Selling a Car and the Art of Negotiating

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Weak rant, but here it goes.

I will start by saying I absolutely despise selling stuff. Especially vehicles under $5k. Because it brings out some of the worst people. Tire kickers, time wasters, and worst of all terrible negotiators.

I've had a car for sale for 2 weeks on a few different websites. FB was the clear winner as far as driving traffic to the ad. This car fell into my lap, so I had a Chace to make some quick cash. Problem is, I have no clue what it's worth. KBB was giving me 4k-6k on private party sale. But with insane xar prices everywhere and the car does have a few small issues, I started at 4k.

After a week, I got nothing. Dropped it to 3500 and that's where the insanity started. It's like every lowlife had their filters set for that dollar amount. Probably 50 people have messaged me. Half of them were not even sentences, just dollar amounts of their price. All being 1k-2k.

After a few weeks of this, I got beaten down. I was willing to take the 1st 2500 that showed up with cash. Today was the day. For whatever reason, I had about 10 people message me all within an hour. One guy says 2500. He says he can do cash today. Perfect. Come on over.

He shows up, he is from Romania. He brings his wife, son, daughter (absolutely beautiful) and grandson. All are checking the car out. Son is the translator. He refuses to pay anymore than 2k. I refuse to take any less than 2500 which is what he offered originally.

I ended up telling them to leave. It got awkward. He was baffled that I wouldn't take it. I'm not sure if it was a culture thing to negotiate after online negotiations but I had to explain to him that I would have more fun destroying the car in the field up the street than selling it to him at an already discounted price. They drove over an hour to my house to be turned away because of their bad negotiation tactics. After they left he messaged me a few times with $2k lol.

I can write this post with a smile, as another guy just left the house with the car. He offered 2500 on the phone and came with a pocket full of cash.
 

Brin747

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A few years back we were selling my son's first car, which we had bought from a neighbor. I list it on Craigslist and then take off on a short business trip. Shortly after I landed I got a call from this guy, raving about how this was his absolute dream car, down to the color and options and he just had to have it. Car was listed for $1800, would I take $1200. I'm thinking to myself, no way, you just talked yourself into full price. Then he says he can pay full price, but can I make sure it has gas, because he will not have any money left for gas. I call my son, tell him to go gas up the car and gather the paperwork, this guy is on his way to buy the car.

A few hours later, my son calls me to tell me that he showed up, was so excited to buy the car he could barely contain himself, and drove off with a huge grin. Did I mention that the car was a brown, 2 door, 1991 Honda Accord with well over 200k on the odometer? Automotive tastes can be strange...
 

PATRON

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When someone comes to see the car talk with someone on your c.ell phone while your talking to them
pause on the phone just to answer their question,but then go back to you call.When they tell you how much
they want to pay pause again from your call, and say $2500 that's all I can do let me know because I have some
where to go.Then go back to your phone call turning your back to them, and walking a few feet away.Never get
mad,just say OK I guess it won't work out have a good day nice meeting you and walk away with your phone call.
 

Realtor MA

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When someone comes to see the car talk with someone on your c.ell phone while your talking to them
pause on the phone just to answer their question,but then go back to you call.When they tell you how much
they want to pay pause again from your call, and say $2500 that's all I can do let me know because I have some
where to go.Then go back to your phone call turning your back to them, and walking a few feet away.Never get
mad,just say OK I guess it won't work out have a good day nice meeting you and walk away with your phone call.
Or you could just say $2500 is my bottom line. How does being on the phone help?
 

In God We Trust

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Selling cars is a hassle. Even more so with older, cheaper cars. What happens when you sell a car that seems fine to you, but blows the tranny a week later. They assume you ripped them off and come back to hassle you.

I’ve sold exactly one car to a private party in the last 25 years, and it was for cheap money(I could have got more for it) but just wanted it gone.
 

