Author Topic: Buying a used car via private sale/CL  (Read 879 times)

jeromedawg

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Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« on: July 12, 2019, 01:13:30 AM »
Hey all,

I've been communicating with a guy selling his 2013 Toyota Sienna XLE on Craigslist and have gotten some guidance from a couple buddies who often buy used (and one of whom does his own maintenance/repair work). I've gotten some helpful information in general, but wanted to ask here anyway since I'm sure there a plenty of you who have purchased used vehicles. Some details:

The car has 17,600 miles on it and appears to be in *excellent* mechanical and cosmetic condition from the pics (haven't yet seen it in person). No smoking and not pets. The seller is asking $21,900 for it. I started negotiating with him and his best offer so far is $20k. I offered $20,500 and he said he "really wants over $21k" - I did some additional "research" and found out (90% sure) that he is a guest experience manager at a local Lexus dealership. Anyway, KBB range puts it between $21k-23k so his pricing almost right in the middle.

My questions are:

1) If I can get him to agree on $21k, do you guys think that's still a really good price point for the Sienna this year/trim and with that low of mileage? If he's unwilling to budge on the $21k, what is the most I should concede to?

2) Is it worth paying to do a pre-purchase inspection in this case (particularly considering the # of miles... but the vehicle is also out of warranty I believe simply due to its age)?

3) One of my friends said he has written in as low as $500 on the bill of sale when going through AAA and that he has had no problems doing this on a number of cars he has purchased used before. He also keeps telling me to try to get the seller write in a lower price on the bill of sale (especially if he's not going to budge much on the price). Has anyone else done this and is it generally OK to do this? If so, how much lower can/should I ask him to lower the price on the bill of sale and how much should I report?
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 02:01:46 AM by jeromedawg »

acepedro45

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 07:02:28 AM »
I have bought a few cars successfully from Craigslist (including a Toyota Sienna a few weeks ago) and other private sale environments but generally at a much lower price point. Here are my thoughts.

1. The 20,500 price is ok, not wonderful. I assume this guy is wanting the "Excellent" Kelley Blue Book valuation on account of the van being pretty new, likely detailed etc. But be aware that very few cars qualify for the "Excellent" treatment, around 3% per KBB. Read the KBB fine print on how they define "Excellent." Does the van have 4 new tires? The van might be in great shape, but if it doesn't, it's not in "Excellent" shape.

Remember the opposite side's perspective in a Craigslist sale. YOU are the unicorn, not this van. The number of people out there with 20k in their pocket and the ability to answer emails competently, show up for test drives on time, etc is vanishingly slim. For that reason, you have a lot of negotiating power and you should use it. If you are looking at the van in person and you have an envelope of cash, suddenly that "other offer" might not look so attractive to the seller.

2. You should absolutely do a pre-purchase inspection from a place you trust before dropping 20k.  You should make sure one of you has purchased a CarFax report. I have skipped the inspection before but at a much lower price point and a little more confidence in myself as a judge of automotive horseflesh than you (reading between the lines a little here) seem to have in yourself.

3. The Bill of Sale price: You can write down a much lower price number than you pay if you are using cash and no one will be the wiser.

It varies by state, but many have a schedule of vehicles they follow based on Kelley Blue Book value in addition to the reported price from the Bill of Sale. Whichever number is higher is the basis for your sales tax. So if you write in a number like $500, there is a chance the state will just use the KBB (disclaimer: I have no idea where you live).

With the mechanics of the math explored, you should not do this. You are defrauding your community of tax revenue so I would say it is not generally ok. It probably falls under the same umbrella as not declaring tips as a server at a restaurant.

A few more thoughts:

Cars are really good these days, especially Toyotas! I wouldn't get too worked up about the lack of warranty coverage. There are awesome cars at great prices available everywhere you look in private sales. Buy the right car - usually a Toyota or a Honda that has had decent maintenance - and the lack of warranty is likely irrelevant.

When I buy, I shop the person almost as much as I do the car. I would be extremely wary of anyone associated with a dealership as you are contemplating. My rule is I only deal directly with actual owners - no flippers or resalers - and only for 1-owner cars. This does exclude 95% of car listings, but I think it's worth following because you can trust your own instincts when talking to a real owner. Most people are not sociopaths and have difficulty lying to your face. So you can have an honest conversation about the plusses and minuses of the car, something you can never get at the dealership. Trust your own eyes as much with the owner as with the vehicle. Is this a person who has their act together and will be doing things like changing oil at the recommended intervals? If you can't say you feel sure about this, move along to the next van...the internet has plenty. I'll finish by repeating what I said earlier - you, with your wad of cash and readiness to strike a deal, are the unicorn.

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 09:28:04 AM »
I have bought a few cars successfully from Craigslist (including a Toyota Sienna a few weeks ago) and other private sale environments but generally at a much lower price point. Here are my thoughts.

1. The 20,500 price is ok, not wonderful. I assume this guy is wanting the "Excellent" Kelley Blue Book valuation on account of the van being pretty new, likely detailed etc. But be aware that very few cars qualify for the "Excellent" treatment, around 3% per KBB. Read the KBB fine print on how they define "Excellent." Does the van have 4 new tires? The van might be in great shape, but if it doesn't, it's not in "Excellent" shape.

