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Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S

I just thought I'd post regarding the hassle I'm having trying to sell my car privately. Perhaps others can share their experiences and offer some practical advice.

I basically started with the price a little high and am now almost down to top Glasses trade price for the car, a Golf GTI.

Most people want to negotiate on the telephone without even seeing the car, is this a modern trend? I thought most people would look first? Perhaps its just time wasters?

I also get lots of people calling from a blocked number who then dont bother leaving a message. I think this says something too.

Dealer has offered me about a thousand below top trade glasses price and the way things are going I might have to accept.

What do people think of bankers drafts? Would you accept one as long as you could call the bank to check the numbers etc or would you insist on CHAPS transfer or something?

i've had 2 people now agree a price over the phone, only for them to not bother turning up.....
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - oldnotbold
The only real solution is no bankers' drafts. One easy solution is for you both to go to the bank, where the buyer produces the cash, and you pay it over on the spot into your account. That way the buyer is on CCTV, and you know the cash is genuine, as you have the bank's receipt. You then hand over the keys and go on your way.

You don't really want to accept the cash at home - the dodgy buyer then calls his mates, who knock on your door "tooled up".
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - midlifecrisis
Bankers drafts can be confirmed by a bank, but withdrawn later. Don't accept one is my advice. Better to lose a sale than the car.

I've negotiated over the phone, especially if I'm travelling a long distance. Never had a problem that way, as cards are on the table from the start.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - rtj70
The last car I sold was in 1996/97 and they were willing to pay cash. Thinking it was all too easy for it to be fake I asked for a banker's draft and I would pay the cost. It all went through okay and I'd thought it was more secure.

Now I know different! I would now go down the route of paying cash into an account - banks local to me. And the banker's draft took a few days longer to cash than I thought too - a few days of worrying over about £3k! Never again.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - pmh
Are you sure that once the Bank has taken the cash over the counter that it is regarded as good.

IIRC from some years ago, a friend paid in cash which included a note that subsequently was identified as 'forged'. The amount was debited from his account and the doubtful note confiscated. This can presumably only happen if the paying in slip and cash remain together and do not go into the till. As the Bank then confiscates the note you have no evidence as to what is was, so cannot then take it up with the giver. (In his case it was a donation to a charity and he was aware who had given it to him, although there was little he could do about it!).

If a bank confiscated a note from me I think I would insist on a receipt with a note of the serial number, this at least then prevents 'substitution' of the note (either by intent or by chance) during the subsequent checking phase.

Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - beardylondon
My Dad was in a major high street building society and happened to mention about accepting a bankers draft for a car sale to a cashier he knew quite well. She said that she had recently sold her own car and accepted a bankers draft. she paid it into her account and 2 weeks later it came back as a fake and the funds were withdrawn from her account. she was stunned as she had been working in banking for 10 years and thought she knew what to look for.
so never accept one!
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Roly93
Selling motors is not an exact science, but my advice is as follows :-
You have a desirable car which should definately sell okay in Autotrader. You seem to have suffered from the nuisance boy racer with no money type caller by the sound of it.
This time of year is a bit grim for car selling. but as the weather improves this will improve I think. The way I set car prices is to look at an average betwen the Parkers 'Good' price and a spread of other similar models from a search of the Autotrader site.
Selling the car is all about reverse psychology sometimes, and if you let someone beat you down just in a phone conversation, it in some strange way turns a lot of them off.
Be confident, stand your ground and keep up the stance that "if you want one of these you will have no reason not to buy mine when you see it ".
Good Luck........
OH I almost forgot, dont take a building society or bankers draught without first checking that the supposed issuing branch has actually issued the cheque.

Edited by Roly93 on 27/02/2008 at 20:10

Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - stunorthants26
I just sold a slightly rusty Rover diesel for nearly £800 within two days of advertising it.
I accepted cash, which was checked with a note checker ( about £15 but worth it if you get just one fake ).
I wouldnt say the market is dead at all as I had people virtually breaking my door down to buy the car for some bizarre reason - if anything it is easily the most popular car ive ever sold yet it was a base spec, average cond with little tax left. I didnt even have to bargin with the buyer.

