerships will work to the calendar year.
Buy when a new model is launched
The launch of a new model is a good opportunity to bag a great deal on the outgoing version. Dealerships have limited space and will be keen to shift stock of the older model to make room for the new one. If nothing else, you’re more likely to get some tasty accessories chucked in as part of the deal, but don’t expect to be able to choose any factory-fitted options. Once the factory has stopped production, you’ll be left with whatever’s left in the dealer network.
When to sell a car
Selecting the right time to sell a car is more than a game of chance. Get it wrong and you could be out of pocket. Get it right and you might find a buyer sooner than you’d hope.
These are some things to bear in mind when you decide to sell your car.
Seasonality is one of the most important considerations. Events, holidays and seasons play an important role in the selling process.
Demand for classics, convertibles and sports cars goes up in the spring and summer, while 4x4s, off-roaders and SUVs are more attractive in the autumn and winter. If the country is hit by a snowstorm, you can expect to get more cash for your 4×4.
New number plates are launched twice a year. Demand for new cars tends to go up on 1 March and 1 September, so selling your car slightly earlier could be a wise move.
You must ensure that any finance is settled before selling your car. It’s illegal to knowingly sell a car with outstanding finance without informing the buyer.
Does it serve a purpose?
If your existing a car is no longer fit for purpose, maybe it’s time to move it on. Do you need a seven-seater when the children have flown the nest? Is that 2+2 coupe really practical now that your children have reached teenage years? Is a diesel car the right choice now that you work from home?
Think ahead, rather than selling when you’re in a hurry to raise some cash. Similarly, if you plan ahead, you’ll have more time to secure the car that’s right for you, avoiding a rushed distress purchase.
For more motoring hints and tips, check out our dedicated advice section.