Goodbye, Nissan 240SX. Hello, $1200 cash. [This is my happy dance]
I hate selling cars. Actually I hate cars in general. I’m horrible at them, I don’t understand them, and I don’t do a good job of taking care of them. Luckily, I’ve been blessed the last few years by the gods of Japan, a.k.a. Nissan. I did nothing right for 6 years straight and this little thing held strong.
I think it’s important as bloggers to admit when we suffer “epic” fail. I occasionally fall into the habit of preaching from a soap box (a.k.a. yesterday), but every now and then I take the time to step up and admit I suck. I sucked today. I just got lucky. I like being lucky.
You can’t run a car into the ground for 6 years, ignoring check engine lights, changing oil, slowly leaking tires, broken headlights, and impending rust and expect to make a big profit when you sell. After all the car has 240,000 miles. How much longer can this thing go?
Did I mention we waited until the last minute, threw up a rough ad (good picture thanks to wife, though), and just kind of closed our eyes? We thought we’d be lucky to get $1000. Actually we said told ourselves we’d take anything over $1000 and run. We put it up for $1500 “or best offer” (mistake). I was flooded with calls asking all kinds of questions, especially “what’s the lowest you’ll take”. I literally had a tough time keeping up with everything.
The first 4 people who looked at it passed without even making an offer. They were out looking for a steal and weren’t willing to deal with a leaking brake line, leaking oil, power steering pump, weak transmission, dents in the body, rips in the leather seats, and 240,000 miles. Selfish pricks. I was starting to get really worried.
Then the clouds parted and out dropped a young kid who just enrolled in technical school to work on cars. Guess what his dream fixer-upper was. Hallelujah! About an hour of looking under the hood and under the car, he totaled up what it would take to create the next inspiration behind Fast & The Furious and offered $1200. I countered at $1300, he declined. I thought for exactly 1.5 seconds before running away as fast as I could with $1200!
I quickly sat down and jotted everything I did wrong in this process. It took up almost a full page, so I just kept the party going and brainstormed everything I could have done wrong. I’ll leave it up to your imagination which half of the following I actually did and which I made up. It’s more fun this way…
67 Ways NOT To Sell A Car
- Don’t worry when a little rust starts to form.
- Don’t wash the outside of the car. First impressions don’t matter.
- Don’t pick up trash from the back seat of the car. Who rides in the back seat?
- Clean the car, but don’t detail it.
- Don’t bother checking the fluid levels. Who cares about oil, brake fluid, and power steering?
- Don’t fix minor interior problems, such a knobs, switches, and vents.
- Don’t bother with adding an air-freshner.
- Let your pets have free reign over the car.
- Don’t worry about touching up paint.
- Don’t bother cleaning out the trunk. Instead assume they won’t pop it open.
- Add the 16th bumper sticker to your collection.
- Continually smoke in your car up until the day you sell.
- Don’t replace old, worn out floor mats.
- Let your kids eat food in the car. Would you like fries with that?
- Assume waxing your vehicle is over-rated.
- Sell your car to a dealer without checking the private party market.
- Don’t bother with keeping maintenance records. Everyone will take your word.
- Don’t mention that your car has been totaled… twice.
- Don’t bother paying off the title even if you’re able.
- Only advertise in one medium.
- Don’t bother with free online listings. They take too long and people hate the internet.
- Clean the car, but ignore the tires/rims. No one ever looks at the size or condition of tires.
- Don’t bother to check the air in all the tires.
- Don’t replace broken headlights. You can just sell it during the day.
- Don’t replace broken windshield wipers. You can sell it on a sunny day.
- Let people test drive your car alone.
- Tell everyone your reason for selling is “Time to move on from this one.”
- Print fliers in black and white.
- Forget to mention you’ve been the only owner.
- Grant a discount, because it’s “all the cash they have on them”.
- Put “Or Best Offer” on every ad.
- Forget to mention any other calls or appointments you may have.
- Sell your 4-wheel drive in the spring, right after all the snow melts away.
- Sell your rear-wheel drive convertible in November.
- Donate your car to charity without first testing the local market, solely for the tax write-off.
- Start your price slightly above-market, just in case. That works well for homes, too.
- Advertise your price as $13,000 instead of $12,900, even if you’re willing to take $12,000.
- Don’t bother getting that clicking noise looked at. Buyers probably won’t notice it.
- Don’t worry about a physical “For Sale” sign.
- Forget to mention that you are selling your car to family and friends.
- Have an annoying ring-back tone on the number you place in the ads. Everyone likes Soulja Boy.
- Don’t screen buyers by phone. Just put your address directly in the ad.
- Ignore how you look when you meet potential buyers to show the car.
- Sell your car on payments.
- Answer the question, “What’s the lowest you’ll take?”
- Just sign over the title, without checking your state laws. Isn’t that what Uncle Earl always does?
- Forget to look over the glove compartment and trunk one last time.
- Don’t cancel your insurance after selling the car.
- Don’t study the local market. Kelley Blue Book conquers all.
- Post an ad without any pictures.
- Ignore all calls from numbers you don’t know hoping they will leave a voicemail.
- Be the first to throw out a price once negotiations start.
- Accept a personal check as payment.
- Underestimate the leverage of an official car history report.
- Rush the buyer when he is looking over the car.
- Lose a deal over $50, with very little other prospects.
- Don’t list all of the obvious issues with the car in the ads.
- Over-promise, under-deliver.
- Don’t thoroughly include all the details and features. Who cares about power-windows?
- Fail to explicitly state that “car is sold as is” and definitely don’t get that in writing anywhere.
- List your car on Monday night. The weekend is usually too convenient for people.
- Wait until the last minute to sell your car.
- Don’t worry about getting seat covers for damaged interior.
- Lie about known problems. These things never come around.
- Lack knowledge of your car’s gas mileage.
- Grow attached to a particular buyer and forget you always have the option of walking away.
- Once the sale is complete, sport the Happy Dance in full view of the buyer.
Do you suck at cars half as much as I do? What are your favorite ways NOT to sell a car? List them below and I’ll add any original ones up into the post above!