Are you sure you have the price right? Book price isnt so relevant as what they are going for on Autotrader - if you pitch it at about 10-15% below retail prices thats always worked for me on cars of any value.
Golf GTi should be easiest car in the world to sell, so I can only guess you are doing something wrong Im afraid.

If you have a good car, advertised at the right price, you should need to give any money off, or maybe do what I always do and knock say 50 quid off and tell em that shud be enough to fill it with fuel. Believe in the car - and be prepared to turn your back on anything other than a good offer - I find that when they say its their highest offer, saying sorry, thankyou anyway and shutting the door usually gets you that little bit extra. Its worth trying although you have to be ballsey about it, no fear!
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - oldnotbold
" Are you sure that once the Bank has taken the cash over the counter that it is regarded as good."

I've no doubt that banks write their Ts and Cs to suit themselves, not the customer. My point was that if you hand over £X thousand of cash, they'll check it carefully. If there are any duds they should bring them to your attention asap, but the chances of them accepting the lot, and then rejecting them all later are I hope slim. A shady type who wants to pass a whole stash of duds is not going to be too happy walking into the branch and getting recorded on their CCTV handling the stuff.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - daveyjp
"Golf GTi should be easiest car in the world to sell"

It's just taken a colleague four weeks and three price reductions to sell his and it wasn't priced OTT when first advertised.

His was very well specced, average mileage and pampered, but it didn't have leather or DSG. Lots of callers wanted a DSG gearbox.

He had calls from all over the UK and eventually sold to someone who agreed to buy it over the phone and then travelled 200 miles to collect.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - perleman
I totally failed to sell my car privately, it was a mint condition GOlf GTi mark 4 in black with FVWSH, and had just had a major service, new cambelt, new tires. I asked for Parkers Good which at the time was 6800 (it was an '02 with 67,000 on) and I didn't get a single call. I put it on ebay and had a bunch of complete idiots calling up offering £4000 for it and the such like. In the end I put it on Ebay and took 5300 from a trader, who paid online with his Natwest banking. The money didn't enter my account for another 4 days but I let him take the car as I use Natwest banking and he had cleared balance in his acount - but never ever again. In the future I will trade my car in and save the hassle, I didn't even get a good price.

What are you looking for it BTW?
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - oldnotbold
I'll tell you why it's hard to sell - because money is getting tighter.

The buyers of these cars are often younger, earning enough, but with little saved capital, so they buy on the strap. If you priced it at £2k more, and offered finance at 12% over four years you'd sell it....

If you don't believe me then look at the level of interest on the 15 y/o Audi 80 TDi (see Classifieds) - already at £620 on Ebay, and read above how StuN had them chewing his arm off for a Rover at £800.

Edited by oldnotbold on 28/02/2008 at 14:01

Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - LinuxGeek
Good to read you guys personal experiences here. I always buy car with cash and sell with cash only and so far I haven't been bitten by anything........touchwood :)

With regards to negotiating the price over the phone, I do it if I'm travelling say 30+ miles just so I know how much cash to take with me or if its worth travelling that distance.
If I get a rude person on the other line then more often than not I don't bother with his ad.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Bill Payer
(it was an '02 with 67 000 on)

How long ago did you sell it? Private buyers are *very* mileage sensitive - I change Mrs Payer's car every 5 yrs with 20-25K on them and I've had some phenomenal prices, and people offering more than the asking price when I tell them its sold.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - TurboD
Not if you are selling something someone wants at the right price.
I have never failed to sell at home. But I do not ask dealer prices, I make the car smart and show all bills etc.
Never negotiate over phone, but only sell in local papers. Tough if you do not live near city I suppose.
Do not forget you give no guarantee, so price must reflect. You need to weigh up a buyer, as a dealer will weigh you up. I bought a car from a dealer once with just a personal cheque, I was amazed, but he said 'I weigh up my customers and I know where you live!'
Well , you need to be more careful now. Chaps is pretty good , just make an adjustment in the price, it is how the house market is dealt with after all. How many of those go wrong?
February is a bad time and the market is flooded with 'dealer deals' after all.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - boxsterboy
If it's not selling, it's either over-priced or poorly advertised. Or both.

