Having found my dream car on Gumtree, I obviously needed to sell my old car. My Mazda had been a loyal and trustworthy companion for some time, but she was getting a little long in the tooth and I needed an upgrade. I was very sad to see her go, but I knew I could get a good price for her on Gumtree. I stepped outside, took a few good shots with my phone and uploaded my ad with a short description. Within 38 seconds, I got my first phone call from an interested buyer. He wanted to haggle a bit about the price, and I was tempted, but I decided not to give in right away. I received so many phone calls that I had to take the ad down.

carMy Gumtree ad

A few people came to view, but some were unwilling to pay the asking price because there was a bit of work to be done on the car – so I quickly went into “My Ads” on the homepage and modified my ad to state that while the car had low mileage and was in perfect running condition, the buyer would have to repair a spot of rust near the window and invest in a much-needed service. I wondered if the information would be off-putting to buyers, but I was pleasantly surprised. It didn’t put off buyers, but instead it drew buyers who were willing to invest money in repairs and didn’t mind the condition.

As I’ve often said, safety is paramount – even for Gumtree staffers, so I met all the potential buyers at a busy filling station near my house. I found a buyer almost immediately, who went into the bank and transferred the cash into my account. I waited until I received confirmation from the bank that the money had been cleared in my account before arranging the hand-over. Then it was a matter of transferring ownership – I filled out the necessary forms and gave them to the buyer right away. It took another trip to the Traffic Department to notify them of the change of ownership and a phone call to my insurance to cancel payments, but the process was quick and easy.

I have learnt quite a bit about the process. Some of the tips I can offer includes:

  • Safety First: I never felt unsafe during the process, but I was discerning about screening buyers and made sure never to meet a potential buyer at my home or get in a car with them alone. (I had one caller that I didn’t feel good about, which was someone who claimed to be living in another country but keen to buy my car. It might not have been a scammer, but I decided to trust my instincts and only work with someone face to face).
  • Make sure the cash clears in your account first: I was fortunate in that the buyer was able to do a transfer from inside the bank, but it is important to be cautious if a buyer deposits money into your account electronically. There was a scam operating some time ago where buyers would make cheque deposits – which take two weeks to clear – and then cancel them once they’ve received the goods. Always make sure that cash has not only been paid, but cleared.
  • Honesty saves time: Mentioning the car’s flaws helped sell her faster, because the buyer knew that he or she had to be prepared to spend money on repairs upfront. It’s better for buyers to find that out in the ad, rather than after they’ve come to view the car.
  • Ask advice: I had no clue about selling or buying a car, but luckily I could ask lots of advice. It’s not a daunting process at all, once you’ve figured out what paperwork you need and familiarise yourself with the paperwork.
  • Bump up the ad: I can’t emphasize this point enough – Top Ads draw a lot more responses, especially in the very competitive autos’ section on Gumtree. It involves  a small fee, but it goes a long way towards selling your car quickly. I’m sure I would have sold my car without it, but it would not have sold as quickly without it.

I was very excited to find out that the proof was in the pudding – Gumtree does work. The entire experience made me even more confident to say that we are Number 1! I’ve tested it myself!

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