Just follow these easy steps:
- Buy a car that is easy to sell, bargain down to 1400 NZD
- Enjoy car for 6 weeks
- Place car on trademe
- Receive enthousiastic response from a Kiwi who has been looking for exactly this kind of car
- Go off on a tangent to make it interesting
- Sell car for 1450 NZD to said Kiwi
Just a I was leaving Rotorua to head for Auckland, I received a text from a Kiwi indicating that he was very interested in my car. I called him, and he lives in Wellington. He was willing to take the plane from Wellington to Auckland to buy the car if he liked it. We talked about the car, and I took extra pictures and emailed them. I heard nothing after that.
So I drove to Auckland to sell the car there. And as luck would have it: the biggest car market in town was the next morning from 9-12. But as I was looking for a car wash with a vacuum cleaner to tidy it up for the sale, I received a text message from the Kiwi guy. He liked the pictures I mailed him, and now suggested driving all through the night to buy the car the next morning. He suggested a price 200 below my asking price, but still giving me a bit of profit. And that was exactly my goal: to have the satisfaction of buying and selling at a profit. I suspect that I would get more (closer to 1650 NZD) if I sold at the car market, but then this guy would really make an effort. I texted that we had a deal, and asked him if he was willing to do the trade early in the morning -so as to allow me time to go to the car market if it would not work out.
I went back to the backpackers and there I received a text saying that he would rather pick it up next week, as he had classes on monday. We spoke on the phone and I explained that I would be gone by then, so he committed to driving to Auckland that night, and we’d meet at 8:00 am. He’d give me a call around 7:00 am. That night at 00:30 am I remembered that I really had to recharge my phone.
The next morning came, and around 8:00 I had not heard from him. Some texting back and forth, he was about 45 minutes away.
- At 9:00 more texting: now he was 15 minutes away, oh and he has “a slight money problem”. It was getting interesting…
- At 9:20 we spoke on the phone, he was only 5 minutes away. But strangely enough, it did not sound like he was in a moving car.
- At 9:30 I had enough. I texted him that he would have to come to the car market and we could meet there. I set off for the market.
Barely out of the street, a car honked at me. And it was indeed, the guy. Friendly, but very weary he had indeed driven all through the night (640 km, 10+ hours). His girl friend and another girl were with him as well.
He inspected the car, had a test drive and was very impressed by it. It turned out his girl friend had a car like that in the past, and he was buying it partly for her enjoyment. And it was the low kilometers on the clock that had attracted him, just as it had attracted me.
Now for the slight money problem: would I take 1200 NZD in cash? He had no more on him, and it would take him a day or two to get more. I refused and he suggested several ways to transfer the money to me the next day. After some deliberation I decided not to do such things. This made him anxious (asking again and again if I did not just want to accept the 1200 NZD). And he started calling around frantically to his family in Auckland.
I felt sorry for him, but decided that it really was his problem. I offered to sell him the car for 1200 NZD if it did not sell at the car market, and started heading for the market. Again. But this time before I had even reached my car, he had spoken to an aunt that was willing to loan him the missing 250 NZD.
Long story short (way too late), at 12:00 we sealed the deal. Since the post offices -where you perform the legal transfer of ownership- are closed on Sunday, and he was short on time, we setteled for a nice hand-written contract.
All in all an interesting way to sell a car. And I’m happy for the end result. Happy for the guy that really wanted this car, and made serious effort to get it. And happy that I kept to our deal and traded at a slight profit. Overall the car still cost me money (spent on checks, insurance, AA, service, new tire, etc.) but way way less than a rental car. And it was a cool experience to boot.