Remember the opposite side's perspective in a Craigslist sale. YOU are the unicorn, not this van. The number of people out there with 20k in their pocket and the ability to answer emails competently, show up for test drives on time, etc is vanishingly slim. For that reason, you have a lot of negotiating power and you should use it. If you are looking at the van in person and you have an envelope of cash, suddenly that "other offer" might not look so attractive to the seller.

2. You should absolutely do a pre-purchase inspection from a place you trust before dropping 20k.  You should make sure one of you has purchased a CarFax report. I have skipped the inspection before but at a much lower price point and a little more confidence in myself as a judge of automotive horseflesh than you (reading between the lines a little here) seem to have in yourself.

3. The Bill of Sale price: You can write down a much lower price number than you pay if you are using cash and no one will be the wiser.

It varies by state, but many have a schedule of vehicles they follow based on Kelley Blue Book value in addition to the reported price from the Bill of Sale. Whichever number is higher is the basis for your sales tax. So if you write in a number like $500, there is a chance the state will just use the KBB (disclaimer: I have no idea where you live).

With the mechanics of the math explored, you should not do this. You are defrauding your community of tax revenue so I would say it is not generally ok. It probably falls under the same umbrella as not declaring tips as a server at a restaurant.

A few more thoughts:

Cars are really good these days, especially Toyotas! I wouldn't get too worked up about the lack of warranty coverage. There are awesome cars at great prices available everywhere you look in private sales. Buy the right car - usually a Toyota or a Honda that has had decent maintenance - and the lack of warranty is likely irrelevant.

When I buy, I shop the person almost as much as I do the car. I would be extremely wary of anyone associated with a dealership as you are contemplating. My rule is I only deal directly with actual owners - no flippers or resalers - and only for 1-owner cars. This does exclude 95% of car listings, but I think it's worth following because you can trust your own instincts when talking to a real owner. Most people are not sociopaths and have difficulty lying to your face. So you can have an honest conversation about the plusses and minuses of the car, something you can never get at the dealership. Trust your own eyes as much with the owner as with the vehicle. Is this a person who has their act together and will be doing things like changing oil at the recommended intervals? If you can't say you feel sure about this, move along to the next van...the internet has plenty. I'll finish by repeating what I said earlier - you, with your wad of cash and readiness to strike a deal, are the unicorn.


Thanks for the tips and advice!

Here's the listing - https://orangecounty.craigslist.org/cto/6928883673.html

The Carfax report checks out and it looks like at some point the owner may have moved to New York and possibly let the car sit:

09/21/2017
California Motor Vehicle Dept.
New York, NY
Odometer reading reported -  16,589

10/10/2017 California
Motor Vehicle Dept.
New York, NY
Title issued or updated
New owner reported

Up until that point from 2013 is when he put all the miles on it, so it seems like it was sitting for a while. It could be that it was a family member who is trying to get his dad or uncle (car dealership guy) to help sell off the van because they just don't drive it anymore after having moved out of state.

I don't know but I'd tend to think that a lightly used van with such low mileage as this is sort of a 'gem' of sorts too. Most of the vans I've been finding are rarely ever under 80k miles... I would think that the higher # of mileage would have resulted in greater wear and tear on the engine, components and just the car in general overall versus one with only 17k on it.
At that point, where I pass on this and wait for the next deal on a car with as low or close to the mileage on this one, it's a time proposition - how long am I willing to hold out to find a van with 17k miles, in the same condition but for $5000 less, and would that *ever* happen? Sure, a desperate seller perhaps but the likelihood just seems super low. Especially around where I live.  And we are looking for a van sooner than later. There are talks about a third child in the near future and with the way things our in our current car (2009 Rav4), that's just not going to cut it lol.
There was another Sienna XLE with many more miles (over 100k), definitely not in as great condition (and where the owners had a dog they transported in it) and that sold within a week's time likely under their asking price which at the time I think they were asking around $14-15k. So, I sort of feel that the whole "you are the unicorn" thing is diminished because of the higher desirability and condition of this particular van. If in fact the van is in "excellent" condition as thought, then would you think the $20,500 price is better (and if not, what price point would you say this is a "good deal" at?)? The other thing is that the guy seems to be pressing to get $21k. I *almost* responded with an offer based on that but have not yet and just told him I'm interested in looking at the car.
BTW regarding the "envelope of cash" - I'm not sure if you were just speaking figuratively, but I've heard the best and safest way to do these transactions is really to meet the guy at my bank and cut a cashier's check with him there, or withdraw cash, or transfer the funds into his account (if he has an account at that bank). Though, my buddy says just to offer him $20,500 with a cashier's check (or cash) in hand 'today'  - I mean, if you think about it he's pressing for $500 more. That's not a lot in the grand scheme of things.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 10:05:32 AM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2019, 10:14:49 AM »
BTW: KBB states that this car in Very Good Condition is worth:

$19,133 - $21,452

In Excellent condition:
$20,024 - $22,283

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2019, 11:56:31 AM »
My buddy who has bought any used cars and worked at his friend's repair shop, says that in this case the Sienna I'm looking at is in fact a unicorn - it's not often that cars in that shape and with that mileage come on the private market. He thinks this isn't something to waive off so easily but to keep pressing for the $20500 price...

acepedro45

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2019, 01:10:15 PM »
A few thoughts, and really I don't mean to be Mr. Negative.

That CL ad screams copy-paste job from a flipper to me, so I'd probably never pursue that van.

