Networking: Not just for job seeking, also for used car selling

After DH bought his Honda Clarity Plug-in, we had 3 cars, a 2 car garage, a 1 car driveway, and a HOA that doesn’t allow overnight street parking.  Mornings involved a car shuffle so I could get to work since I was often in the garage instead of the driveway.  We decided that even though DH’s old Honda Civic Hybrid was a far nicer car than my older Hyundai Accent that I’d keep my Accent and we’d sell the Civic.  This is partly because the Accent only has 47K miles, partly because I get strangely attached to things I’ve had a long time, and mainly because I’m a small person and my Accent fits me whereas the Civic is just uncomfortable.  (I am a little bit concerned that the universe is telling me that I should be worried about my safety as we know a couple of people IRL and there are a couple prominent people online who have recently gotten physically hurt in car accidents, but not quite enough to replace the Accent with something bigger and newer.  Not that we have the cash to do so right now anyway.)

Regular readers may recall that the dealership lowballed us a number even lower than what KBB said was the lowest dealership number for our Civic.  The lowest amount DH had been willing to accept was $1,300 and they came back with $1000.  Then DH spent a couple of weeks after work detailing the interiors of the car to get it into selling condition.  Then before he’d finished, my car went into the shop and I started driving the nice clean Civic to work, for about a week.  (I told him he could add any extra he made above what the dealer offered to his adult allowance.)

One day during this week, I was walking out to my car after a presentation so as to get to a restaurant for the speaker’s post-talk dinner.  One of the guys also going to the dinner was going to carpool with another guy in his department because the first guy had biked to work that day.  As I walked past, the second guy was brushing some brown dirt-like substance off the passenger-side seat telling the first guy, “Wait a minute, I need to clean the manure off the front seat of my car,” at which point guy 1 asked if maybe he could carpool with me instead.  Once in, I mentioned that this wasn’t my regular car and that we were looking to sell it.  The guy who I was giving a ride said, oh really, my 15 year old nephew in the Midwest needs a $2000 car (the kid has $900 saved up and his parents are paying the other half– the uncle is throwing in the missing $100 for the kid), and he’d been planning to start looking but was worried about rusted out bottoms in the Midwest and hurricane flooded used cars in the South.  $2000 was a little less than the bottom-most private-sale price quoted by KBB, and we could have probably asked for closer to $2,500 or $2750, but it was also a lot more than the $1300 DH had been holding out for in order to avoid selling on Craigslist when he decided to decline the dealer’s offer.  And since this is a kid with parents and not a random college student, we feel a bit better about what happens if the electric battery dies, the tires need replacing, etc.  (The guy was like, you expect those kinds of things in any car less than $2K– the important thing is the fame isn’t bent, the engine isn’t flooded etc.) The guy in question is pretty easy-going despite not wanting to sit in manure and shares a lot of the same Midwestern sensibilities of responsibility that DH and I do, so we felt like we could trust him to be solidly dealing with us and he felt the same way about us.

So after my car came back from the shop, DH offered this guy our car for $2000.  The guy took it to a local mechanic who declared it to be in good shape (next expected repair:  replacing the tires).  DH looked up how to do a private sale.  We signed over the title and dealt with a bunch of documents.  He wrote a check (if it had been someone on Craigslist or Facebook, we would have insisted on cash).  I said a fond farewell to the Civic.  We didn’t have to deal with Craigslist.  And some kid in the Midwest is getting a much nicer used car than he would have been able to get without his uncle’s intervention.  (It’s even been detailed!)

So… I guess the moral is:  When you need to do a transaction of some kind, it’s useful to just mention it to people before dealing with social media sites.  That is, of course, assuming you’re willing to satisfice rather than optimize.  If we’d been set on $2,500 or more, we probably would have needed to go the full Craigslist gamut.

Have you sold a used car before?  How did you do it?  Have you ever networked your way to something besides a job?

