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Advice on Selling Privately

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Apologies if this has been covered before, or if there’s advice on the web, but I’m looking for personal opinion.

I’m a genuine case of ‘new baby forces sale’; so my 4-wheeled one has to go. (2002 996 C4)

I want to have a go at selling privately on this site and Autotrader etc, and wondered what people’s thoughts / experiences were for the following:

1) Giving test drives – Is it down to me to get the car insured for this? Do I expect prospective buyers to be covered fully comp to drive it? Do I just give the test drive myself if they aren’t insured? Would you buy a car that you were driven in, but couldn’t drive yourself?

2) Taking payment – heard lots of scare stories about dodgy bankers drafts or copies of real ones. What’s the safest bet, do I wait until a cheque has cleared? If you were buying would you hand a cheque over and then wait to get the keys? Would you do the exchange at a bank and pay cash?

I bought my from a dealer so neither were an issue, but I appreciate any opinion or experience of people who have bought and sold privately.

Thanks very much.

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The main rule for test drives i think would be to do what feels comfortable to you. If some hobo wants to drive it say no, but if someone properly contacts you, seems legit, id say let them drive it with you in the car. Make sure they know how to drive a manual first (assuming you have a manual). And secondly, your price will dictate how fast you sell it. I mean, if you would let it go for 25 grand I would buy it myself, lol. Just talk to your bank and get their opinion on how payment should be done, its their job and all...

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Just sold two cars privately. One buyer brought a cashier check from Wells Fargo. The other brought a "Blank Check" from Capital One. I felt fine about the cashier check and signed over the title on the spot. Was less happy with the Capital One check as you must later call to verify funds. So, he gave me partial cash and I gave him the car but not the title. Next day, funds were verified and the check cleared fine so I Fedexed the title.

I went on all test drives. In California, your insurance follows the car. I don't know about other states. So, if any of these guys wrecked my car it's my insurance that would have covered it. (I know this for a fact as my wife's friend wrecked our Audi and our insurance took the hit despite the driver having insurance.) IMO, people don't need to dog a car to get a good feel for it.

Another food-for-thought item: I took both of my cars to the dealer to get a trade-in value. With that information, I checked all comps on craigslist and cars.com. Then I basically undercut the competition while paying myself a premium over my trade-in values. The net result: I "paid" myself about $4,500 more than I would have earned on trade-in and I sold both cars in less than a week. I could have probably gotten more but I'm not a car salesman. I have a day job and it wasn't worth the hassle to put up with weeks of test drives and no-shows...

Good luck

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Regarding test drives - ask them to bring their insurance certificate with them. If it doesn't say "entitled to drive other cars" or such like then don't give them a drive. Note this will only cover them 3rd party, so if they bend it through their own fault you could be out of pocket.

Its your pride and joy so lay down the law to them - you expect them to give it a bit of welly but they should respect that this isn't (yet!) their own car. I'd weigh them up before offering.

Regarding payment - at this price bracket i'd accept nothing less than a CHAPS tranfer. This is a no return, same day transfer that is the only real guarantee that the money has changed hands and won't be clawed back through sneaky means. It costs about £20 and can be done at any bank or building society. If they refuse offer to go 50/50 with them on the cost, if they still are not keen then walk away. If they are genuine they will be more than happy to do so.

Good luck :D

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Test Drives: Have a pre-planned route so A. you can better control conditions b. less likely to be told to get out and walk home without your car c. you control the timing. Have your cell phone if drive goes somewhere you don't want to or if it is getting too long.

You can also tell people who call something like this:

Mr. Jones, I appreciate your interest in my Porsche and will be happy to show it to you. When I set out to sell my beautiful car, I decided that it needs a good home and that I will not allow people to test drive it until they are serious about making an offer. If this is OK with you I invite you to look at it. Please don't mistake my reluctance to have people drive it before they are ready to make an offer. I'm sure you can appreciate that and can have confidence in knowing that the Porsche you may be buying has always been treated well.

This keeps tirekickers from showing up as often and sets the groundwork that just because they show, they may not be driving. You can always change your mind to Yes once they are there, but it's a lot harder to say No if you haven't set it up in the beginning.

Remember it is your car, your property, and your investment until they pay for it. I wouldn't let my kids abuse my Porsche so I'm certainly not going to let a stranger.

Payment: Go to their bank with them during business hours. Get a draft/check from the bank to you by using one of the Tellers. If it is the weekend, collect their personal check/bank check, give them a Bill of Sale but no title, no keys, and no 996. On Monday when their check clears their bank happily bring their new car to them or have them pick it up.

