The best small cars to flip over £5000

What are the best small cars to buy over £5000 when you’re looking to make a quick profit? With tons to choose from we pick out our top 10 and offer some advice on what you should be looking for in car your looking to make a profit on.

1. Audi A1

The A1 sells strongly on the used car market. The car offers everything you would expect with the brand, only in a smaller package. The interior is of great quality and the styling appeals to both sexes. If you can buy one right you just cant go wrong with the A1. Leather and Automatic gearboxes really make them sell quickly as does anything with an S-Line badge.

2. Honda Jazz

The Honda badge sells well at almost and price point due to the cars reliability record. Making the Jazz an easy flip on the second hand market. This is also helped by the spacious interior and smart folding seats. Darker colours seem to sell the best and automatic is alway a desirable option.

3. Mazda 2

The original Mazda 2 was and is a great flip and the same is true of the later cars. People like the badge and it has a great reputation. All these things make the 2 a great little seller. Similarly to the Jazz they seem to sell better in darker metallic colours. It’s also best to avoid the lower spec cars.

4. Vauxhall Corsa

The ever popular Vauxhall Corsa is everywhere in the used car market, and sells well at almost every price point. It may not be the most exciting car to flip but you will always make money on a Corsa. The appeal to a wide audience and can be sold as a first car or a last car and are liked by either sex. Just try to avoid super low spec cars and you will be just fine.

5. Renault Clio

The original Clio was superbly popular and I cut my teeth on them. The recent cars look good, are now reliable and offer a great range of engines. Build quality is also good, small engines sell best, and again it’s best to find a high spec car with sat/nav etc. 

6. Ford Fiesta

The Fiesta was always going to make the list and for good reason. Firstly it’s a long term best seller and secondly because it’s never been better. Spec levels are good and the cars ride well, plus they have a great range of engines. ST- Line cars sell the best and avoid the brighter colours. The only blot on its copy book is reliability issues with some of the engines. But a well liked car that easy to make a profit on and the blur oval has a large, loyal following.

7. Hyundai i20

Hyundais are reliable and benefit from a 5 year warranty so the range is always popular. The i20 also offers great value and lots of spec and space. Personally I’m not sold on the badge or looks, but they always sell well. So I recommend them as a great small car flip and I have made some good money on them over the years.

8. Mini Hatchback

The first BMW Mini was a sales success, even if it was a mechanical minefield on the used market. The four door variant is equally desirable and thankfully its reliability has improved massively. The handling and ride are good as are the equipment levels and options. You really see to Minis alike, but I advice staying with more conservative colour scheme if you want a quick sale.

9. Skoda Fabia

The Fabia is really just a better value VW Polo these days, with a lower quality interior and a different badge. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. The cars are well built and reliability is good. Some people prefer the Skoda dealer network and they have a loyal following. I have always found them easy to flip and the badge sometimes lets you buy them cheaply. SE spec is optimal and again I advice sticking to conservative colours.

10. VW Polo

The Polo is one of the easiest cars to flip, with the later cars being more like mini Golfs than ever before. I have should countless Polos of every generation and people just love the badge and the quality of the interior. Small petrol turbo engines are the best and avoid any Diesel powered cars like the plague. But apart from that you just can’t get it wrong and will have the car sold in no time.

Conclusion

When you are just starting out flipping cars it can be hard to know which cars to invest in. Our advice would be to start small and focus on smaller more affordable cars with low running and insurance costs. The sort of car that would appeal to a first time driver, senior or someone just looking for good reliable transport. This type of car is usually easier to appraise for a novice car flipper, and if you do miss something repair costs are normally lower. So if you make some mistakes you shouldn’t get any big bills. These kind of cars are generally also fast moving and easy to value.

We recommend looking for cars that fit the criteria outlined below:

  • ​​Small cars with low running and insurance costs – Small cars with low running costs are normally easier to sell and sell quickly. So they are a great place to start when you just getting into flipping cars.
  • Retailing between two & three thousand pounds, with a £1000 margin – Losing money is understably a concern when you are just starting out. So sticking to a lower price point is a good idea.
  • In either Grey, Black, Blue or Silver – We would always advice sticking to traditional colours whether you are an experienced trader or not, with darker colours and silver being among the obvious choices.
  • In the appropriate trim level and interior colour – The same advice applies to the interior colour choice. Stick to dark colours and avoid cars with excessive ware and tear.
  • It should have a manual gearbox – Automatic gearboxes have never been so good and with electric cars being the future they will soon become the only option. But they are expensive to replace and repair, with faults not always being obvious on a short test drive. So we recommend sticking with manual gearboxes until you have more experience.
  • It should be Petrol powered – Generally petrol engines suit smaller cars better and are cheaper to fix and diagnose than a diesel engined car. The also have a better reputation given all the recent scandals. So stick to a petrol engined car and keep the capacity below 1.5.
  • Having covered under 80,000 miles – Mileage is always important and in most cases the lower the mileage the better. So look for cars with a low average mileage and stick to car the are sub 80,000 miles.
  • Have full service history – Having a solid service history is important for a car. But at this price point recent history is much more import that a few dealer stamps from ten years ago. So make sure the recent history is good and look for recent expensive work and the all important cam belt changes has been carried out if required.
  • ​With no major bodywork or mechanical issues​​ – Bodywork is expensive to rectify and any large panel damage should be avoided. Plus it’s also time consuming and can add weeks to the flipping process. So only small work should be considered, such as a small bumper corner that needs painting or a scuff to an alloy.
  • and be HPI clear – Regardless of what someone may say and where you buy a car from it is important that you carry out a hire purchase check on the car you are buying. NEVER SKIP THIS STEP!

But as your experience and business grow it can be increasingly difficult to find the number of cars you require in the lower price points. So the natural step is to look at slightly more expensive cars. Small cars at a higher price point are still normally fast moving and often have fewer problems an are more reliable. Problems that accrue are still relatively inexpensive to remedy and well understood. So providing you buy them at the right price you should make money.

But there are some other factors you need to consider. The margin will typically be the same as a cheaper car but with a bigger outlay. Cars above the £5000 point are aharder to sell due to increased competition from both small used car dealers and large franchised dealers and supermarkets. Buyers will often also be drawn to shop at these larger more established dealers as they will offer part exchange, and greater peace of mind because of warranty etc. So you will have to find a way to either undercut them or beat then on spec or mileage.

Cars over £5000 will also suffer greater depreciation than cars in the sub £3000 price range. So correct pricing becomes more of a factor than price range. Which may mean your profit margin will get squeezed.

All the above factors should be give consideration before moving up market.

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