Roadside car sellers are risking heavy fines
SELLING your car privately.
In terms of enjoyment, it's up there with cleaning out public toilets or root canal surgery.
Alas, this month I've been trying to sell our trusty family wagon...low kilometres, well maintained and never been raced. Honest.
When we bought our new car a few months ago, the dealership offered me a trade-in on our 2008 Volvo that was, let's say, a bit below market value.
It was no worries anyway, I was sure such a practical, safe family car would be simple to move on by putting a "For Sale" sign in the window and leaving it by the roadside.
Not that easy. Little did I know that trying to sell your car by the roadside can land you in trouble. Nearly $250 of trouble to be precise.
I live in the Noosa Council region and work in the Sunshine Coast Council area; both have pretty strict rules when it comes to trying to sell your car. Seems they - and locals - aren't too keen on council land turning in to quasi car yards with us clogging up car parks and green space with our four-wheeled wares.
But we have to let our community know we have the car for sale, don't we? After all, look at the proliferation of "Huge Garage Sale" signs that pop up on roundabouts each weekend.
Not wanting to break the law (I'm an upstanding citizen, you see), I secured the Volvo a roadworthy certificate (new brakes and tyres required), gave it a thorough service and took some pretty pictures ready for sale.
Things were getting expensive. Having already dropped $3000 on the above preparing for sale, it was around another $50 a pop to list the car on an online car classifieds website, on eBay and then in the local paper. It would certainly be more cost effective to just put it by the roadside hoping a neighbour would buy it.
I spoke with my two local councils to check the laws. A Sunshine Coast Council spokesperson left no room for movement: "A vehicle displaying a 'For Sale' sign must not be parked on land or a road under council control, this includes public spaces such as streets, nature strips, grass verges, footpaths and parkland." Basically, anywhere but on your private property.
Justifying it, the spokesperson said: "These vehicles create safety hazards, slowing down traffic, taking up valuable parking spaces for long periods of time and are a distraction for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists."
Noosa Council said similar: "Advertising vehicles for sale from public land is not permitted. This includes all road reserves and other council-controlled land. Doing so may incur a $243 fine."
Positively, there was some common sense applied too: "Vehicle owners needn't remove 'For Sale' signage when parking in a council controlled car park. But the vehicle can't be parked there purely for advertising purposes."
That seems to me a fair compromise, and when I went to the beach on the weekend for a few hours (in the Noosa Council region) I left a For Sale sign in the car. I had two inquiries that evening, after not a thing from my classified adverts in the past month. Incredible.
So if you're selling your car privately it's best to keep things sensible.
Don't treat council land like a car yard, but it was nice to see a response from Noosa Council at least showing we don't live in a complete nanny state.
That said, my Volvo is still for sale. Any offers? Anyone?
Preparing your car for private sale
Discover your car's market value by looking at similar cars on classifieds websites and price accordingly.
Get a roadworthy certificate.
Make sure the car's service record is up to date, and gather together all the service history you have.
Have your registration papers to hand to prove you own the car.
Check your fluid levels - oil, coolant, windscreen washer - are all correct.
Clean the car thoroughly inside and out, or use a professional detailer.
Remove any clutter inside the cabin and boot.
Ensure your tyre pressures are correct.
Take good and clear photos of your car if selling online, and keep things honest in your advert description.