I did it. Even after moaning and griping, and saying it would be too much hassle.
It’s amazing the eminently practical decisions it takes a conversation with your mother to push you into.
So, on Saturday, I bit the bullet. I placed an ad for this weekend’s paper to sell my car.
I finally woke up to the fact that:
(a) driving it round to two or three second-hand dealers was going to take as long as spending a day at home waiting for people to come look at it; and
(b) selling it to a dealer would lose me at least $1,000 – not just a few hundred.
However, as a salesman, I am a born failure. I hate selling things. It embarrasses me. I’m not even a very good Red Cross doorknocker. Sell an idea? Certainly. Speak in public? Not a problem. Push myself as the successor to sliced bread in an interview? Nothing easier.
Sell chocolate door to door? Not in a million years.
I have a pathological dislike of situations that involve any kind of hard-nosed bargaining over money. So I find the idea of a private sale pretty stressful. I’m really an incredibly uncommercial person, which probably explains my aversion to resuming the practice of corporate law.
Anyway, if you’re contemplating this horror yourself, I recommend the red book and drive to help you work out what a fair market price for your car is. (Red book for a small fee will give a very specific estimate and is meant to be the industry price guide.)
Calling a few used-car dealerships is probably still not a bad idea – it will take some of the pressure off the sale if I know I have a viable plan B for selling it. (The “what is your best independent alternative outside this deal?” question in negotiation theory.)
(1) managing to get it cleaned and detailed in the little slice of time between returning to town Friday (I’m in Sydney this week) and commencing inspections on Saturday;
(2) if you let people take it for a test drive, what security do you ask for – their car keys? How do you know they have a car? Get them to park it out front first?;
(3) if I get a decent offer – clearly I’ll want a bank cheque, but what’s a reasonable cash deposit? Is $500 on a car for which I’m asking $9,900 reasonable?
Meantime, if you want to look at a good-condition late ‘99 Toyota Echo sedan with 110,000 kms on the clock (that’s why I’m only asking $9,900), e-mail me.