I have only failed to sell one car privately, and that was a "supposedly-sought-after" MX-5 Mk1 some years ago. Even at a very good price it failed to sell.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S
Its priced at Glasses top trade price so I dont think its too unreasonable. I agree a lot of people are *very* mileage sensitive and I wish I hadnt bought the car in the first place at high mileage.

I also think its a lot to do with money being tight at the moment with house price inflation completely stalled.

Dealer has offered me £1000 less than I'm advertising at (medium glasses trade) and unless someone is going to pay a reasonable amount more than this then I'd rather save the hassle and hand it over for that.

Thanks for all the comments, especially from the guy who replied to the comment about a Golf GTI being the easiest car in the world to sell. I promise it isnt unfortunately. (Of course any car will sell at rock bottom price.)

Lots of people planning to come to see it this weekend, lets see if they turn up, some are from the south coast and are travelling hundreds of miles if they turn up!

I think things might look up in March if it doesnt sell what with the weather improving etc.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Robert J.
Have you thought about sure-sell Keith? It might be interesting to see what reserve they would put on it
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Markoose
I've sold maybe 6 or 7 cars privately through autotrader and unsurprisingly the type of car dictates the type of people you get calling. A higher percentage of people aspiring to a Golf GTI are going to be chavs and idiots than say a Kia Rio so you'll get some of them phoning up going "yiss yiss yiss mate I is looking for a golf g t aiiii innit, corse I will buy it innit" and then not turning up. I recently had someone verbally abusing me down the phone because they got pipped to the sale by half an hour and they tried to intimidate me into going back on the verbal acceptance I'd given to the other person. At the end of the day too many want things their own way and don't want to show others respect. My tips for selling a car privately would be to include plenty of pictures (I've had a car with no pics up for 5 weeks with only 1 half-interested caller and then I put up 5-6 pics of the exterior and interior and had 5 in a week, people want to pre-vet the car before going to see it), skim over the obvious details but include details of anything extra or good (such as lots of time left on tax disc, new tyres, full service history, optional extras, low mileage). Then price the car equal to or £50 lower than the existing cheapest car of similar age, spec and mileage as long as that price isn't ridiculous. So for arguments sake if most cars of the same type are up for £9500 to £11500 and then there's one that's up for £8500 then price at £9450. That's if you want a quick sale, if not then hold out for longer but remember (particularly for nearly new cars) that the car is costing you in insurance, tax, depreciation and hassle so don't take too long.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S
I've definitely had plenty of those people! One of them threatened to kill me because I wouldnt take his offer of £11k.

The car is the cheapest 3 door Golf GTI on Autotrader at the moment (unless its changed)

Advertised at £12,500 at the moment.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - stunorthants26
Black with 51k?
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - stunorthants26
Ok, well no offense, but the advert isnt the best to start with - its not terrible but it is a bit lazy for a start - words like etc and phrases like usual refinements scream trader to me - I know quite a few traders who write them like this, although not all of course.

Also you have the colour repeated - just creates a bad impression. The advert also gives you scope to list all main features yet you have listed very few - why? I know its a pain to list such things but the more you leave out the less appealing the advert is.
How many gears does it have? What is the sound system? What alarm? Has it an immobiliser? Theres so much you could say here and havent.
Why is there no mention of how much road tax is left? Is the car coming up for its first MOT? This may be a consideration for anyone buying it.

The pictures also arent the best - its a high value car to sell privately for sure but its quite possible. The pics are very blurry and why are two of them of half the car?

I dont mean to shoot holes in your efforts, I really feel for you as the car is on the face of it a very nice machine, but the advert needs re-writing to be far more appealing - its needs structure and more content - best to write it out on paper beforehand. Id also retake the pictures on a brighter day and make sure that it has had a good deep polish as it does look a bit dull, but then maybe thats because the light is poor when you took the photos.

The price your asking is a little close to cars with half the mileage nearly and most people would rather the lower mileage and accept the extra year on the age - id try another £250 off to make it look like comparable value to some of the other GTis on Trader.

