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Old 12-27-2013, 12:15 AM
 
Location: San Diego
306 posts, read 603,233 times
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For those that have sold cars privately how do you avoid letting unsavory characters test drive your car? By "unsavory" I mean these types of people:

1 - people who do not know if yours is the make/model they want to buy and are using the test drive (like a dealership) to figure out if the type of car suits them. In my opinion the test drive for a used car should only be to evaluate the condition of the car and not to research the make/model.

2 - people who will make a ridiculously low offer (lowballers), say you're asking $6k which is within 10% of market price and they want it for $3k.

3 - people with questionable driving histories that may potentially wreck your car.

4 - people who have no intention of buying but have nothing better to do than go checking out used cars.
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Old 12-27-2013, 12:23 AM
 
484 posts, read 1,470,366 times
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To deal with #2: if they ask for $3k then I tell them I'll sell for $5.9k. If they raise to $3.5k, then I drop to $5.8k. Then I tell them take it or leave it. The negotiation takes under 60 seconds.

To deal with 1, 3 and 4: I don't let strangers drive my car. I am upfront with this in the beginning. I may drive them around if they seem serious, but that's it. I've sold a couple of cars w/o test drives; one of them sold immediately. If they don't like my terms, they can look elsewhere.

Selling a car is easy. I don't know why people make it hard. You own the car hence you set the terms. They can buy it or leave.
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:10 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,524 posts, read 19,683,787 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by josh u View Post

To deal with 1, 3 and 4: I don't let strangers drive my car. I am upfront with this in the beginning. I may drive them around if they seem serious, but that's it. I've sold a couple of cars w/o test drives; one of them sold immediately. If they don't like my terms, they can look elsewhere.
So you've bought cars you've never even driven?
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Old 12-27-2013, 01:50 AM
 
Location: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
11,261 posts, read 14,698,369 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaypee View Post
So you've bought cars you've never even driven?
Nope. He's sold cars without test drives. lol
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:36 AM
 
Location: Phoenix Arizona
724 posts, read 1,725,119 times
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I'd never buy a used car without an extensive test drive which would include a few miles at highway speeds and uphill climbs (if available). If the seller doesn't let me test drive then I'm going to assume they are hiding something and I'll pass. How could you buy a car without seeing if you even like the way it drives?
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Old 12-27-2013, 06:46 AM
C8N
 
1,119 posts, read 2,826,909 times
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Unfortunately, if you want to sell your car relatively quickly, you will need to entertain the tire kickers.
IDK but the only way to weed them out is to qualify them during the first inquiry call. If they are quick to schedule a time to see the car, I would classify them as a tire kicker. However, if they have a thousand annoying questions regarding the car, it would indicate to me that this is a potential buyer. From the buyer's perspective, I would want to make sure as best as I can that a car will be worth my time before I go down to see the car and avoid wasting my time. One should have a bunch of questions for the seller over the phone.
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Old 12-27-2013, 08:31 AM
 
Location: Pikesville, MD
5,229 posts, read 13,336,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaypee View Post
So you've bought cars you've never even driven?
I've bought a couple that way. I know how cars drive in general, I ask specific questions, and ask for specific pictures, so that when I get there, there is little else for me to do but do the paperwork. I bought my BMW 740iL off of ebay sight unseen other than pictures, and sent the deposit that day. The first time I drove it was to bring it home from Connecticut to Baltimore. Had that car for 5 years and loved it. I bought the last Range Rover for my wife from Long Island, NY off of Craigslist the same way.

I don't want to drive 5-6 states away and then play games. If I'm driving that far to get a car, then I've done my research, determined what might be wrong with a car at those miles, determined if the price is worth dealing with any unforseen problems (or known problem areas), and made up my mind that unless something is catastrophically wrong with it within the first couple minutes of seeing it, then I'm taking that car. I've had great luck doing so. In 38 years of buying cars I've never gotten burned, and I've bought a LOT of cars.

The only time I take test drives is if I didn't yet know if I want to drive that KIND of car, and I only take those test drives at delaerships, not private parties.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:15 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
35,902 posts, read 65,351,220 times
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The non-serious "buyers" are not as much of a problem as the scammers. Whether you use E-Bay, Craigslist, or Autotrader you will be getting foreign our out-of-state buyers offering more than the asking price but asking you to send some of their payment to their shipper.

I found that simply placing a sign in the window yields the best results, getting only local buyers. There's really know way to know ahead of time whether they will lowball you, but at least they will have seen it before calling, so they will really be interested. For the test drive, ask to see their driver , take a picture of it with your phone, and then go with them.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:15 AM
 
Location: NY
9,131 posts, read 17,330,874 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrocket2 View Post
For those that have sold cars privately how do you avoid letting unsavory characters test drive your car? By "unsavory" I mean these types of people:

1 - people who do not know if yours is the make/model they want to buy and are using the test drive (like a dealership) to figure out if the type of car suits them. In my opinion the test drive for a used car should only be to evaluate the condition of the car and not to research the make/model.
I think this might be a little hard to avoid. If I am shopping a midsize sedan used, I may compare a Honda to a Toyota just as I would at a new car dealer.

Quote:
2 - people who will make a ridiculously low offer (lowballers), say you're asking $6k which is within 10% of market price and they want it for $3k.
I find a lot of these folks will email/call me with lowball offers before even asking to see the car. So I can tell them to forget it ahead of time. These folks can be discouraged a little in your advertisement (say specifically you won't entertain low-ball offers, or that you are "firm" on price if you think your asking price is already more than fair).

