Prepare your car for sale

Making your car more attractive to potential buyers is the first step towards selling your car.

Give your car a deep clean

First impressions count. Clean your car thoroughly – inside and out. Presenting a clean car to potential buyers gives them the impression you’ve looked after it.

Getting your car professionally cleaned can save you time and effort.

Dig out your old receipts

Find all the receipts and invoices you have for any past servicing or maintenance. Showing your vehicle’s service history gives the buyer confidence that you’ve maintained the vehicle. The more evidence you can show potential buyers, the better.

Get the car serviced

Buyers will feel reassured if you’ve had the car recently serviced. Have these essentials checked:

  • make sure the tyres are correctly inflated
  • check the oil, coolant and brake fluid levels
  • check the basic electrics. For instance, are all the lights working?

Take photos of your car in its best light

We all have a good side – your car is no different, so make sure you capture it! Listings with photos perform better than those without. The first thing people look at on your vehicle’s listing is the photos of your car. Make sure you take photos of the interior and exterior to increase chances of sale. Any modern smartphone with a decent camera will be able to take detailed photos that people can zoom in on.

Prepare detailed information about your car

Be honest about your car’s condition (provide photos of any damage if necessary), and give the facts:

  • vehicle make, model and year
  • body type (for example, sedan, station wagon, hatchback)
  • transmission (automatic or manual)
  • fuel type (petrol/diesel/hybrid/electric)
  • engine capacity
  • kms travelled
  • running condition.

Potential buyers may also want to know:

  • the number of owners
  • whether the car is imported or NZ new
  • when the WoF is valid until
  • the date the next rego is due.

List any features or extras:

  • tow bars or roof racks
  • parts recently replaced, for example tyres
  • date the car was last serviced.

Pay outstanding fees and charges

Before selling your car, make sure:

  • any money owing on the vehicle is covered by the sale price
  • you’ve paid all outstanding licence fees
  • for diesel vehicles, Road User Charges (RUC) are current
  • the vehicle’s Warrant of Fitness (WoF) is less than a month old when the buyer takes possession.

Set your asking price

This decision has a big impact on the final amount you make from the sale. But how do you decide how much to ask for?

First, you need to be realistic. Consider the car’s condition from the buyer’s point of view – how much would you be willing to pay for it?

Compare prices for similar makes and models of a similar age and condition on Trade Me. This will give you a good idea of the range you should be negotiating in. If you’re in no rush to sell the car, you can hold out for a buyer who’ll agree to your asking price.

Sell your car through a dealer

The easiest way to sell your car is by trading it in to the dealer you’re buying your next car from. You might not get as much for it compared to a private sale, but you won’t have to deal with advertising, viewings, or arranging test drives.

If you want to sell your car without buying a new one, most dealers will be able to determine the value of your car and offer you a price for it. They’re always looking out for good stock for their dealership.

Find your nearest dealer

Not all car traders are honest operators. However, all MTF Finance approved dealers are committed to providing you with straight-up service. Our approved dealers are nationwide, and are ready to help you sell your car.

Find your nearest MTF Finance approved dealer.

Sell your car privately

Your local MTF Finance office can help you sell your car by offering finance to potential purchasers. They’ll give you some information to include in your Trade Me listing and might even know someone looking for a car like yours.

You can tell people your car's for sale by:

  • placing a “for sale” sign in your car’s window
  • listing it on sites like Trade Me
  • place a listing in a local newspaper
  • posting it on social media.

Advantages of a private sale

  • Set your own asking price.
  • Potential to make more money from the sale.
  • You don’t pay dealer costs.
  • Negotiate selling price with buyer directly.

Warrant of Fitness (WoF) less than a month old

Buyers can insist on the car’s WoF being less than one month old. This helps protect them if faults have developed in the vehicle since the last WoF check.

If the buyer doesn’t insist on this, they should give you (the seller) written confirmation that they accept that the WoF is older than one month old. This protects you as the seller.

Selling a car “as is, where is”

If you’re selling a car without a current WoF, it must be advertised for sale “as is, where is”. If the buyer is happy with that, they should give you a written understanding that the vehicle won't be used on the road except for taking it for repair or a new WoF inspection.

If you sell a car "as is, where is", it means that it’s the buyer’s responsibility to move the car after they buy it, and for any problems that arise after sale.

After you’ve sold your car

Tell the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) as soon as possible

Each time you sell a vehicle, you need to tell the NZTA so they can update the Motor Vehicle Register.

It’s easy to do this online or by completing a “Notice by Person Selling/Disposing of Motor Vehicle (MR13A)” at any NZTA agent, such as VTNZ, an AA Centre or NZ Post outlet.

The NZTA will post out a new Certificate of Registration to the buyer, and a letter to the seller confirming that the notifications have been received and processed.

Find your nearest NZTA agent

If you don’t tell the NZTA immediately, you might receive the new owner’s fines, tickets and fees for that vehicle.