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Questions About Private Sale Transactions



  • I'm looking to sell my car at a good price at no cost........ I'm trying to find a place in which there's a fairly good chance of getting prospective buyers........
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,087
    I've had some luck with the free eBay local classifieds.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    edited August 2011
    Craigslist is good but you have to know how to attract the right kind of buyer. Post GOOD photos (you only get to post 4) and lots of description on condition, options, mileage, owner history and if you have the info, the CARFAX report.

    To sell at a "good price" you need a) a good car to start with and b) skillful composition and presentation in the advert.

    Common errors in car ads:

    1. Lousy photos---get a good camera, take your time.

    2. Misspelling the car's name (bad idea). My favorites are "Camero" and "Alpha Romero". :P

    3. No details (is it an automatic? Does it have X or Y? Mileage? Carfax?

    4. No price (very annoying)

    5. Harsh language, e.g. "take it or leave it"/ "no flakes"/ price is firm, no haggling/ if you don't know what these cars are worth, don't waste my time/ etc etc

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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    How about "I REFUSE TO ANSWER EMAILS!" I see that regularly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    That sure is a turn-off, isn't it?

    Also, you have to price it right. If you get no phone calls, or 2 or 3 walk aways, you're above market most likely.

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    I see #3 frequently - very few details, and sometimes the ad even says "call for details." Um... why am I going to waste my time calling when I can just read the ads that include details? The ad is free. It's disrespectful to your audience to ask them to accommodate pure laziness.

    If you visit the real-world trade-in values discussion here, right above the post-a-message box is a list of details we ask you to include to get a more accurate price evaluation. If you use that as a checklist when writing a for sale ad, you'll be in good shape relative to the competition.

    Re: #2 - how about that Camaray?


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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    edited August 2011
    You can always tell a good car ad on Craigslist---because it is deleted in a day or two because the car got sold!

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  • steine13steine13 Posts: 2,562
    Maybe we should add to the list of car-ad no-nos.
    Some are really popular, though:

    - "Will Sell Fast"
    - Pictures out of date: Snow on the ground in August; fall foliage in May, etc.
    - Junked-up trunks & interiors
    - Details that aren't. E.g. the Taurus with the "3.0 l V6." Yeah, but which one? Or the conversion van with "bench makes into a bed." Really?
    - Listing problems and advertising "easily fixed."
    - Even better: "Needs a little TLC" without stating what's up.

    OTOH, I've heard people say they always leave out one or two important details, while providing plenty of useful information, so people have a reason to call.

    Terry of blessed memory once advised me on leaving out possible deal killers; like a short bed on a fullsize truck. He said some people won't even look at it if it's a shorty, when in reality it might be big enough for them.
    So leave it out; if they ask, it's a short bed, if not, leave it alone. Sure enough, the guy who bought my 07 Silverado was coming from a 95 F150 longbed and had been looking for another. Mine was a good deal, so he took it anyway.

    Cheers -Mathias
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Yeah, I get annoyed by the "won't last long!" ads that are re-posted every day for months. Most of the marketing hype language that consumers ignore in dealership ads, for whatever reason, is irritating in FSBO ads.


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  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,687
    When I see "won't last long" I always suspect it might be a Freudian slip revealing the car's health.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    A reporter is looking to interview someone in the greater Washington, DC area who unknowingly bought a car that had suffered flood damage. Please respond to with your daytime contact information by Monday, September 19, 2011.
  • wilcoxwilcox Posts: 583
    edited September 2011
    I think they might document accident incidents, report recall information, and safety info.

    Do they supply maintenance records and routine servicing ?

    I'm asking because I do all the oil changes, and other operating maint. processes. I'm wondering if carfax draws off dealers records for servicing vehicles in those manners..

    Best Regards, wil.
  • robr2robr2 BostonPosts: 8,862
    If a dealer shares information with them, then the answer is yes.
  • :mad: I've been buying used the last couple of years and at the moment I'm trying to sell a car private party for the first time in quite a while. As both a buyer and seller, I find the used car pricing on edmunds to be highly inaccurate for older low mileage vehicles. This is problematic as a buyer because it can be frustrating when no one will go near what we're being told by edmunds are "True Market Values". I'd like to see some transaction data to back up the numbers. What I think really goes on is that when there is no data available edmunds uses a flawed formula. For example, I found a loaded 1994 Mustang GT convertible just a year or two ago that was in mint condition with only 22K miles on it. Edmunds said it was worth about $5k. KBB and NADA both said $9-10K. The seller wanted $10k. I ended up buying it for $9k and ignoring edmunds, but it made me nervous. I've come to realize these numbers on edmunds cannot possibly be backed up by real sales going on. No car like that one in that condition was ever available that i could find in the US for $5k then or since. Now I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum. I'm selling a 2002 vehicle with 42k mi in great condition that edmunds says is worth $8 to $10K. KBB says over $16K and Nada says $15K. More importantly the cars are actually selling in the $15K range. I can't find anyone anywhere selling even close to $8K for a vehicle in this condition. Edmunds cannot possibly have sales data to back up these numbers. This is a real disservice to the community and Edmunds should stop doing older low mileage used car estimates if they cannot be at all accurate. It hurts both sellers and buyers. I sent in a complaint and was told they would forward my comments to the pricing manager, but I wouldn't be surprised if he is a round basket. Personally I suspect Edmunds gets a lot of vendor support for new car data and probably gets nothing for used car data so there is little incentive for them to get it right.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    All used cars are different, and you need a very large database to make sense out of used car values.

