Author Topic: used car arbitrage: buy a car in the city, sell it in a mtn resort town?  (Read 4169 times)

Fuzz

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Hi - just wanted to see if anyone had tried this.

I live in the a very, very expensive mountain town, with lots of young people in the service industry making good money. Think Aspen, Jackson or Breckenridge. The used car prices here for popular 4wd or AWD vehicles are crazy, or at least they seem crazy to me. A 2002 Toyota Tacoma with 170K miles is priced at $13,500. Four runners, outbacks, RAV 4s, imprezas, and CRVs all seem to consistently price for $1500 to $3000 more than they do in a city on Craigslist. Of course, I don't know if they're selling the vehicles for what they list at.

My thinking is to buy a vehicle in a city 1000 miles away and drive it back to sell. Has anyone on the forum successfully arbitraged the used car market? I don't mean stumble upon a good deal and flip a car; I mean research markets and buy a car as an investment.

If you have, I'd love to hear your story, and any tips. Feel free to PM if you're more comfortable with that.


 



Villanelle

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I had a boyfriend who repeatedly tried to do this.  His is broke, and no longer my boyfriend. ;)

In my experience, used vehicles rarely sell for asking.  Also, there are real costs associated with that 1000mile drive, especially given that the cars you are mentioning are not fuel efficient.  And of course there is your time, and the fact that you'd have to pay to get yourself 1000 miles from home in order to pick up the car and drive it back. 

It seems like a lot of headache, time, and risk to me. 

Fuzz

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Good to know. Thanks for the info.

Jamesqf

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I've never tried the selling, but I did buy my current Insight off eBay, in a city ~500 miles away.  It worked out (been driving it close to 9 years now), but if it hadn't, I would have been out the cost of travel expenses.  I'd say it's only worth it if you are going to be travelling to the purchase place anyway, as for instance you have family there.

nktokyo

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Sell the car then have it delivered to them