I feel like we are in agreement that the price is decently fair but not Amazingly, Can't Miss Out compelling. In my mind, $20,500 or $21,000 is a decent price. ("ok, not wonderful"). Just be sure you aren't talking yourself into doing this because you think you're getting a screaming deal - you're not. Similar value is available on every nook and cranny of the internet if you are looking hard.

You DO have a rarity in an extremely low mileage specimen, a unicorn even! But super low miles on an older car are - at least in my opinion, others may differ with good reason - not necessarily great. Cars are meant to be driven and sitting around for long stretches is in some respects worse for the car than a normal usage schedule. And honestly, you will have to put a TON of miles annually on your new minivan to "get value" for those extra unused miles you're buying on this car. Even if you drive a terribly unMustachian 14k miles annually, you'll still have only 213k on the clock (just getting warmed up for a 'Yota) in 2033 when the car is 20 years old. You may end up retiring an old car frame with an engine/transmission that could still work for a lot longer and you won't be able to reap the fruits of the low miles. 

But please take my opinion with a grain of salt, Internet Stranger! I bought a 2006 Sienna with 176k miles for $3,900 last month and feel pretty confident I can squeeze out another 10 years of use/ 100k miles with a decent maintenance routine and some money budgeted for repairs, most of which I will try to handle myself. I feel good that the van has airbags, ABS, stability control and every other safety feature from the last 25 years that actually matters (no backup camera though LOL). I realize that's not for everybody. So if that sounds insane to you, maybe I'm not the best person to take advice from.

I have done cash for my Craiglist Deals (see my first post about not doing business with anyone you think might be the slightest bit shady). I agree that for a 20k deal, you could do a cashier's check or something else that protects both of you. I meant it more figuratively though, meaning someone who actually has real money in hand is a rarity and is outnumbered by a slew of others with interest in the van but a story about getting a loan from their sister to cover it or some other BS.

Bottom line: I guess I remain unconvinced that the car is a really compelling value. Your argument seems to hinge on the ultra low mileage...and as I said, I don't think that's super compelling to me. You do pay for those low miles through a higher KBB valuation, but as I mentioned earlier it is unlikely you will be able to get value for them unless you REALLY start racking up the miles.

red_pill

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2019, 01:34:31 PM »

3) One of my friends said he has written in as low as $500 on the bill of sale when going through AAA and that he has had no problems doing this on a number of cars he has purchased used before. He also keeps telling me to try to get the seller write in a lower price on the bill of sale (especially if he's not going to budge much on the price). Has anyone else done this and is it generally OK to do this? If so, how much lower can/should I ask him to lower the price on the bill of sale and how much should I report?

Where I live, this is actually fraud. 

frugaliknowit

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2019, 01:36:49 PM »
I would invest some time in actually seeing the car and it's owner in "real time".

A concern, as someone pointed out, is that based on what we know, and assuming not a lot of negotiating room, for you to win, you will need to "pour on miles"....

However, if you don't meet in person, you will not know for sure what you've got...

YES, have a mechanic look it over, by all means!

acepedro45

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2019, 01:46:51 PM »
Quote
Where I live, this is actually fraud. 

I think no matter where you live, it's fraud. Or income tax evasion, or something else bad that you shouldn't be doing.

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2019, 01:47:15 PM »
I would invest some time in actually seeing the car and it's owner in "real time".

A concern, as someone pointed out, is that based on what we know, and assuming not a lot of negotiating room, for you to win, you will need to "pour on miles"....

However, if you don't meet in person, you will not know for sure what you've got...

YES, have a mechanic look it over, by all means!

I made the guy an offer to 'anchor' the price (under what he's asking) but pending checking the car out in person along with my buddy who has bought many used cars. I may forego the inspection *depending* on the feel we get from the seller and a test drive - I think I know enough to know if something doesn't *sound* right.


jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2019, 02:00:07 PM »
A few thoughts, and really I don't mean to be Mr. Negative.

That CL ad screams copy-paste job from a flipper to me, so I'd probably never pursue that van.

I feel like we are in agreement that the price is decently fair but not Amazingly, Can't Miss Out compelling. In my mind, $20,500 or $21,000 is a decent price. ("ok, not wonderful"). Just be sure you aren't talking yourself into doing this because you think you're getting a screaming deal - you're not. Similar value is available on every nook and cranny of the internet if you are looking hard.

You DO have a rarity in an extremely low mileage specimen, a unicorn even! But super low miles on an older car are - at least in my opinion, others may differ with good reason - not necessarily great. Cars are meant to be driven and sitting around for long stretches is in some respects worse for the car than a normal usage schedule. And honestly, you will have to put a TON of miles annually on your new minivan to "get value" for those extra unused miles you're buying on this car. Even if you drive a terribly unMustachian 14k miles annually, you'll still have only 213k on the clock (just getting warmed up for a 'Yota) in 2033 when the car is 20 years old. You may end up retiring an old car frame with an engine/transmission that could still work for a lot longer and you won't be able to reap the fruits of the low miles. 

But please take my opinion with a grain of salt, Internet Stranger! I bought a 2006 Sienna with 176k miles for $3,900 last month and feel pretty confident I can squeeze out another 10 years of use/ 100k miles with a decent maintenance routine and some money budgeted for repairs, most of which I will try to handle myself. I feel good that the van has airbags, ABS, stability control and every other safety feature from the last 25 years that actually matters (no backup camera though LOL). I realize that's not for everybody. So if that sounds insane to you, maybe I'm not the best person to take advice from.

