Used Cars: We Bought, We Sold, We Conquered

So we discussed, at length, the ins and outs of buying and selling used cars. So what? Well, every bit of those articles is gleaned from the processes we went through in selling one of our cars and buying a used truck. We're not going to claim to be experts on the topic, but who is, really? We chose to share this information because it is what we did, and both transactions went extremely well, with the exception of a couple forgotten garage remotes (Don't forget those!!). Lots of pundits will tell you to buy a used car instead of new, but they rarely help navigate you through that process. We hope that we have helped fill that gap.

So how did we come out? First we sold the car I was driving. My commute was quite short. While I loved the car I was driving, and it was quite efficient, We just didn't need two small cars. We needed more utility as we were constantly renting or borrowing trucks to haul stuff. One of the two cars had to go, and 'my' car got the ax.

  • We posted the ad on no-charge want ads first, like craigslist. After a week, we paid for a newspaper ad. Both types brought in leads, but the eventual buyer came from craigslist.
  • Since our car was in pristine order and below average on miles, we asked for top dollar - full private-party, excellent-condition value. $10,200
  • Three weeks after the initial post, our car was sold - at full asking price. They could not find a single reason to discount our asking price.
  • The final transaction went down at the buyer's credit union. We had the title (since we'd paid it off 6 months prior), and the check came straight from the Credit Union. We had all of the necessary paperwork and everything went extremely smooth. Both parties drove away happy.
Since we had started shopping for trucks 3-4 weeks prior, we were poised to buy as soon as that car sold, and the check was cashed.
  • As soon as we got home, we check the latest listings, double checked the old ones, and started making calls and sending emails. We had our top 2 lined up for test drives, and were waiting to hear back on our back ups.
  • The first was at a dealer and was a total bust. The ad totally misrepresented the vehicle, and the salesman repeatedly lied to our face. A second vehicle that they showed us was in fair condition, but way over-priced.
  • The second truck tested very well, and was at a very fair price. It was everything we needed and then some. We bought it for cash on the spot. Once again, we had all the needed paperwork with us. The seller had the title and since we had just gone through the process of transferring one title, we knew how to do this one.
  • To be fair, despite flashing the cash, the seller did not budge on the price. They had already dropped it from the original $8500 to $8000 (which we knew), and wouldn't take less. That was fine with us - $8,000 was slightly under value for it's condition. We still reaped the benefit of doing the deal on the spot, with no delays.
  • For those of you doing the math: 10,200 - 8,000 = 2,200. That difference left us money for TT&L as well as unforeseen repairs. We certainly could have paired the $10,200 up with some saved cash to move up in vehicle, but why? Here it was unnecessary. We bought that truck for work, not show.
  • Once again, all parties came away happy with the deal.
Now just some fun facts to sum things up.
  • We bought and sold these vehicles through craigslist
  • The truck did need a repair - to the tune of $900! Good thing we had some room in the deal to do that. We still came out ~$800 ahead after that expense and TT&L.
  • We sold our car on Friday, and bought the truck on Sunday. Since we were well prepared, one of us didn't have to go without a vehicle.
Do you have used car buying/selling experience to share?


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