    Price guides are only 'ballparks" that attempt to average out a lot of fluctuations.

    For instance, here's a decent 1994 GT convertible for 1/2 the price that KBB says:

    Now, if you feel the low miles are worth double the price, that's your decision to make, since such low miles are unusual. But to another buyer, low miles are not an asset, since a barely-driven car might have dried up seals, ornery brake calipers, or gummed up transmission.

    Keep in mind one important thing----price guides do NOT set the market. Sellers do not set the market. Appraisers do not set the market!

    It is the BUYER who sets the market. If your car is priced correctly, it will sell. If you cannot sell it after weeks of trying, this is not the fault of the price guides---your price is just too high for buyers.

    Prices are ultimately driven by a supply and demand equation. If, for instance, you had a very very low mileage pristine car, and you put a premium price on it because of the spectacular condition and low miles---that in itself doesn't mean the car is worth what you are asking. If all the people in your city already have a low miles X car, and there are more low miles X cars than buyers, then the price will drop.

    you've seen this yourself, in cars that are 'hoarded and put away" when new, because the owners think they will be instant classics.

    But, guess what? So many people hoarded them, that when they all decided to sell at the same time, there was a glut of them--and hence, the price dropped.

    So don't rely on price guides entirely---use them strictly as "ballpark" estimates to get you grounded in reality. That's really all they are meant to do.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,087
    It would help immensely if you share what this 2002 car is.

    Low mileage cars are always a crapshoot. Most guides either underallow or overallow for those miles. As shifty said, the market is set by the buyer. You were a buyer for your 'Stang at $9k. There are many who would scoff at such a price. When you go to sell it, you'll just have to wait for the right buyer, if you can.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Sorry I didn't mention the 20O2 is a Honda S2000. I even made contact with someone who just sold one with 60K miles for $15K. I understand everything said above, but my point is that the condition and mileage seem to not be accounted for by edmunds properly. If this is imprecise, they should give a range or something. Having this popular site understating the value causes buyers and sellers to not match up. The buyer wastes time waiting for that good deal that never comes and the seller loses buyers who aren't better educated to what typical transaction prices really are. Worse yet, Edmunds claims to be based on real transaction data. I say show me the data and the cars to back it up because I don't believe it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    edited March 2012
    yes all well and good but you are presuming that just because someone "sold one with 60K for $15K", that does not mean that someone else whom you never heard of sold one with 50K for $12,000. You don't know all the points of sale in other words, whereas Edmunds might.

    I'm sure you catch my drift here---a database of one is not much of a database.

    I also can't agree that buyers might not be 'better educated". The buyers ARE the teachers--they educate us!

    I think the confusion here is, at least partly, based on the concept of impartiality. Appraisers, and hopefully, price guide analysts, aren't supposed to be in love with a certain car---they should be completely impartial.

    As a seller, you can't be impartial. You would naturally have a bias toward higher pricing.

    You *should* ask whatever price you wish (your 1st amendment rights) :P

    But if you asked me (which you didn't) what I think the market for your car is, I'd both agree and disagree with you...I think Edmunds might be a bit low, but I think KBB is off the charts on the high end. I'm thinking around $12,500 would be fair market value for your car right now, based on comparables I've seen.

    Basically I'm giving you an extra $2500 for the low miles, which is generous.

    GOOD price guides are not about what people "think" a car should be worth---they are based on actual sales data---or should be.

    it's not what the 1% sells for, it's what the 99% sell for.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,087
    edited March 2012
    Ah, see now convertibles can vary widely depending on where you live.

    I do agree, though, that this is worth quite a bit more. I only have a couple of comps that went through dealer auctions and those still had more miles. One in above average condition with 56k miles fetched $12k in Florida. And one with 72k got $10,900 in Texas.

    So could you get $15k for yours selling it privately? Probably.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Mr Shiftright: I totally agree with you on the going prices are what matters. But I've looked pretty hard and I don't believe there is data to substantiate the Edmunds numbers. Right now my dataset of 1 that I managed to get hold of after a sale is infinitely higher than what Edmunds has shown to me. All I know is that I have two occurrences where I searched the US for a car and could not find one in the stated condition close to the price listed by edmunds. The one shown by someone earlier from craigslist was not close to the condition of the GT I bought (I know I didn't go into details). So my point still stands: Edmunds is inaccurate. Maybe they don't have enough data for a particular model/year and so they try to extrapolate from a small sample, but they don't say that. They make a claim that their data is backed up by sales history. Honestly, I was surprised at what the S2K's seem to be going for. I went into it expecting less $, but i'm not going down on $15K for a couple of months (it's only been a day) because of spring coming and I'm in no rush.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    edited March 2012
    Sure--time of year really matters on a convertible.