I have done cash for my Craiglist Deals (see my first post about not doing business with anyone you think might be the slightest bit shady). I agree that for a 20k deal, you could do a cashier's check or something else that protects both of you. I meant it more figuratively though, meaning someone who actually has real money in hand is a rarity and is outnumbered by a slew of others with interest in the van but a story about getting a loan from their sister to cover it or some other BS.

Bottom line: I guess I remain unconvinced that the car is a really compelling value. Your argument seems to hinge on the ultra low mileage...and as I said, I don't think that's super compelling to me. You do pay for those low miles through a higher KBB valuation, but as I mentioned earlier it is unlikely you will be able to get value for them unless you REALLY start racking up the miles.

Just curious but what exactly about the ad "screams copy-paste job from a flipper" ? If it's true this guy is working at a Lexus dealership and received the car as a bonus, etc and wants to "flip" it - what's wrong with that? If it's overpriced, that's one thing but if it's a "fair" value that's totally different. Obviously the guy doesn't want to be low-balled and isn't desperate to get rid of the car. It's a time-cost proposition - if I want better than "fair" I have to spend probably a lot more time waiting and looking for something, right? Sure, there might be thousands of these available right now for slightly better or more, and all over the internet but sure as heck not in my area and from private sellers. What I mostly see are dealerships trying to sell their cars with "much better features, newer models etc" (but often with much more mileage) and trying to leverage the less-important factors to command a much higher price.

If the guy has been bringing the car in for maintenance and driving it around (just not that much - I think i mentioned but it looks like the van was most 'heavily' used within the first 3-4 years of owning it. Then for whatever reason, probably whoever primarily used it moved out of town, it has been sitting and seldom driven for the past couple years - between 2017 and 2019, just over 1000 miles put on it) why is that "worse for the car than a normal usage schedule?" Isn't that better regarding wear and tear? And I thought that was the other point on value - not just how many miles you can rack up ASAP but the durability and overall longevity in relationship to wear and tear and mileage.

Several on the SiennaChat forums have recommended sticking at least with 2011 models or later (GenIII) just as far as staying 'current' is concerned. Apparently they made even more fixes in the 2012 models as well. That said, what would *your* budget and mileage considerations be for the same car (2013 Sienna XLE)? At whatever price point it is, the pricing, mileage and condition are all going to be relative to each other. So what is your value proposition? Just to go with the cheapest and "most reliable" you can get away with? And how do you ensure or quantify this?

Just honestly asking (not trying to be passive aggressive haha): but to you what would compromise a "really compelling value" in your mind? Obviously, we're not going to find many clean title 2015 Sienna XLE Limiteds with 10k miles for only $12,000 sitting around lol.

BTW: the guy got back to me again and is very insistent on the $21k price. I have yet to call and talk to him because he gave the wrong phone number so all the communication has been over email. Not sure if talking on the phone would change or sway the guy. From what it sounds like though, this may end up being a pass - I'm not sure I want to deal with someone who isn't flexible enough to reduce his CL price more than $888 when he states "OBO" and tells me his best offer so far has been $20k.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 02:13:28 PM by jeromedawg »

acepedro45

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2019, 03:00:55 PM »
Quote
Just honestly asking (not trying to be passive aggressive haha)

No, no, I get it and I appreciate the respectful dialogue. I hope I'm conveying the same respect to you. I flipped out recently on another thread where I felt the dialogue was more "No you're wrong and stupid" instead of "I think your money-saving logic is mistaken and I want to explain my perspective."

Quote
Just curious but what exactly about the ad "screams copy-paste job from a flipper" ?

So the flipper point. I'm saying the text of the ad has the characteristics of somebody who sells a lot of cars on the internet and is moving merchandise in volumes large enough not to bother to rewrite a custom ad. See how it looks quite similar to 95% of all the other ads on CL? No moral judgment of the seller's character is intended. You will have a greater likelihood of having a discussion with an actual owner if you stick to ads that have reasonably customized content that sound like they were written by a smart person with something good to sell.

MMM had similar advice in a post about buying/selling on CL ages ago.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/11/get-rich-with-craigslist/

Quote
At whatever price point it is, the pricing, mileage and condition are all going to be relative to each other. So what is your value proposition? Just to go with the cheapest and "most reliable" you can get away with? And how do you ensure or quantify this?

I think you're dead on in the point you made above. We set car prices on age, miles and condition. The minivan you're eying is priced more or less appropriately for those three factors. You'll be done using your car when it gets so old the frame starts to come apart or so many miles the engine/transmission fails catastrophically. If you manage everything perfectly you will reach that point on both fronts simultaneously with a lovely 25 year old van with 325k on the odometer. It's given all it can give you and you've extracted every ounce of value.

In a roundabout way, I am just saying going ultra low on miles may end with you having extra "unexpended" miles that you spent extra money on for no benefit if you select that configuration of age, miles and condition.

Quote
...it has been sitting and seldom driven for the past couple years - between 2017 and 2019, just over 1000 miles put on it) why is that "worse for the car than a normal usage schedule?" Isn't that better regarding wear and tear?

Yeah, I am arguing in some respects a sitting car is worse off than a car being driven regularly. The battery is an easy example for this - the more it sits around doing nothing, never starting the car and never getting recharged, the faster it will fail. The same goes for a variety of rubber parts in the engine. If they aren't getting a periodic bath in oil/gas/whatever, they tend to rot a little more readily. These are some a couple examples...I am just trying to establish that less miles doesn't AUTOMATICALLY equal less prone to future failure.