Anything else these days is just too risky. I once sold a motorcycle to a guy who flew down from Pensicola on a Saturday. I gave him the title and bike and he rode home. Difference was that I knew he was on a plane and could track him down easier if the check was no good. Plus I researched him on the internet first. Check was good, we were both happy, good experience.

I wish you the best of luck.

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I too have gone to the buyer's bank and witnessed the cashier's check being issued from the buyer's bank. It's a good idea to get a copy of the buyer's driver's license. When I sold a less expensive car, I was completely comfortable with this. I turned over the car, title and keys right away at the bank.

When I sold my 2003 BMW, the buyer was obtaining financing from a local credit union. I had to sign the title over to the local credit union and received a check directly from the local credit union. I wasn't concerned at all, even though it was a $30,000 transaction. I would imagine that quite a few buyers of a 1992 Carrera 4 would be financing, hopefully locally.

When I sold my Nissan 300ZX Turbo, the buyer was financing with a military credit union. He had a check that he would make payable to me and fill in the amount. This made me very nervous but I trusted the buyer. So, I wrote up an agreement describing the transaction in great detail. The agreement described the car, the sale price, and that I would not turn over the car, title or keys until the check cleared and funds could be completey verified in my account by my bank. I believe I also was able to confirm that the check cleared the credit union that was financing the car. The buyer required that I agree to park the car, noting the mileage, and that the car would not be driven under any circumstances. I also wrote into the agreement that the car was being sold as is and there was no warranty whatsoever, etc. The buyer was a bit impatient as it took about 7 days for the funds to clear, but he held up ok. The deal worked out just fine.

I have never felt nervous about going out on a test drive with the people that came to see my cars for sale. I guess I have been lucky. Perhaps a good idea might be to ask the potential buyer to bring a copy of their driver's license with them to the test drive. Have a friend meet up with you and the potential buyer at a large parking lot. Have the buyer view the car, and then if a test drive is in order, have the potential buyer hand the copy of the driver's license to your friend who will stay behind and wait for you to return. Your friend could even follow you in his car. I would think this would discourage a person from doing anything untoward. Bottom line, if you don't have a good feeling, don't go out on the drive.

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I don't know....but most of all these scenarios seem to suggest there's an armed robber's accomoplice lurking in the shrubbery waiting for that opportunity to grab your keys. I think you can be cautious, but some of this sounds a bit overly cautious. Whereas I would agree that in this day and age, one can't be too careful, I also feel that when someone meets you for a test drive or perhaps to just discuss your car, you can pretty well assess the person based upon the sorts of things he/she wants to do. It really boils down to common sense. You can pretty well tell the tire kickers....very little discussion, just want to get in it and blast away. Spending about 10 minutes talking to the guy/gal can give you a pretty good idea of where they're coming from. This isn't a universal truth...some folks are pretty slick about this game. I just went and drove an 03 996TT with 8800 miles on it. The neighborhood was extrememly "well heeled". I spoke to the seller for about five minutes after which he informed me that he had to leave, but here are the keys to the car, here is the garage door opener, and to just throw the keys under the garage door as it came down. That's someone who either has implicit faith in his fellow man, has never been the victim of any crime, or "assessed" me to his satisfaction. I'm not sure I would have done the same.

Obviously a solo test drive is out of the question....and if I was riding along and the potential buyer "got on it" a little too aggressively, I'd simply say that he's had his one or two shots at acceleration and that my insurance doesn't cover his desire for an Auto X session. Most folks would want to tromp on the accelerator at least once to satisfy themselves that the car has spunk, and in truth, you really have to allow that...but after that, it's the PPI that's going to tell him/her about the mechanical health of the car.

Some of these folks are right about YOUR insurance following the car....It certainly makes it more difficult to go after the guy's insurance when you knowingly and willingly let him have the keys....and of course after the accident, and he goes home and has time to think about it...he's going to want out of any financial responsibility....and believe me, he's going to be talking to friends about his complicity and whether he REALLY needs to step up to the plate. He doesn't know you, he has no history or loyalty to you, and unless he's a truly ethical fellow, he will probably start looking for a way out. After that of course you're stuck with the CARFAX report and attendant diminished value because of the accident. I think this all goes back to spending the time up front with the fellow and trying to assess him/her BEFORE you let them into the driver's seat. Granted, all this caution presupposes that you're not stuck with a car that's been advertised for 4 months with no takers. Desperation has the effect of causing a person to throw caution to the winds.

Edited by Chuck Jones

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