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How to Buy or Sell a Car in Singapore

Buying and selling a car as an expat in Singapore can be an intimidating process. Our friends at sgCarMart can help!

Buying and selling a car is an inevitable process when it comes to car ownership. Unlike almost everywhere else in the world, it is slightly more complicated in Singapore due to the ten year Certificate of Entitlement (COE) life spans on our cars.

The sale process can be time consuming due to amount of paperwork involved and with the introduction of the new Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) rulings that require a minimum down payment of fifty percent in order to purchase a car, it might cause some of us a few sleepless nights.

In order for a successful transfer of vehicle ownership, all financials have to be settled, meaning that there cannot be an existing outstanding loan on the car.

Either buyer or seller, depending on the agreement made, has to ensure that the car has a valid road tax and the insurance policy of the new owner has to be activated. Only then will the Land Transport Authority (LTA) approve of the transfer.

For first-time sellers, it might seem like rocket science but fret not. Our guide on how to sell your pre-loved machine will help you understand the system of how things work, without getting ripped off.


Selling via consignment

buying a car

Consigning your vehicle is allowing a dealer to sell the vehicle on your behalf, but retaining legal ownership of the vehicle until it is sold. Consignment services are provided by these listed dealers: http://www.sgcarmart.com/tools_tips/consignment.php.

Depending on the modus operandi of the dealers, you may or may not have to leave your vehicle at their showroom. Leaving your vehicle at the showroom would allow the sale process to be faster as interested buyers who have seen the advertisement can go down and have a look at it whenever they can. It will however, inconvenience you if you do not have a spare vehicle to use. Putting your vehicle at the dealership also exposes it to walk in customers.

Some dealers do not require you to leave your vehicle with them. However, each time there is an interested buyer who wants to view your vehicle. You would have to take some time out of your day to drive down to the dealership for the viewing. This can be a troublesome process that could go on for months.

The benefits of consigning your vehicle to a dealer is having someone experienced handle the entire sale process for you. From the photo-taking to uploading of advertisement, handling of enquiries from potential buyers and eventually handling all documentations when a sale is made.

Dealers usually take a cut from the sale of the vehicle, ranging from a flat fee of $500 – 1% of the final selling price, depending on the consignment agreement. Also depending on the arrangement made, the consignment dealer may or may not assist in touching up of your vehicles paintwork and grooming before handing the car over to the new owner.

Touch ups to the vehicle are usually by the buyer’s request and will most probably knock a few dollars off your asking price. Apart from the financial, insurance and paperwork support, it is such repair and grooming work a dealer is able to assist with that makes the sale of your vehicle much easier. After all, nobody wants to purchase a car that would require the hassle of wear and tear rectifications.

Most sellers forget that on top of their consigned vehicle, dealers have a fleet of cars that need to be sold too. So if you do decide to consign your vehicle for sale. Don’t be too hard on your dealer, they too are trying to get the best price at the shortest possible time for you.


Direct selling

car shopping in sg.

Selling your vehicle as a direct owner to buyer guarantees you the most financial returns but it takes time and comes with a little paperwork hassle. The first step would be to get your vehicle noticed. Most people ignore the importance of good quality pictures but a good shot of your car is half the sale made. Bring your car for a wash and a vacuum before doing so. Nobody likes looking at a dimly lit photo of a dirty car. Once that is done, you can post an advertisement on sgCarMart.

Standard ads cost $48 for six weeks while Star ads which guarantee high exposure for your sale, cost $96. When doing up the description of your car, put in a little effort and make your advertisement stand out from the rest. Include details like how often it is serviced and if there are any interesting modifications done to it. The more detailed your advertisement, there will be lesser chances of insincere buyers calling you and asking you irrelevant questions.

When you have struck a deal with a buyer, sgcarmart.com has all the supporting documents that you need to complete your sale. These forms include an indemnity form, sales agreement, invoice, handover form and an LTA transfer form (M01). Ensure all paperwork is signed properly to avoid any legal problems after the sale. Should you have any trouble while posting your advertisement, there are instructions online that should help you understand how to go about it.

If all else fails, you can come down to our office at 61 Ubi Ave 2 #07-06 Automobile Megamart from 10.30am – 7pm daily where our staff will assist you in photographing your car and posting the advertisement at no additional charges.

Direct selling in our opinion is way to get the best price for your vehicle. Not only do you get more from it than selling it to a dealer but in a way, you get to pick the future owner of your car. Pretty sure nobody wants to see their car on the road in bad condition after the sale.


Trade-in for another car at a used car dealership

getting car checked.

If you have already been in the market for your next car and found what you wanted at a used car dealership or an authorised dealer, you can trade in your existing car to offset the cost of your next purchase. This is a quick and easy process as the dealership will handle all the loan, paperwork and transfers. However, that convenience comes at the cost of getting less for your car as compared to selling it yourself.

If you are doubtful of the condition of the car you want to buy. Insist on sending the vehicle either to your regular workshop for your mechanics to have a look at. Alternatively, STA Inspection (STA) also offers a thorough evaluation service for a fee.


Selling to a dealer

Pushing your vehicle to a used car dealer is the fastest and most convenient way to get it off your hands but bear in mind, as dealers need to make a profit and also cover their overhead costs, the offer you get might well be below the market rate.

Dealers will nitpick and slash their offering price according to the condition of the paintwork, interior, etc. Don’t be surprised to see an advertisement of your car with a new coat of paint and for a price much more than what you got for it.

There is a list of selected dealers who will typically offer to purchase used vehicles at a rate above that of the general market.


Selling by auction to dealers via Quotz


sgCarMart Quotz is an auction service for dealers to bid for your used vehicle. Going from dealership to dealership trying to get the highest offer for your vehicle can be extremely time consuming. For a small fee, sgCarMart Quotz will do that for you via a bidding system which reaches out to 300 used car dealers.

The process is simple; it only requires the seller to make an appointment with Quotz for a professional survey and photo-taking of the vehicle before the pictures and details will be submitted for bidding. Quotz will get the highest selling price in one working day and the vehicle will be transacted should the seller accept it.

There will be no obligation for the seller to accept the final bid and the service fee of $107 is refundable if either the Reserve Price Guarantee or Highest Price Guarantee is not met. All documentations will be handled and sellers can kick back and relax till the handover date. For more information on this service, head onto http://www.sgcarmart.com/quotz/valuation.php?type=sellbybidd.


By Nigel Yong, sgCarMart, July 3, 2015

Photos by Low Fai Ming

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