There are many counterexamples where less use really does save wear and tear - I agree with you!

Quote
That said, what would *your* budget and mileage considerations be for the same car (2013 Sienna XLE)? At whatever price point it is, the pricing, mileage and condition are all going to be relative to each other. So what is your value proposition? Just to go with the cheapest and "most reliable" you can get away with? And how do you ensure or quantify this?

Yeah, basically, I am looking for a safe and reliable car that will last a good ten years. Once those conditions are met, I want that for the cheapest reasonable price I can manage. For you, I would look at a 2013 Sienna or Odyssey with a good solid 100k on it (like @caracarn has for example). Just like the Sienna you are contemplating, that's a van that you can drive until the upper 2030s until it's worthless but at a much cheaper price point that you're looking at today.

I can't ensure you won't get stuck with a lame car...but by doing your research on make and model, you can stack the odds in your favor, and by picking a reliable Toyota I am assuming you already know this.

I hope you will take this all in the spirit of free inquiry on the internet and not that either one of us needs to one-up the other or have the last word. I've enjoyed the discussion and I am glad the message boards allow the free exchange of good information. I wish you good luck and hope you will get a good outcome from your CL trolling. Private sales are a million times better than the stealership.

Tangent: I brought my new Sienna into the dealership just this morning to do an open recall. I was offered windshield wiper replacement at $75 (funny they worked just fine in the rain on the drive over), cabin air filter at $65 and that they would clean my throttle body for $299. The tech REALLY recommended that last item since it looked pretty dirty. Good thing I've got those professionals looking out for me after I bought my CL lemon. For those that don't get the joke, new wipers and a cabin air filter would set me back maybe $35 and be installed in under 20 minutes even including looking on YouTube for how to complete the swap.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 03:16:24 PM by acepedro45 »

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2019, 04:00:59 PM »
Quote
Just honestly asking (not trying to be passive aggressive haha)

No, no, I get it and I appreciate the respectful dialogue. I hope I'm conveying the same respect to you. I flipped out recently on another thread where I felt the dialogue was more "No you're wrong and stupid" instead of "I think your money-saving logic is mistaken and I want to explain my perspective."

Quote
Just curious but what exactly about the ad "screams copy-paste job from a flipper" ?

So the flipper point. I'm saying the text of the ad has the characteristics of somebody who sells a lot of cars on the internet and is moving merchandise in volumes large enough not to bother to rewrite a custom ad. See how it looks quite similar to 95% of all the other ads on CL? No moral judgment of the seller's character is intended. You will have a greater likelihood of having a discussion with an actual owner if you stick to ads that have reasonably customized content that sound like they were written by a smart person with something good to sell.

MMM had similar advice in a post about buying/selling on CL ages ago.

https://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/08/11/get-rich-with-craigslist/

Quote
At whatever price point it is, the pricing, mileage and condition are all going to be relative to each other. So what is your value proposition? Just to go with the cheapest and "most reliable" you can get away with? And how do you ensure or quantify this?

I think you're dead on in the point you made above. We set car prices on age, miles and condition. The minivan you're eying is priced more or less appropriately for those three factors. You'll be done using your car when it gets so old the frame starts to come apart or so many miles the engine/transmission fails catastrophically. If you manage everything perfectly you will reach that point on both fronts simultaneously with a lovely 25 year old van with 325k on the odometer. It's given all it can give you and you've extracted every ounce of value.

In a roundabout way, I am just saying going ultra low on miles may end with you having extra "unexpended" miles that you spent extra money on for no benefit if you select that configuration of age, miles and condition.

Quote
...it has been sitting and seldom driven for the past couple years - between 2017 and 2019, just over 1000 miles put on it) why is that "worse for the car than a normal usage schedule?" Isn't that better regarding wear and tear?

Yeah, I am arguing in some respects a sitting car is worse off than a car being driven regularly. The battery is an easy example for this - the more it sits around doing nothing, never starting the car and never getting recharged, the faster it will fail. The same goes for a variety of rubber parts in the engine. If they aren't getting a periodic bath in oil/gas/whatever, they tend to rot a little more readily. These are some a couple examples...I am just trying to establish that less miles doesn't AUTOMATICALLY equal less prone to future failure.

There are many counterexamples where less use really does save wear and tear - I agree with you!

Quote
That said, what would *your* budget and mileage considerations be for the same car (2013 Sienna XLE)? At whatever price point it is, the pricing, mileage and condition are all going to be relative to each other. So what is your value proposition? Just to go with the cheapest and "most reliable" you can get away with? And how do you ensure or quantify this?

Yeah, basically, I am looking for a safe and reliable car that will last a good ten years. Once those conditions are met, I want that for the cheapest reasonable price I can manage. For you, I would look at a 2013 Sienna or Odyssey with a good solid 100k on it (like @caracarn has for example). Just like the Sienna you are contemplating, that's a van that you can drive until the upper 2030s until it's worthless but at a much cheaper price point that you're looking at today.

I can't ensure you won't get stuck with a lame car...but by doing your research on make and model, you can stack the odds in your favor, and by picking a reliable Toyota I am assuming you already know this.