AHM

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A few years back we were selling my son's first car, which we had bought from a neighbor. I list it on Craigslist and then take off on a short business trip. Shortly after I landed I got a call from this guy, raving about how this was his absolute dream car, down to the color and options and he just had to have it. ... A few hours later, my son calls me to tell me that he showed up, was so excited to buy the car he could barely contain himself, and drove off with a huge grin. Did I mention that the car was a brown, 2 door, 1991 Honda Accord with well over 200k on the odometer? Automotive tastes can be strange...
Either he lost his virginity in that car,
or he was conceived in that car.

Or you could just say $2500 is my bottom line. How does being on the phone help?
WTF? Don't you do that when selling houses?
 
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When we sell stuff, we always have them come to us. You would be surprised how many tire kickers that eliminates right from the get go. If you can't make a deal, they get to leave empty handed and some other person will be along.

I always get a kick out of the "well, I only brought this much with me", in that case I have directions to the ATM for them.
 

Realtor MA

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WTF? Don't you do that when selling houses?
Can't tell you my secrets. Lol. I love when the parties are close. Like maybe $1000 apart. And people say. 'We're not moving another thousand. There's no way they'll walk away for $1000.' My response to them is usually along the lines of 'you'll walk away for the $1000? But you think they wont?'
 

whacko

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Been through it. Selling old cars under $5k is always a pain in the ass. Last time I sold an old beater I had a guy offer me $3k over the phone......my add was for $3500 and I was just ready to get rid of it....so I agreee. That's when the fun always bwgins.....after you settle on a price over the phone. Dude says give me a week to get the money and a ride up to you (said he lived 1.5 hours away and needed to get a ride). 😐
A week goes by and nothing. So I call him......he says sorry I'll be up tomorrow 5pm. Next day no show.....at 6pm I call him......says his ride didn't show up. I said deal is off cars going back up for sale and hung up. After I had made the "deal" a buddy of mine had mentioned he needed a car for his daughter so I called him and made the deal that night. I had told him I had to wait to see if the current deal I had made was gonna fall through before I sold it to him and I felt a week of waiting was more than enough to cancel the deal.

Anyway......next day this 20 something year old fat ass low life from the first deal f***ing shows up to buy the car. I'm at thr door and told him I told you yesterday the deal was off it took you too long and no shows....and me calling looking for you. Kid actually got loud and called me an a**h***......I shut that down quick....."get off my porch and leave.......and im not going to tell you twice". He left.

People are idiots.
 
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Tartakovsky

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It’s definitely a different type of buyer for cars under $5k vs over $5k. Selling cars private party is a painful experience with lower valued cars and frankly, not much better with expensive cars. I’ll just trade in to avoid them. I’ve sold a LOT of cars privately in my life. I also sold cars professionally for six years. Not interested in going back LOL.
 
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Gotta love the buyers who respond with a half sentence and lowball offer.
Was selling a set of BMW wheels recently, priced to sell, but open to offers.
Guy lowballs me at 40% of my asking... come on dude, ad says OBO, but really?
Then I recognized the guy's name, an old neighbors adult son. Their house was the place that brought prop values down for everyone else...
Go figure. Some people are just animals.

It’s definitely a different type of buyer for cars under $5k vs over $5k. Selling cars private party is a painful experience with lower valued cars and frankly, not much better with expensive cars. I’ll just trade in to avoid them. I’ve sold a LOT of cars privately in my life. I also sold cars professionally for six years. Not interested in going back LOL.

My ex was swapping cars recently and was told she'd get a $1000 trade in for her 05 Audi B7 A4 6MT. These, and other euro cars are becoming more sought after because they represent a driving experience no longer offered by car mfgrs. Plus, I maintained the F out of this car, even after we split. It was turn key. Ended up getting $6.3k for it, cash buyer. Man, I miss that car....

As a seller, there is an art to making an ad. Cars, guns, whatever. Detailed pictures and description. Honest representation. Try to pro-actively answer any questions. Add some language to weed out the tire kickers. Asking price should always be higher to allow for some negociation. How many times on NES have you seen some bozo post a WTS and say "I'll post pics later....". Why can't you just do it now? Anyways, the first guy that came to look at the car drove away with it.
 
