This is how to sell your car smartly

Thursday January 28 2021

To get the best offers, ensure your car is in good shape and clean. Photo/

By Mustafa Ziraba

Selling a car is really not as easy as it sounds. When you are thinking about selling your car, the first thing you will want to know is how much your car is worth. There are a variety of sources you can go to including car bonds, your car broker, friends and colleagues and online, to find out the rough value of your car in terms of make, model and year. Car advertisements will give you an idea of how much similar fresh out the bond cars are going for.


Decide if you are going to swap your car for a new one or if you want to sell it outright. Swapping a car for another is becoming a popular trend in Uganda where you hand in your old car in addition to some cash and get a car of your choice. This is is cheaper than outright purchase of a car from scratch. It is even more popular with brokers if the car you are selling is one of the hot cakes such as the Toyota Harrier aka Kawundo, Wish, Spacio, and Premio because they know they shall unload the swapped car for even a bigger cut.


It is advisable that you have the registration documents or a copy with you as it is a good indicator that the car has not been stolen or has a list of problems such as debtors and the like associated with it. If you have lost the original, you can always do a re-print online via the Uganda Revenue Authority website.

Replacement car


First and foremost you have to have a plan on a replacement car. Know exactly how much your replacement car shall cost you. Eyeing that hot ride your neighbour is driving and want to get rid of your current car? Do your homework first. This exercise shall give you an idea of the how much you should sell your car for.

If you sell your car yourself, you shall almost certainly receive more money for it. A broker has to be confident that he will be able to sell it for a profit, so they are likely to offer you less than it actually is worth. However, it will take more of your own time and be more of a hassle than selling it to a broker. Think about whether you need to sell the car quickly or whether you have the time and inclination to field lots of phone calls and views from potential buyers. 

Keep in mind that when you sell your car, people will also be evaluating you. They will be thinking something like; “this’ the person who has owned this car for the past few years. Do I trust him/her?” Make the buyers feel comfortable. They will probably be uneasy about making a big decision and spending money. Put them at ease and answer their questions openly.

Test driving

Edrisa Matovu, a car dealer, says some potential buyers will want to test-drive the car. Ride along with them so you can answer any questions about the car’s history and performance. There are many unexpected bumps in the road that can arise while selling a used car.

These will be handled easily if you are dealing with a reasonable person. So, as prospective buyers contact you, use your intuition to evaluate them. If they seem difficult, pushy or even shady, wait for another buyer. With the right person, selling a used car should be simple.

Best features

Emphasise these car’s best features and do not forget to mention any extras that will be popular with potential buyers such as maintenance parts availability, low fuel consumption, in-car entertainment system, new tyres and so on. If it has not done much mileage, say so.

Consider whether it is a particularly reliable car. If you are stuck, try to think what attracted you to the car when you bought it. Chances are, it will be the same things that make it attractive now. If the car is no longer in daily use, make sure you take it for a drive on a regular basis.

You do not want to have any trouble getting it to start when you have got a prospective buyer ready to take it for a test drive.

Get your car in shape

First impressions matter, a lot. Get your car into the best possible shape, both inside and out. When people come to look at your car, they will probably make up their minds to buy it or not within the first few seconds. This is based on their first look at the car so you want this first look to be positive.

Make sure it is washed, is both mechanically sound and free from huge dents. Consider making low-cost repairs yourself rather than selling it “as is.” Shovel out all the rubbish from the inside of the car.

When prospective buyers go for a test drive, you do not want them to feel like they have walked into your messy bedroom. Let them visualise the car as theirs. If the car needs servicing or even a routine oil change, take care of that before putting it up for sale.


Always have an absolute lowest price in mind, and stick to that. You may have to negotiate a little, but never go below what you really want.

Finally and probably most importantly, payment. Cash is always good, a down payment is a reasonable alternative as it is as good as cash. If you are accepting a down payment, do not hand over the keys until the final payment is done.

Depending on who you are dealing with, it is also perfectly fine to hand over the car but not legally transfer until the final payment is done.

This should be clearly stated in the sale agreement. Together with that, the sale agreement should include the name and contacts of seller, name and contacts of buyer, sale amount, payment terms, AS IS nature of car, sale date, name and contact of witness and other indemnity clauses such as the buyer having inspected the car to their satisfaction and buyer is not in any way liable for any repairs or breakdowns after the car sale date.