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?