Monday, September 26, 2011
Trying to sell a car these days
Work has been slow, and I was a little strapped for cash. I had a 1993 Buick LeSabre as a backup plan to my primary family car, should anything go wrong with it. I decided to sell it to get caught up on some bills. Over the years I have sold many cars using word of mouth, Craigslist, and a local magazine named Carolina Bargain Trader. They usually always sold for the amount I was asking, and usually within 1 week. Most of the time they actually sold within two days of placing an ad. Well, not this time. I first posted to Craigslist asking $1800, which was the Kelly Blue Book value for this model car in the condition it was in. After two days no calls, not one. I decided to go ahead and drop the price to sell it fast. The new posting on Craigslist was for $1500. I started receiving calls. Over the next week I received at least twelve calls. I heard so many different stories of how people have crashed their car, letting the bank take their current car, filling bankruptcy, and various other sad stories. I had about six or seven of them come and look at it. The first guy did not like it because the headliner was sagging a little. Another did not like it because of the color, which was clearly posted in the picture. Finally one guy took the cake, he did not want it because there was no CD player in it. The other few who came really wanted it but did not have money yet to buy it. One lady said she gets a school grant on the 15th of the next month, an could I hold it for her. That was almost a month away, so I told her to call back if I still had it she could get it. A couple others said they would come back the following Monday or Friday to buy it, but no one did. So now this is the third week of trying to sell this car. The car was in great shape. The engine runs good, transmission has been rebuilt, low miles for the age, regular oil changes and maintenance, and I just put $440 worth of new tires on it two weeks before I parked it. In my eyes any car that you can get in and drive with no problems is worth at least $1000, even if it only last one year, regardless of the shape it is in. This car was in good shape, but to no avail was it selling. I decided to reduce the price to $1300. This time I posted it on Craigslist and the local Carolina Bargain Trader Magazine. I received too many call to recount how many, but it was at least thirty. Same sad stories as before. One third of everyone who calls said tell me about the car which was already clearly posted in both ads. That question was always followed by "Will you take $1000 for it". No; I will not take $1000 for it. This really pissed me off because the car was already way more valuable to me than what I was asking for it. I had already scoured the internet looking for all the used cars in this area, nothing was even remotely comparable. If my primary family car went out there was no way I could find a dependable replacement for $1300. As I mentioned I was strapped for cash so I still had to sell it. At least ten more people came to look at the car. Majority of them liked it but did not have the money. Everyone wanted to work out a deal to give me a couple hundred to hold it for another week or two. Finally I started telling them if they would come it with $600, I would hold it for one week. Still, no one could come up with the money. Finally yesterday an older guy came from an hour and a half away to check it out. When I came outside he had already been here for twenty minutes, checking out the car. He asked when was the last time I had checked the oil, because there was none in the car. Honestly I hadn't checked the car since I parked it. I knew it need an oil change, but had no idea it was that low. I added a quart and a half. it was still low. He said he had some in his trunk. He gave me two quarts. I was sure he would not buy it at this point. He spent at least another hour giving the car a obsessive one over. I told him to take it for a drive, and he requested me to drive and let him ride. He stated he could tell more about it by riding. I was puzzled this guy was strange to me at this point. He even put a gallon of gas in it that he brought, to see if the fuel gauge would move. In retrospect he was probably a genius. Driving him was like riding with a driving instructor. Stop here, take off slow, accelerate, pull over, and various other request. After the ride when we got back, he requested to drive the last 200 feet. Once he got out he started pointing out everything that was wrong with the car. At this point I have invested almost two hours with this guy who is now looking like he will not be buying. Finally I said "well thanks for looking at it nice to meet you, no hard feeling for not buying it". He reached out to shake my hand and said "I'm think I'm gonna" then a short pause, "go back to my car and get the money, would that make you feel better". "HELL YES", I replied. I wrote him a receipt, and gave him the keys and title. He then began to preach to me about Christianity, and a thousand other things. He had just helped me out by buying the car, and he obviously seen the value in the car. He did not even try to haggle price with me. So the least I could do was let him talk. I actually spent over three hours from beginning to end, talking with him. I really wished I could have gotten more for the car, but these days it is very hard with the economy in the shape it is in. Once he left I told my wife and children of the news. First words out of my kids mouth was " Daddy can we go out for Chinese now". So we did.