I hope you will take this all in the spirit of free inquiry on the internet and not that either one of us needs to one-up the other or have the last word. I've enjoyed the discussion and I am glad the message boards allow the free exchange of good information. I wish you good luck and hope you will get a good outcome from your CL trolling. Private sales are a million times better than the stealership.

Tangent: I brought my new Sienna into the dealership just this morning to do an open recall. I was offered windshield wiper replacement at $75 (funny they worked just fine in the rain on the drive over), cabin air filter at $65 and that they would clean my throttle body for $299. The tech REALLY recommended that last item since it looked pretty dirty. Good thing I've got those professionals looking out for me after I bought my CL lemon. For those that don't get the joke, new wipers and a cabin air filter would set me back maybe $35 and be installed in under 20 minutes even including looking on YouTube for how to complete the swap.

Great info, thanks! I'll have to sticky all that since it's super useful info. That said, I think I'm gonna pass on this one... I think I already blew it by cementing the $20,500 price in. My buddy was saying he *always* negotiates pricing in person and never over email or phone -this is because the seller has less room (and time) in person to think about it and counter-offer. Then again, the guy we're dealing with works at a dealership and has probably seen it all, so he probably has tricks up his sleeve and knows how to play hardball and the "art of the deal" when it comes to people trying to wheel and deal in person.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 04:08:05 PM by jeromedawg »

Duke03

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2019, 05:28:46 PM »
Those are good vans and I've seen a bunch of them last over 300k miles.  Cars are made to be driven.  I'd rather have a 6yr old van that has 50k miles on it vs one that has under 20k because that means it sat a bunch or just went on very short trips which isn't good on any mechanical parts.  Also I'd bet money those are the original tires and I wouldn't want my wife and kids ridding around on 6 yr old tires that are most likely flat spotted or dry rotted from sitting.  So count on spending $800 for tires.  Also the battery is probably a ticking time bomb so that is something to consider also.  I think for 20k you can find a lot newer van than that one when it comes to year model and that is more important than mileage. 

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2019, 06:32:28 PM »
Those are good vans and I've seen a bunch of them last over 300k miles.  Cars are made to be driven.  I'd rather have a 6yr old van that has 50k miles on it vs one that has under 20k because that means it sat a bunch or just went on very short trips which isn't good on any mechanical parts.  Also I'd bet money those are the original tires and I wouldn't want my wife and kids ridding around on 6 yr old tires that are most likely flat spotted or dry rotted from sitting.  So count on spending $800 for tires.  Also the battery is probably a ticking time bomb so that is something to consider also.  I think for 20k you can find a lot newer van than that one when it comes to year model and that is more important than mileage.

Good points. I'll ask about the tires and battery - if they are the originals that would provide more room to negotiate. Would you stick with nothing earlier than a 2015 model ideally with under 75k on it then if considering spending 20k?

BTW: just heard back from the guy - no record of new tires or new battery, so already that's like $900 to factor I think

Thinking about it more, since the title change in 2017 it has been just over about 1000 miles put on it. That averages out to roughly 500 miles a year. 41 miles a month. Less than a mile and a half a day. I'm guessing this guy basically just used the van as a commuter to and from his work once or twice a week. Would that be *enough* to sustain the condition of all parts, tires, battery over the course of two years? If so, then I don't think those things would be as big of a concern. Now, if he put like 10 miles on it over the course of two years, there would probably be a lot more to be concerned about since at that point you'd know the van was sitting around for weeks to months at a time. Doesn't sound like this is the case though. Either way, it sounds like changing those things out wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, as well as having a thorough inspection done to make sure there are no gaskets, seals, etc leaking or degrading.  All this I would think should be brought up as part of the negotiation. At this point, it feels a bit late in the game. I have a feeling someone else may scoop it up which is fine. But if they don't, these things will likely be talking points to consider if I'm still interested and if he gets more desperate.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 07:11:03 PM by jeromedawg »

Duke03

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2019, 11:30:03 PM »
Those are good vans and I've seen a bunch of them last over 300k miles.  Cars are made to be driven.  I'd rather have a 6yr old van that has 50k miles on it vs one that has under 20k because that means it sat a bunch or just went on very short trips which isn't good on any mechanical parts.  Also I'd bet money those are the original tires and I wouldn't want my wife and kids ridding around on 6 yr old tires that are most likely flat spotted or dry rotted from sitting.  So count on spending $800 for tires.  Also the battery is probably a ticking time bomb so that is something to consider also.  I think for 20k you can find a lot newer van than that one when it comes to year model and that is more important than mileage.

Good points. I'll ask about the tires and battery - if they are the originals that would provide more room to negotiate. Would you stick with nothing earlier than a 2015 model ideally with under 75k on it then if considering spending 20k?

BTW: just heard back from the guy - no record of new tires or new battery, so already that's like $900 to factor I think

Thinking about it more, since the title change in 2017 it has been just over about 1000 miles put on it. That averages out to roughly 500 miles a year. 41 miles a month. Less than a mile and a half a day. I'm guessing this guy basically just used the van as a commuter to and from his work once or twice a week. Would that be *enough* to sustain the condition of all parts, tires, battery over the course of two years? If so, then I don't think those things would be as big of a concern. Now, if he put like 10 miles on it over the course of two years, there would probably be a lot more to be concerned about since at that point you'd know the van was sitting around for weeks to months at a time. Doesn't sound like this is the case though. Either way, it sounds like changing those things out wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, as well as having a thorough inspection done to make sure there are no gaskets, seals, etc leaking or degrading.  All this I would think should be brought up as part of the negotiation. At this point, it feels a bit late in the game. I have a feeling someone else may scoop it up which is fine. But if they don't, these things will likely be talking points to consider if I'm still interested and if he gets more desperate.