    Now when you say 'what they're going for' are you looking at asking prices or selling prices?

    Asking prices are basically meaningless to an appraiser. When I'm appraising a car, I'll call up a dealer and push to know "what's your take price"?

    Again, if you're selling in the "pristine" category, that's not what price guides focus on.

    Okay I did a global (national) search for 2002 Honda S2000s, dealer and private party asking prices and got a national average asking price (over 100 hits) of $13,800. (To get this average, there were cars priced more than yours).

    If we presume that selling price is say 10% less than asking, then I'm right on the money here at $12,500.

    Even IF you sold your car for $15000, that doesn't mean that "all 2002 Honda S2000s with 42, 000 miles on them are worth $15,000".

    A good price guide would try to find many many low mileage examples and average them out.

    PS: I priced your car out using Edmunds, and got approx. $11,000 as value.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,087
    $12,500 would be dealer auction money if its clean, though. He may be able to go into Carmax and get that kind of money.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    Well if a dealer thinks he could flip it for a few thou, sure, but the seller isn't a dealer and doesn't offer financing, showrooming, national ads, etc. Dealers can always get more for a car--that's why price guides have private party AND dealer retail pricing.

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  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 22,087
    edited March 2012
    Of course. And private party is still above auction value. Where exactly on this car we won't know until it's sold, but I would definitely be asking $15k. i can bet a dealer isn't letting a pristine low mileage car going for less than $3k profit.

    '17 F150 Crew 2.7; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '09 LR2 HSE. 44-car history and counting!

  • Just as another datapoint I called one of the webuycars sites in my area. These guys prey on people who need money fast. They immediately emailed me an offer $1200 over the max mint condition number that edmunds shows. I still stand by the fact that edmunds has a problem here. I don't know if its older low mileage cars or just low volume cars they can't get data on, but they should be up front when they don't have concrete data to back it up.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,587
    Again, there's a difference between the "market" and what you sell one car for, one time. And again, it's not the job of price guides to try and value exceptionally pristine, low mileage cars.

    Edmunds is a "guide" and as such, focuses on the 99%, not the 1%.

    It's been my experience that very rare, or very pristine low miles cars are not even reported in sales data available to price guides. Many cars of this type are sold privately among club members.

    I think the problem is that you are holding Edmunds to a standard that it never claims to cater to.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,602
    People are funny when they are selling cars.

    They will search high and low, looking at "asking" prices. If they see a number they think is too low, they will discredit that source. If they see a number they like then they will think the one they have is worth at least that much. They think that's what they are "going for".

    The market is funny and S-2000's aren't the best of sellers anyway.

    Some people think the miles on the car determine everything as far as value and this is NOT so. A car can have low miles and be a roach. A car can have a lot of miles and be in pristine condition.

    On S-2000's modifications kill the value. If it's been lowered, has the wrong wheels or it looks like it's had a hard life (as many have) the value go's in the toilet. Color is important on an S-2000 too. If it's white with that beige interior, it'll rot on the lot.

    Like our HOST says, all Price Guides are exactly that..." Guides" Your car may be worth more or less than that number.

    People overpay everyday for used cars...or do they? If they are happy, that's what matters. Sometimes cars are sold for less than they should have sold for.

    No different with houses, stocks or anything else.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
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  • Hey everyone. I have a 1999 4runner limited with 165,000 miles on it that I am looking to list in the next 48 hours and I am trying to determine a price for it; I'm wondering if you all can help.

    I've searched Craigslist and Autotrader and found the following:

    15 makes and models that are similar to mine are being sold privately within a 200 mile radius. Of those 15, mine has the 4th fewest miles and, realistically, appears to be the 4th best vehicle of the 15. The 3 that seem to be in better condition have anywhere from 2k to 25k less miles and the average asking price is $9,000. Of the 11 that are in worse condition (mileage is, in most cases, about 40k more than mine), the average asking price is $6,000. Dealers in the same radius are asking an average of $9,900 for a similar vehicle. Edmunds lists the private party value at about $5,100.

    It is a mechanically sound vehicle -- not pampered, but taken care of, and is currently in the shop getting a $200 interior/exterior detailing to make it shine. It has a few cosmetic blemishes (front bumper parking garage dings) and the interior is in great condition except that the leather on the driver and passenger seats is showing some wear (no tears, just wear).

    So what should I ask? I'm thinking splitting the difference between the average asking price of the worse and better vehicles and going for $7,500, taking anything above $7,000. Thoughts?
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Try posting in our Real-World Trade-In Values discussion:

    Don't bother with all of the comparables - just list the info requested in red text above the "post a message" box.


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