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19 Apr 2012 | Text by Akram Saheed | Category: Car Selling Advice

With rising COE prices, people are selling their cars to make a quick buck. With three methods available, we weigh the pros and cons and evaluate which might be right for you.


With COE prices reaching new heights at time of writing, now might be an ideal time to either sell off or downsize your current vehicle. But, you could be a novice to car selling and are unsure of the available methods to trade-in/sell your car. This is exactly why this 101 guide has been prepared, to help find suitable options that help you sell your car with an ease of mind. For a more in-depth and updated piece, please refer to our 102 Guide.

Here are your options:

Option 1: Owner to Owner

Direct selling typically fetches you a higher selling price than any other methods. Anyone familiar with e-commerce site Amazon.com should be familiar with a direct owner sale. The seller, which is you, sells the vehicle, to an interested buyer. Simple & easy.

There are two main forms of media that sellers here utilize to get the job done. One is through Print while the other is the Internet.


I'm sure all of us are familiar with the bulky Classifieds CATS section bundled with The Straits Times everyday. This is what we refer to as Print. Among other things, it contains several pages of car listings from different sellers categorised by manufacturers. The Straits Times has a circulation of 365,800 copies and a readership of 1.43 million. However, not everyone who picks up the newspaper goes for the classifieds section. Target audience is typically the group of readers who aren't familiar with the Internet.

Online media, on the other hand, offers easier access for consumers. According to a poll conducted by Nielsen, Singaporeans spend the most amount of time on the Internet in South-East Asia. On average, 25 hours a week is spent surfing the internet, and about 80% of Singaporeans go online daily.


One of the differences between print and online media is the cost for advertising and media space. An advertisement on the Straits Times Classifieds costs a minimum of $36 per day on weekends. The money you pay gets you 4 lines of text - definitely not enough to provide all the details required for a buyer.

On the other hand, online classifieds, example sgcarmart.com, charges $58 until it's sold with a full dedicated page - sufficient space for even the smallest of details. With online advertisements, you get more freedom to advertise your sale with attractive pictures that shows your car at its best and detailed descriptions that would enhance your vehicle's selling price. As people increasingly get connected through their gadgets whether at work, in transit or at home, chances of sealing a deal through online advertisements has improved exponentially in recent years.

One problem with direct selling is the large amount of paper work needed after sealing the deal. There will be multiple trips to banks and insurance companies even before the ownership transfer (which takes you another few trips) can be done.


If you are a first timer and unsure with the paperwork procedures, consider engaging in a one-stop vehicle transaction service. An example of such a company is sgCarMart Connect.

It assists motor vehicle buyers and sellers in their transaction process. Its services include insurance sourcing, car loans, "Buyer Protected" vehicle ownership transfer and legal documentation. They even offer a cash rebate of up to $500 from the banks the loan is financed from. sgCarMart Connect is able to provide a hassle-free and worry-free experience for both sellers and buyers.
Option 2: Owner to Car Dealer

Selling to a dealer is relatively hassle-free. A trip down to your dealer, some negotiations and a few phone calls thereafter, your vehicle is sold. Dealers handle all the documentation of the sale and provide you with the payment.


Dealers are middlemen and are making a profit on your vehicle. Therefore, your sale price will not be as high compared to direct selling.

Be cautious when signing any document with a used car dealer. They are very experienced in the complex field of motor trade, and always insist on all verbal agreements to be written down. Also do not rush with the sale. Snoop around, and check with a few dealers on the selling price before confirming your sale.

For some, whom are not really good hunters, the trip down to the dealers and negotiations can often turn out to be negative. Consider auctioning your vehicle and have the dealers come to you instead. With the hunter becoming the hunted, you save a lot of time and energy from tiring negotiations from visiting every dealer.


An automotive-related company called Quotz provides eBay like auction services. The concept of auctioning is simple. You have your car on displayed online with a base price. If a dealer is interested in your car, he would place a bid, with a higher value than the current price. At the end of the day your vehicle will be sold to the highest bidder only if the bidded price satisfies you. There is no obligation to sell to the highest bidder. Besides a potential sale, you also get a professional survey of your vehicle and a quotation within one working day.

Option 3: Owner to Consignment

Selling your vehicle through consignment isn't that different from a car dealer. Basically when selling your vehicle through consignment, the dealer helps find a suitable buyer. If a sale goes through, simply pay the dealer a fee and everyone is happy. Consignment sale is a median approach to dealers and direct buyers.


TradeAssist is one example that offers consignment services. The company practices a "No charges if No sale" policy thus, you don't have to worry of incurring extra costs. Once a buyer is found, you pay a sum of $500 or 1% of sale price, which ever being higher.

On-top of-providing free advertisements, Trade Assist handles tedious paperwork like LTA ownership transfer, insurance policy refund and finance documentation. Consignment sale lets you keep your vehicle till a sale goes through and they are flexible with the hand over dates.

To sum it up:

  • Selling direct gets you the best price, but when selling directly to a buyer, beware of paper work, unless either party is well aware of the procedures involved in selling a vehicle owner to owner.

  • When going through a dealer, take your time, be reasonable but do not hesitate to negotiate for the best deals that put both you the seller and the dealer on common ground.

  • Try auctioning if dealers do not give you the best of deals. It saves time by letting the dealers come to you.

  • Keep the option of selling your vehicle through consignment. With the option of keeping ownership of your vehicle while looking for a deal, you'd still benefit if something doesn't work out or you change your decision halfway.
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