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Amputee Marksman

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It’s definitely a different type of buyer for cars under $5k vs over $5k. Selling cars private party is a painful experience with lower valued cars and frankly, not much better with expensive cars. I’ll just trade in to avoid them. I’ve sold a LOT of cars privately in my life. I also sold cars professionally for six years. Not interested in going back LOL.

The last 2 times I tried to trade in anything worth less than 5k the dealer didn't want them. In 2020 I tried to trade a Chrysler Town & Country with a book value of $4k to $6k and the guy says I don't want it but I'll give you $500 if you really want it gone. I kept it and parked it the driveway with a $4k price on it and sold to a guy for $2500. My bottom price was $2500 so first person with the money got it. One guy looked at it and said I'll be back next week to buy it and I said fine unless I sell it first. I made it very clear I'm not holding this for anyone without a non-refundable deposit.
 

mac1911

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Weak rant, but here it goes.

I will start by saying I absolutely despise selling stuff. Especially vehicles under $5k. Because it brings out some of the worst people. Tire kickers, time wasters, and worst of all terrible negotiators.

I've had a car for sale for 2 weeks on a few different websites. FB was the clear winner as far as driving traffic to the ad. This car fell into my lap, so I had a Chace to make some quick cash. Problem is, I have no clue what it's worth. KBB was giving me 4k-6k on private party sale. But with insane xar prices everywhere and the car does have a few small issues, I started at 4k.

After a week, I got nothing. Dropped it to 3500 and that's where the insanity started. It's like every lowlife had their filters set for that dollar amount. Probably 50 people have messaged me. Half of them were not even sentences, just dollar amounts of their price. All being 1k-2k.

After a few weeks of this, I got beaten down. I was willing to take the 1st 2500 that showed up with cash. Today was the day. For whatever reason, I had about 10 people message me all within an hour. One guy says 2500. He says he can do cash today. Perfect. Come on over.

He shows up, he is from Romania. He brings his wife, son, daughter (absolutely beautiful) and grandson. All are checking the car out. Son is the translator. He refuses to pay anymore than 2k. I refuse to take any less than 2500 which is what he offered originally.

I ended up telling them to leave. It got awkward. He was baffled that I wouldn't take it. I'm not sure if it was a culture thing to negotiate after online negotiations but I had to explain to him that I would have more fun destroying the car in the field up the street than selling it to him at an already discounted price. They drove over an hour to my house to be turned away because of their bad negotiation tactics. After they left he messaged me a few times with $2k lol.

I can write this post with a smile, as another guy just left the house with the car. He offered 2500 on the phone and came with a pocket full of cash.
Weak Rant , yes
I was expecting something on the lines if a nice score as the buyer offered you his junk guns snd reloading gear worth 5x more thsn the car…..lol
Selling cars can suck. In mass every tom dick joe will come back after inspection demanding all sorts of stuff be fixed.
My last vehicle I sold used I made a list of all its ills and a rough cost if repair.
It did need tires, brakes, tranmission slipped be cause of s faulty 2-3 seloniod
Plus a bunch if other things . It was part of the bill of sale. Discloser is key in mass.
Book on the car was $8500 repairs where close to $4000 - sold the car for $3800- I paid $4000 3 years prior and did nothing to it. The buyer was happy as he had the same car sitting in his yard that was rear ended hard.
Used car lot for years I dont know how they delt with all that shit and wondered how they made money. Average price on the lot back then was $3500 all pos buy here pay here cars. Most never made it to full term on the payments . Cash flow game I guess
 

Asaltweapon

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I also hate sales and the BS that goes with it. I could never do it for a living. Not even a day.
I advertise my BW for sale only because I wasn’t using it enough to justify keeping it. and it’s in the water on Moosehead Lake. Guy calls from MA. Nantucket to be clear and want to see it. Says he’s an HVAC shop owner. He’s coming up to see the boat with his wife and 2 kids and staying at the Greenville $$$ Inn. Very nice place that I’ve been to a few times.

Shows up late in his Range Rover because they wanted a sea plane ride after breakfast. Looks at the boat we go for a boat ride. Brought proper sized life preservers for the little ones cause I don’t have any with no kids. We go for a ride around Sugar Island maybe 10-12 miles.