Renting in paradise, an update

I’m afraid to post this and almost afraid to write it, but we’ve sent in a deposit for a place in paradise.  How did we do on our priorities?

1.  I will be able to get enough sleep at night– no thin walls, no cigarette smoke.  (Also non-crazy landlord, but how does one screen for that?)

We ended up with half of a duplex that has a staircase separating the two parts, so it’s more like a townhouse.  There’s an empty lot with trees on one side and a house on the other side.  It’s also on a busy street, but I think I can handle traffic noise.  The landlord seems laid back and our friends know the tenants who are moving out (who are moving out because they bought their own place).

2.  At least 2br.

Exactly 2br.

3.  In unit laundry.  Dishwasher.  Reasonable appliances (though we can always buy cheap ones).

Laundry is in the garage.  Dishwasher in the kitchen.  The other appliances seem reasonable, though my in-laws have their stove and it’s not my favorite.  (It’s that electric kind with the glass top so it’s easy to clean, but not that much fun to cook with.)

4. In a decent to good school district and DC1 can stay grade-skipped (or they want to test before keeping the skip– I’m fine with that too).

The elementary school will allow DC2 to go into 5th grade.  It’s a 9 star school with a good mix of demographics and SES and not 100% white or wealthy.  Languages are optional and expensive after school ($500) and I don’t think they offer band or anything like that (update:  there is a musical instrument option offered through the school from a local non-profit), but we’ll see once we’re allowed to actually register.

5.  We can keep at least our main kitty, little kitty.

Cats allowed!

6.  A reasonable commute to:  Sabbatical Uni, DC1’s school, DC2’s preschool, given that we will only have one car.

7 min walk to DC2’s preschool.  It’s an hour and some round-trip if DH walks to drop both kids off, according to google.  There are some other options, including having DC2 bike hirself, or walking to the closer school and taking the bus ($700) to the assigned school, but we’ll figure that out.  For me it’s about a 30 min bike-ride or a 40 min drive (20 min without traffic…) or a 40 min bus drive (20 min without traffic).

7.  Walkable neighborhood that includes a playground.

The playground is across the street.

8.  Allows us to take Nice kitty


9.  3 br

Bzzt.  Only 2br.  :(

10.  Walking distance to a library

Yes!  7 min walk.

11.  Walking distance to shops

Yes!  Like, right around the corner distance.

12.  Excellent schools (as opposed to decent)

9 star is pretty good.

13.  Driveway or garage space, not just street parking.

One car garage and driveway.

14. Out door play area such as yard.

Bzzt!  There’s basically a dog run.  But hey, there’s a park across the street.

15. Furnished.

Bzzt!  I hear Ikea is cheap.  Once we have this lease thing figured out we will ask if the current tenants want to sell us any of their stuff.  Figuring out how to get other stuff over there is, of course, a bit of a nightmare problem we’re still trying to figure out.  (Like, we have to take the piano, but what about mattresses?)

16.  More than 1000 sq ft.

1200sq ft.  We had an apartment in grad school that size at the very end (using the money we’d saved being RAs for two years) and it seemed enormous.  It will probably be less enormous with two kids.

17.  Nice appliances.


18.  Nice extras (countertops etc.)


19.  Fruit or nut trees.


20.  A price considerably lower than 5K/mo.

This place was listed for 4K/mo.  I don’t know what our friend out there told them, but she sweet talked the landlord into thinking we’re so amazing she should cut an additional $100 off the rent.  Also some additional utilities are included in the rent because it’s a duplex.  So instead of paying close to 5K, we’ll be paying just under 4K/mo.  That means I’m feeling a bit more relaxed about money, especially with a month of summer salary also happening.  If our house rents out, we’ll be able to make our savings goals!

And as an added benefit, since our friend did such a great job talking us up, if this all goes through, DH won’t have to spend a week of his vacation time apartment-hunting.  So he can spend it doing moving stuff instead.  :)