Hope some of this helps, chin up.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S
Point taken. Its just finding a sunny day at the moment :-)

I'd hope a serious buyer knows what standard equipment a Golf GTI has though......
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - rtj70
I think I'd part-ex it!

I had a car for sale after getting my first company car. I advertised mine at a cheap reasonable price. No offers but plenty of companies ringing to match me with a buyer (about 1997?). No joy so cut the price as it was costing in terms of loan, insurance, tax etc.

Then suddenly got lots more interest (I was selling for a lot less than I paid and it had full MOT, tax, other fixes etc.). Two serious buyers phone up one evening and the first got delayed... second liked it and paid a deposit.... awkward but they were more local.

... second knowing they can no longer have it are aggressive and very threatening. And still want it. I offer to pay for their petrol but they are still threatening. But they came to see it and that was all that was agreed. Did I do wrong??? Oddly the aggressive bunch I met near to home but arranged for the others to see me at home. All on the same night. So maybe I sensed something to avoid them knowing where I lived.

Anyway the buyer got a car at a bargain price with lots sorted and I lost lots of money but was shot of it ;-) I lost more than £1000 excluding welding, MOT, service, tax etc. due to wanting to get rid with a "new" company car.

For £1000 is it not worth part-exing? No come bacl from thugs that way.

Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - oldnotbold
As Stu says - the ad needs to be tightened. Take the car to an empty, neutral background location, and then crop them in tight - we don't need to see the estate in the back ground, or the sky. I don't know how AT charge for pictures, but I'd take one of each side taken from the from the front quarter (turn the wheels out, and put the sidelights on), a good interior shot taken from the back looking into the dash, one showing the rear. If the wheels are perfect, then say so - lots at these miles are a bit tatty.

Look at your pics again - one has rubbish in the background, one has lots of space above the car, one's been taken on a phone and one is just about OK.

I'm no David Bailey, but by contrast look at the pics I shot of the Audi on Ebay (see classifieds) - that's a £700 car tops, but I made an effort.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S
Thanks for all of the advice.

I decided to sell to a relative for the trade price I was being offered - £11k

Bit of a poor price, but the hardest lessons are sometimes the most worthwhile. I paid £14k for the car 5 months ago, but it would seem the market was a different beast then!

My new car arrives tomorrow so at least there is a bright side :)
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Felix
For what it's worth I had a similarly depressing experience a few years ago trying to sell my 5-series privately (which was an absolutely gorgeous car for £10k) and eventually gave up and traded it in. I suspect that very few people will buy a car privately for this amount of money, since they'll want the "extra assurance" of getting it from a main dealer with access to finance and manufacturer's warranty and so on. I don't think I'd ever try it again unless it was a car with zero image and only worth a few grand.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - doctorchris
A good point, Felix. Buying a car privately for many thousands is risky for the buyer as well as the seller. Buying a car privately for a few hundred quid presents far fewer financial risks. I've always been happy to buy privately at the lower end of the market but would be loathe to pay, say, £5-10,000.
Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - nick62

>>I paid £14k for the car 5 months ago...............

Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - drbe
I paid £14k for the car 5 months ago but it would seem the market was
a different beast then!
My new car arrives tomorrow so at least there is a bright side :)

So why are you buying another new car after only 5 months?

Too much money?

Edited by drbe on 07/03/2008 at 14:50

Trying to sell privately - living nightmare! - Keith S
I'm not sure I like the tone of your question drbe.

However, I was driving a little 1.2 car and my new one had a long waiting list. At the time it seemed that I could get myself into a used Golf GTI and only lose about £1000 over say six months, maybe even avoiding tyres and servicing if I found the right one.

In fact the difference in Glasses Guide values bears this out. The book price only dropped a grand over the time and I didnt need to service the car or put tyres on it.

With the benefit of hindsight I obviously paid far too much for the Golf. I assumed that it was fair for a private seller to expect a bit more than a trade price, else why bother selling privately.

The cars mileage means it wouldnt even fetch top glasses book as its not really suitable for a main dealers forecourt - I presume.

Hopefully my expensive and very hard earnt lesson will benefit others on here.

The car has stayed in the family, I thought I might as well let someone I care about have the benefit of a rock bottom price.

Value my car