Tie the boat up, discuss numbers and he says he’ll call in the morning after he sleeps on it. I forget where we landed now on a bottom line but I say straight to his face I’m not going lower than 50K. Period. Full stop. I don’t care if I sell it or not.
Following morning he shows up at the house with family in tow. My wife is curious how this is going to go so she sort of sticks around. Guy offers me 45K in my dining room and I tell him NFW. You’re wasting my time. He’s outright shocked over my instant response and leaves when I tell him we’re done here.
What a dolt. Ferry or plane ride from the island to the mainland then every minute of a 7 hour drive from the cape. Yah. Cry me a River you cheap prick. I do believe he was from Romania as well.

Good thing I stuck to my guns. Next caller bought the boat sight unseen at full asking. No games, stories or screwing around. Retired USCC and I trailered the boat down to him in Brunswick ME for free. Really nice couple who were head over heals in love with it.
 

Cuz

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Why not just bring it to a place like CarMax and see what they’ll give you for it? At least that will give you an idea what it’s worth, and there are no hassles and no private parties coming back to claim you sold them a clunker.
 
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Why not just bring it to a place like CarMax and see what they’ll give you for it? At least that will give you an idea what it’s worth, and there are no hassles and no private parties coming back to claim you sold them a clunker.
It wasn't registered/insured. It also wasn't in my name. I didn't want to go thru the hassle of titling it to be able to drive it around for a few weeks.
 

Tartakovsky

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Why not just bring it to a place like CarMax and see what they’ll give you for it? At least that will give you an idea what it’s worth, and there are no hassles and no private parties coming back to claim you sold them a clunker.
CarMax isn’t a cake walk either. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories with them. Not paying off notes and not cutting checks, renegging after the deals have been signed, etc. They’re a terrible company.
 
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garandman

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We sold a Mazda MPV minivan after getting a larger Honda. They never sold well but were popular in Boston as they are easy to park.

Sold it via a For Sale sign in the back window. The buyer asked if we could drive it over on our plates and park it in his driveway. No problem, he lived two miles away.

Guy was “Amer-Ican” (Puerto Rican descent, born in U.S.) married with kids. He was an auto mechanic and his son was in trade school. When we got to his house, he introduced me to his wife, son, and parents. In his culture it would have been rude not to do so. Kind of cool.

Sold our previous minivan to a young Indian couple: their first car. Delivered it same way to him. They were in an apartment in Waltham with hardly any furniture: been in the U.S. a few weeks.

His wife asked if I would like some tea and I politely declined. We sign all the paperwork and she again asks if I would like some tea. Light dawns over Marblehead and I realize refusing the offer of tea was an insult to their family. I drank the tea!
 

TheGreekFreak

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I've dealt with this nonsense before......never again. Value your time and you'll see it's not worth it.

Learned my lesson selling my hand me down high school car, an 1984 E30 coupe that my dad had bought new 24 years or so earlier. Had a guy come by my parent's house to look at it EVERY DAY uninvited telling me "that's my car", "don't sell it to anyone else", and "I'll pay you later.....but that's my car". The third or fourth day both my dad and I told him to f*** off before we call the cops. Few more tire kickers until a BMW mechanic picked it up with cash.

In contrast, shopping around for my old 4runner, I saw how a guy with money who still wants a shot at getting maximal value does it. Show up to this guy's beautiful house. Super nice guy, couple cool cars, but had enough of his runner. He was super relaxed, had it listed at a fair price, and said he's only meeting buyers today and tomorrow before trading it in.

Ended up not buying it due to (no suprise) rust issues. But I believe he sold it the next day. Feel like that's the way to do this shit: budget a specific slot of X hours for all interested buyers, not a minute more, and then it's gone if it doesn't sell private. His chill attitude through the process stuck with me.

f*** getting high blood pressure with tire kickers and skinflints who can legit waste your whole weekend. Multiply that by a few dbags and you'll rather set it on fire than get money for it.
 
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