When it comes to selling your car in Dubai, there are two main paths that you can follow. Either you are trading up and decide to follow the path of least resistance and accept the dealer’s price as a trade-in, or for a variety of reasons, you decide to sell privately.
Take the dealer’s trade in price or not?
Why would you take the first path? Well, it will be convenient: a one-stop, no hassle, the professional-takes-care-of-everything solution to what to do with the old metal. Any documentation that is required for you to sign, or obtain, the dealer will organize as much as he can and clearly advise you of the rest. In most cases, it can all be done at the dealer’s desk in the auto showroom.
So what are the cons? Well, they are pretty much the same as they are anywhere in the world. You’ll probably get a lower price from the dealer on the old car than you would if you went to the trouble of selling it privately. Do a bit of prior research on average values for your model, its year, and condition and then decide for yourself.
If the gap between what the dealer offers and the likely private selling price is small, take it. If it’s large, several thousand dirhams (AED), try selling privately through Dubizzle.
Selling Privately: the Dos and Don’ts
As I said above, do some research and above all, be realistic with your expectations, given the age, mileage, and condition of your car. Where can you do this research? Try the classifieds in Dubizzle.com. Use the filters available to further refine your search, so that you are only looking at cars that are the same model and year as yours.
Place your own ad on Dubizzle – there is a charge of AED 200 for used car ads. You’ll be asked to supply photos, as much detail about the car as you care to give, an indication of the location of the car (i.e. what area of Dubai it’s in), and a way prospective buyers can contact you – usually both an email address and a mobile number.
Be sensible about your expected price and even then, unless the car is something utterly unique and desirable, expect whatever your asking price is to attract offers starting from about 50 – 60% of what you have posted. Eastern bazaar rules, OK? Don’t be offended – it’s all part of the game.
So much for the dos of this stage of the process. Now, let’s look at a few don’ts. You won’t want to get your hopes up too high over the first calls and enquiries: most won’t be beating a hot trail to your door to make a personal inspection. Tire-kickers is the trade expression.
You’ll get a fair share of calls from dealers, as well. They usually give themselves away by asking straight away what your “real” selling price is; a few might even offer sums in the 50-60% range I mentioned. Even fewer might actually turn up and inspect the car.
They’re pretty hard-nosed professionals, so best say as little as possible. Nothing will escape their view. Chances are any offers they make will be even lower than the dealership would offer as a trade-in. Don’t be intimidated.
If you haven’t made a deal with a buyer after a week to ten days, you might need to review the lowest price you are willing to really accept. Based on recent personal experience, anywhere between 80% of your original asking price and upwards is pretty good going.
Just be aware that after that week to ten days has elapsed, a different sort of buyer will start to appear. Again, some will be dealers but others will be genuine; both groups now know that your car is still unsold and offers will begin to head even lower if you aren’t realistic about what the “fair” market price is.
Inspections and Test Drives
Of course you have to allow genuine interested parties both of these accommodations. Whether you prefer to meet on common ground or have them come to your address is up to you.
Don’t allow complete strangers to just drive off in your car. Always accompany them. Ten to fifteen minutes should be enough.
Haggling over price may begin any time during the inspection, the test-drive, or afterwards.
The prospective buyer may want the car inspected by a mechanic. Make it clear that a) the buyer is welcome to bring a mechanic to inspect further or b) you’ll take the car to the mechanic and that c) any charges and fees will be the buyer’s responsibility. In my experience, provided all these things are clearly agreed on beforehand, you’re unlikely to get any nasty surprises.
So, Price Agreed. Hands Shaken. What Now?
It’s not unreasonable to ask for a deposit. Again, based on experience, any reluctance to pay a deposit on the spot or shake hands on the deal usually means the deal is going to evaporate like the morning dew. Call it buyer’s remorse.
So how much should the deposit be? I think 5% is about right; cash, by the way, not a cheque.
It’s the professional thing to have prepared and printed receipt forms for any money that changes hands. Include things like the car model, the year, the registration number, your name, Emirates ID number, mobile number, a space to fill in the agreed price, space to fill in the paid deposit, and the buyer’s personal details.
I think it’s also a good idea to fill out identical receipts for both the buyer and yourself. Yes, you may have the deposit in your pocket, but you don’t want any hanky-panky about the agreed price 24-48 hours later, do you?
Final Stage: The Official Stuff
Actually, because the Dubai Road Transport Authority (RTA) tightly controls the procedures, things are quite simple for you, the seller, from this point on. There are still a few dos and don’ts.
If you have taken a bank loan to purchase the car, and there is still finance outstanding, this must be cleared. Car loans are all registered with the RTA, and the transfer of ownership simply will not proceed unless the lending bank instructs the RTA that it’s OK for the transfer to proceed.
The car also has to pass the RTA’s annual roadworthiness inspection, at one of Dubai’s Tasjeel vehicle centers. You can have this done prior to advertising, as the certificate is valid for up to 30 days after the test. If you’re confident that the car will pass, you can leave it until the day of ownership transfer.
You can read about all the remaining steps and documents required (mostly by the buyer, not you) here. These steps all happen at Tasjeel as well. You and the buyer need to be there together.
And Now: The Very Last ‘Don’t’
Don’t accept a personal cheque for the balance owing on the car. A bank cheque is fine, but if the buyer offers a personal cheque, politely suggest that he goes to the bank and either gets cash (if the amount doesn’t worry you too much) or gets the bank to issue a bank cheque for the amount.
And a Very Last ‘Do’
Do think about what you wish to do with the car’s number plate. It’s yours, after all. If you are leaving the UAE, you can’t take it with you as a souvenir, sadly, but you can transfer it to the new owner.
It’s just possible that the number plate might have a value all of its own, especially if it’s around ten years old and has an “A” prefix before the number. Check out this site. The plate could be worth a lot more than you are aware.