I've flipped a lot of vehicles in my time and that Van screams of some grandma ran out to buy it the second she found out she was going to be a grandma with big plans of taking the grand kids all over in this van.  Truth is it just sat and sat.  It looks nice so it probably sat in a garage out of the elements.  With that said just low ball the dude.  Anytime I want to buy something I decide what that object is worth to ME!!! and that is what I offer.  I don't care what it's worth or what someone else is willing to pay I only offer what it's worth to me.  If someone else buys it then it just wasn't meant to be.  I personally think the guy selling it was an idiot not to jump at the 20,500 you offered.  The market for 6 year old mini vans doesn't even register as luke warm lol.  Like already said earlier in the thread.  You are the unicorn not this van.  Don't be afraid to lower your offer. 

Those Toyotas are really comfy to ride around in.  My work has bunch that people can car pool in and like I said they keep them up till 300k miles.  I prefer the Toyotas over a dang Dodge Caravan any day.  The dodge seats are like sitting on a lawn chair.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2019, 11:34:05 PM by Duke03 »

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2019, 01:58:50 AM »
Those are good vans and I've seen a bunch of them last over 300k miles.  Cars are made to be driven.  I'd rather have a 6yr old van that has 50k miles on it vs one that has under 20k because that means it sat a bunch or just went on very short trips which isn't good on any mechanical parts.  Also I'd bet money those are the original tires and I wouldn't want my wife and kids ridding around on 6 yr old tires that are most likely flat spotted or dry rotted from sitting.  So count on spending $800 for tires.  Also the battery is probably a ticking time bomb so that is something to consider also.  I think for 20k you can find a lot newer van than that one when it comes to year model and that is more important than mileage.

Good points. I'll ask about the tires and battery - if they are the originals that would provide more room to negotiate. Would you stick with nothing earlier than a 2015 model ideally with under 75k on it then if considering spending 20k?

BTW: just heard back from the guy - no record of new tires or new battery, so already that's like $900 to factor I think

Thinking about it more, since the title change in 2017 it has been just over about 1000 miles put on it. That averages out to roughly 500 miles a year. 41 miles a month. Less than a mile and a half a day. I'm guessing this guy basically just used the van as a commuter to and from his work once or twice a week. Would that be *enough* to sustain the condition of all parts, tires, battery over the course of two years? If so, then I don't think those things would be as big of a concern. Now, if he put like 10 miles on it over the course of two years, there would probably be a lot more to be concerned about since at that point you'd know the van was sitting around for weeks to months at a time. Doesn't sound like this is the case though. Either way, it sounds like changing those things out wouldn't be a bad idea anyway, as well as having a thorough inspection done to make sure there are no gaskets, seals, etc leaking or degrading.  All this I would think should be brought up as part of the negotiation. At this point, it feels a bit late in the game. I have a feeling someone else may scoop it up which is fine. But if they don't, these things will likely be talking points to consider if I'm still interested and if he gets more desperate.

I've flipped a lot of vehicles in my time and that Van screams of some grandma ran out to buy it the second she found out she was going to be a grandma with big plans of taking the grand kids all over in this van.  Truth is it just sat and sat.  It looks nice so it probably sat in a garage out of the elements.  With that said just low ball the dude.  Anytime I want to buy something I decide what that object is worth to ME!!! and that is what I offer.  I don't care what it's worth or what someone else is willing to pay I only offer what it's worth to me.  If someone else buys it then it just wasn't meant to be.  I personally think the guy selling it was an idiot not to jump at the 20,500 you offered.  The market for 6 year old mini vans doesn't even register as luke warm lol.  Like already said earlier in the thread.  You are the unicorn not this van.  Don't be afraid to lower your offer. 

Those Toyotas are really comfy to ride around in.  My work has bunch that people can car pool in and like I said they keep them up till 300k miles.  I prefer the Toyotas over a dang Dodge Caravan any day.  The dodge seats are like sitting on a lawn chair.

Thanks! Haha, I was wondering if I should lower my offer. Supposedly his best offer is $20k so far. But if the other people he claims are interested actually had any substantial offers and also with cash in hand, I would think the car would be sold by now. He's being pretty stingy about his asking price and appears to be playing hardball about it. My friend says I should stroke his ego - I'm wondering if I can do that (e.g. "wow this is a really great van and looks to be well cared for and maintained and I really would like it") but then throw in a curveball excuse like "my wife actually won't allow me to go over $20k so I'm going to have to lower my offer to $20k. Cashier's check in hand or we can meet at a local branch and transfer the money directly"
My other buddy says "your solution is to take his offer of $21k with the contingency that he writes $500 in the bill of sale. Hahaha, that just seems shady. But I've been reading around (esp on reddit) that nearly everyone does this especially in CA, not that I'm endorsing it but I think some buyers don't realize the impact in the case that the seller is just trying to "help" them and in other cases bueyrs and sellers just agree to reduce the price by whatever % (probably not 98% though, which my friend is advocating...!!!) on the bill of sale

Duke03

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2019, 02:37:10 PM »
I'd hit him so low it hurts.  Just tell him look it needs tires it's going to need a belt service, battery, coolant flush, and tranny flush.  Doesn't matter that it only hast 18k miles all the fluids are over 6 years old and have broken down due to age and moisture.  Just tell him you're interested in a quick easy car deal.  You're not going to waste his time or kick him after a test drive.  Because of all this you'll offer him $17,500 cash or check which ever he prefers.


