Selling a motor vehicle privately is an experience most owners would rather not have to go through. It’s often far easier to negotiate a trade-in price with a licensed dealer, exchange keys and walk away. Job done, move on.But there are several reasons why some owners give the private sale option a go. Maybe the trade-in price offered by the dealer wasn’t good enough, or the yard was overstocked, or the dealer simply didn’t want to do a trade on the make or model the buyer was offering.
Dealers will often be upfront with customers and suggest they might be better to try to sell a car privately if they thought the trade-in price offered was too low. Some may even try to find a home for a vehicle they don’t want on their yard by offering it to a network of other used operators. There’s nothing in it for the dealer, except that it’s a way of being able to close a deal and make the sale.
In cases where a reputable dealer agrees to take a vehicle as a trade, the paperwork is completed without the customer having to do anything except sign on the dotted lines. But it gets a little more complicated when selling privately, and both seller and buyer have a responsibility to ensure the paperwork is completed properly and without too much delay.
Sellers should never ever rely on a buyer saying they will take care of the change of ownership. That is a job best handled and controlled by the seller to ensure any parking fines, licensing fees and speeding tickets are not directed to them because they are still the registered owner of the vehicle on the NZ Transport Authority database. It’s a fairly painless procedure provided the seller has the necessary papers on hand when the handover takes place. Sometimes it’s convenient for the seller and purchaser to meet at a NZTA agent (AA, PostShop, Vehicle Inspection NZ or Vehicle Testing NZ) and complete the change of ownership together.
If it’s done at the seller’s home or at another location then the seller should ensure notification of the sale to the NZTA is done quickly. It is also important to obtain a receipt of the financial transaction and the conditions under which a vehicle is bought.
It doesn’t have to be anything flash as long as it covers the main points, including:
■Date of the sale ■Full amount paid ■Name of the purchaser and seller ■Status of the warrant of fitness and rego at time of sale ■ Any agreed special conditions the vehicle was sold under.
For example, to protect the seller the buyer might have agreed to purchase a vehicle with a current warrant, waiving the right to insist on a warrant being less than one month old at time of sale. Two copies should be made; each should be signed and a copy kept by each party. Another scenario that can catch people out if they’re not careful is the “let’s keep it in the family” sale, in which a car is passed on to a son or daughter or to some close relation.
The same set of rules should apply if mums and dads want to hand over the car and all the personal responsibilities that go with vehicle ownership. Paying servicing and repair costs may be a way of giving children a hand-up, but looking after their traffic infringements and parking fines could become a hand-out for which it is hard, if not impossible, to seek reimbursement for. And don’t forget about the car insurance when vehicles change principal drivers and the decision is made to retain vehicle ownership with the current policy holder.
Premiums and excesses may well increase for younger drivers, but it’s better to have it sorted before a claim is made and the insurance company starts to ask questions about ownership or who does the majority of the driving.If ownership is changed officially within the family, insurance should be sorted out immediately. It can get very messy when more than one party is involved in an accident and the new driver is at fault and uninsured.