Quote:
3 - people with questionable driving histories that may potentially wreck your car.
It's your car. You do not have to let people drive it. If a buyer makes you nervous, take them for the drive. If you do let them drive, go with them. You do not have to hand the keys over for a day. I have let prospective buyers have a little test drive, but I ride with. I am yet to have someone dislike that arrangement, or beat on my car.

Quote:
4 - people who have no intention of buying but have nothing better to do than go checking out used cars.
I cannot imagine there are too many of these people bothering private parties. Too much hassle compared to just browsing dealer lots. Still, you can read people ahead of time. The type and quality of questions they ask, etc. You can ask them questions too, even "how serious are you in buying a car right now?" I have had a couple tire kickers come buy, but I would say about 75% of the buyers I have invited to view/drive a car I was selling have ended up buying it.

Good luck!
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:15 AM
 
358 posts, read 785,600 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redrocket2 View Post
For those that have sold cars privately how do you avoid letting unsavory characters test drive your car? By "unsavory" I mean these types of people:

1 - people who do not know if yours is the make/model they want to buy and are using the test drive (like a dealership) to figure out if the type of car suits them. In my opinion the test drive for a used car should only be to evaluate the condition of the car and not to research the make/model.

2 - people who will make a ridiculously low offer (lowballers), say you're asking $6k which is within 10% of market price and they want it for $3k.

3 - people with questionable driving histories that may potentially wreck your car.

4 - people who have no intention of buying but have nothing better to do than go checking out used cars.
The only way to entirely avoid all such issues is to sell your vehicle to a professional reseller. You will receive substantially less for your vehicle than through a direct sale, but that is the price you pay for convenience (avoiding inconvenience is also a convenience and has a price). You could also sell your vehicle through an auction, or use E-bay. If you use E-bay, you may need to be prepared to post an inspection report from a certified mechanic. Finally, if you live in the United States, you can donate the vehicle to a charity organization and recoup some of the value of the vehicle through income tax deduction and the resulting reduced taxation.

If you want to sell without a test drive, you need dumb buyers. Smart buyers will insist not only on a test drive, but on having the vehicle examined by a professional mechanic as well. That is the advice commonly given to potential buyers by members of this forum. If you do not allow smart buyers to test drive and arrange a professional examination of the vehicle, they will assume you are hiding something and find a seller who is more motivated.

To avoid low offers:

1. List the vehicle at a reasonable price to begin with. Do not use dealer asking prices to set your price. Use actual sales prices (not asking prices) from your area and then try to price a little bit below the typical price.
2. Make sure you list the price for the vehicle a "firm"
3. When a potential buyer calls to come look at the vehicle, tell them there is no room for negotiation, so please do not waste both party's time if they are not prepared to pay the asking price.
4. Purchase insurance for your vehicle. there should be no problem asking for a $500 deposit prior to a test drive. That should cover your deductible in the event of a collision. Sure they may wreck the vehicle, but you might wreck it also driving to the grocery store tomorrow. That is why you need insurance. You will ride along on any test drive anyway, so you can insist they pull over and let you drive home if they are driving in an unsafe manner. You may also want ot have someone with you who fallows along in another vehicle during the test drive.
5. Allow a test drive and the examination of the vehicle by a professional mechanic. Persons buying without a test drive are taking a big risk. A test drive and/or professional examination are the only means of determining the condition of the suspension and drive train. There is no means to determine the condition of a tie rod, control arm, or transmission without a drive test and/or professional examination. Buying without a drive test bears a considerable risk of these or other parts of the vehicle being defective or in the process of failure. Risk always has value. If the potential buyer is expected to take such a huge risk, they expect financial accommodation in exchange. Thus, your wish list is contrary to itself in part. If you want to avoid test drives, you need to be prepared to sell the car for 20% or more below market value for a car that can be driven and examined.

It seems unlikely someone looking to just test drive various vehicles for fun will drive a distance to meet with you for a test drive. They can go to a dealership and test drive three or four vehicles from one location (which is usually more accessible and convenient than a residence anyway).

Perhaps the greater risk are unsavory characters who use the advert to get to you or your residence. For this reason, it is best to meet them in a public place that is not your home and where you are very visible. Perhaps the parknig lot of the local law enforcement agency. It may even be prudent to notify the law enforcement agency of what you are doing and when. This will avoid any perception of an illegal transaction taking place and they may be willing to peek out the window occasionally to make certain you are not in distress.

One other suggestion I have gleaned from assisting family members and friends with used vehicle purchases: if you have modified the vehicle in any way, reverse the modification prior to listing the vehicle, particularly if the modifications are typical of immature vehicle owners (i.e. items marked as performance enhancement that really do nothing (modified air filtering systems for example), or items commonly referred to as "ricing" (unnecessary air scoops or spoilers for example, oversize wheels and/or very skinny tyres)). Such modifications tell a potential buyer the vehicle was likely abused and/or other modifications may have been done or attempted by a person with a lack of real understanding of what adds value to a a vehicle. When I assist a buyer in making a used vehicle purchase, such things always result in a red X on the listing.

Last edited by BrendanSWM; 12-27-2013 at 10:23 AM..
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