A quick story.  I bought a car last year.  At first I offered the guy 18k and he balked and said no way.  I shrugged my shoulders and said well you got my number.  Two weeks go by and he calls me back and asked if I was still interested in buying his car.  I said sure for $16,500.  He goes off the deep end calling me every name in the book.  I just laughed and said look you could have had 18k two weeks ago that is on you not me.  If you want to sell the car today you'll get $16,500, but when you call me back next week I'm only going to offer you $15,500 if I even answer the phone because you are wasting my time....  After hanging up the phone 10 minutes later I got a text telling me I could have the car for $16,500 and not a penny less.  Obviously he was a shrewd negotiator lol.

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2019, 04:06:43 PM »
I'd hit him so low it hurts.  Just tell him look it needs tires it's going to need a belt service, battery, coolant flush, and tranny flush.  Doesn't matter that it only hast 18k miles all the fluids are over 6 years old and have broken down due to age and moisture.  Just tell him you're interested in a quick easy car deal.  You're not going to waste his time or kick him after a test drive.  Because of all this you'll offer him $17,500 cash or check which ever he prefers.


A quick story.  I bought a car last year.  At first I offered the guy 18k and he balked and said no way.  I shrugged my shoulders and said well you got my number.  Two weeks go by and he calls me back and asked if I was still interested in buying his car.  I said sure for $16,500.  He goes off the deep end calling me every name in the book.  I just laughed and said look you could have had 18k two weeks ago that is on you not me.  If you want to sell the car today you'll get $16,500, but when you call me back next week I'm only going to offer you $15,500 if I even answer the phone because you are wasting my time....  After hanging up the phone 10 minutes later I got a text telling me I could have the car for $16,500 and not a penny less.  Obviously he was a shrewd negotiator lol.

Haha nice... maybe I'll do that. Carfax shows "vehicle serviced" back in 2017. Not sure what that entails and if it includes any fluid flushes. Last known activity was a tire condition/pressure check. I should call a dealership to have them pull the record for me to see when any of those things were last done if at all. If not, that would surely justify an even lower asking price such as the $17,500 you're suggesting.

He may 'call the bluff' though and tell me that I'm free to have an inspection done on the vehicle to confirm all of those things. I'm wondering if I should just let it sit and see if he still has it sometime next week. If so, then I can start pulling these tactics out of the hat. I feel like firing all this off right now is a bit premature. Time will tell - if nobody buys it within the next several days that means something is off for sure...
« Last Edit: July 13, 2019, 04:49:05 PM by jeromedawg »

lhamo

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2019, 08:21:09 PM »
Something here doesn't sit right with me.  How did the car get BACK from NY without having 3000+ more miles on the odometer?  I mean, maybe if a corporate relocation paid for it to be transported that would make sense.  But seems highly unlikely.  Much more likely to me that the odometer may have been tampered with....

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2019, 11:21:49 PM »
Something here doesn't sit right with me.  How did the car get BACK from NY without having 3000+ more miles on the odometer?  I mean, maybe if a corporate relocation paid for it to be transported that would make sense.  But seems highly unlikely.  Much more likely to me that the odometer may have been tampered with....

I'm not sure if that means that they were reporting that they were moving out of state or that they were reporting from out of state or something else but the next odometer reading shows up as such. I don't think the vehicle was actually transported or driven to NY and back but I also am not 100% sure how to interpret that part of the Carfax report:

07/09/2019
17,604 Capistrano Toyota Scion
San Juan Capistrano, CA
949-493-4100 capistranotoyotascio n.com
4.6
86 Verified Reviews
Tire condition and pressure checked Floor mat(s) checked
Airbag system checked


BTW: the guy got back to me and said he's OK with the $20.5k offer. So now I'm on the fence with just moving forward with it or trying to negotiate and lowball him further lol. Last thing I asked though is if he's willing to meet at my mechanic's shop 20mi away from him for the inspection and we can complete the transaction if everything checks out.  Obviously if my mechanic finds more issues, the intention is that *should* translate to negotiating the price down even more.

My friend who ran the Carfax for me has the following thought:
Quote
Looks like in 2 years since he owned it, he barely drove it. It may be that he lived in NY and traveled...
from what I gather, he relocated to NY and let the car sit for 2 years...He prob renewed a registration with an out of state address.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 12:09:33 AM by jeromedawg »

jeromedawg

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Re: Buying a used car via private sale/CL
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2019, 12:11:04 AM »
The seller just got back explaining the discrepency:
Quote
"Car was always in California , owner lived in New York . Never came or moved to California, that’s why car did not get driven . Oil was changed only few months ago."

BTW: 'dumb question' but are PPIs generally best done in a shop or can a mechanic come out and still do a pretty thorough inspection without the need for the car to be on-site at the shop? I'm going to try to convince my mechanic to help me out with this, as he initially said he could do it as a courtesy for me but said I'd have to bring it in. If not, I'll probably just look for a local mechanic in the area and pay for it - I think it's under $100 at several places though I'm not sure how "thorough" they are.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2019, 12:14:47 AM by jeromedawg »