Author Topic: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time  (Read 14281 times)

Mactrader

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Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« on: March 21, 2012, 01:08:11 PM »
Greetings all! I've been lurking for quite some time, and almost done reading through all of the blog articles from the beginning. I've been inspired (by many sources, with huge amounts coming from MMM) to completely eliminate all of my debt and bring my running costs to mustachian levels. I have a 2006 Mazdaspeed6 that is a great car, but I really feel as if I am not enjoying it's relatively high value for shuffling the 15 miles back and forth to work. I believe I can get around $13.5k for it, and I want to get a decent Econobox for $4-6k. The recent article MMM posted was a huge help, and I've started my search (Detroit/Ann Arbor area) for a few of those models (Vibe, Focus) and am having a difficult time finding a decent price under 125k miles. As someone who has minimal mechanical know-how (but am willing to learn, absent of tools needed) I want a ride that will last me 20-30k miles at which point I'll likely get another econobox.

I have a fair amount of uncertainty about what to choose, and will definitely have it inspected by my local mechanic prior to purchasing. My largest question would be what is the upper limit that you all think I should stick to in terms of mileage? A 2004 Vibe recently popped up on Autotrader with 140k (Link) with a manual. Can this sucker likely get me to 160-170k without a huge blowout?

Just looking to get some guidance, or HOW to get guidance on this! Looking forward to some discussion on this for someone new to the above>100k club.

onehappypanda

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2012, 04:22:21 PM »
I'm not a mechanic but I've driven a fair share of old econoboxes so here are my two cents, take 'em for what they're worth.

To me, mileage pales in comparison to A) the quality of vehicle you're looking at and B) how well it's been taken care of. I bought my 2000 Civic at 112K miles and I trust it to last me to 200K if I end up keeping it that long, Civics are reliable AND its previous owner kept up with it very well.  I previously almost bought a Civic at 140K miles and I'd totally trust it to last me 20-30K miles if I knew that it had been taken care of. If a car has been kept in a garage and had regular maintenance, then it's going to last longer than a car that's been outside all the time and not maintained regularly, even if they're the same make/model/year/mileage. I'd take an older car that's been cared for over a newer one that's been run into the ground any day.

The quality of given models can vary by year. I'd be more cautious about the Focus and the Vibe if they're older. Earlier models of the Focus were pretty craptastic and prone to mechanical breakdown, the recent models have improved greatly but I doubt you'll find one in your price range. The Vibe is a Pontiac, and in my experience Pontiacs are hit and miss. I've seen them crap out at 90K miles, and I've seen them last to 220K miles. I've heard good things about the Vibe, it's probably one of the better models they've made. I wouldn't be too worried about the Vibe at 140K if all you want to get out of it is 20-30K miles, I'd just make sure it's in good condition and well cared for.

Other general guidance:
You can get info about the changes made for each year of a given model on Edmunds, or just by googling it. A quick Google search will also tell you what the common pitfalls of a given model is, and how expensive they are to fix.

Don't be afraid to get the vehicle history report on a car AND have a trusted mechanic take a look at it before committing. Lots of cars will look like good deals (nice models, low miles, low price) and turn out to be former wrecks that were shoddily patched up, and those could cost you a lot of money down the road or even be unsafe. Just don't take a sellers word for it, they lie about condition and history all the time. Have your own mechanic look it over.

Salvage/rebuild cars are an option if you want low miles at a low price. But how long they last highly depends on how well the mechanical repairs were done, and lots of them are done shoddily. Still, not a complete rule-out if you can get a mechanic to look it over and verify that all the repairs were done right. A rebuild won't ever have a lot of resell value, but generally you can buy them cheap enough that the depreciation is minimal.

Be flexible with your makes/models if you looking older and cheaper. Really, you just need something safe and reliable that meets your basic needs while fitting in a decent price range. That might be a Vibe or a Focus, or it might be a Subaru or a Hyundai. Remember, how well it was cared for often matters more than the model itself. If you're flexible, you may find something that wasn't on your radar but turns out to be exactly what you need. Really, if all you want is 20-30K miles that's nothing, and you could baby almost any car along for that many miles.

Consider listing your current car now, if you can. $13.5K sounds steep for me assuming average miles and options, I would've guessed a 7-year-old Mazda6 to go for $10-12K depending on whether you do trade in or private party. Not that you can't get more for it, but you might be in for a longer wait. And if you're in a booming market, it might be different. Either way, you might want to consider listing it now to see if there are any takers or if you'll have to readjust the price.

Usual disclaimer: This is all based on my experience and my priorities. Someone else's might differ, I tend to think that car buying is part personal preference and part luck much of the time ;) But good luck with the search!
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 04:28:12 PM by onehappypanda »

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 05:18:39 PM »
I'll agree with panda, you'll have to revise your asking price a good $3k lower if you ever plan to sell the car in a timely fashion. I saw similar models on your local craigslist going for $10k, although they were just Mazda6s, not a speed edition. Still, unless you have an exceptional specimen, $13.5k will probably leave you many tire kickers but few real interests. At the same time, $13.5k asking price does leave you room to negotiate closer to the price you actually plan to get for it, especially if you do plan to sell privately.

As for your replacement, I again turned to craigslist to get a sense of the market for the price range you listed. I found a decent amount of trucks and minivans, but a comparatively low number of cars.  Getting a carfax (despite the fact that they're now hideously overpriced--get free from dealer if possible) and taking it by the mechanic should get you something that will last the 2-5 years you apparently plan to own it. Of course, every make and model has quirks and known weaknesses. Sending the car back to the mechanic after a successful purchase to get stuff like oil changed (and ask to get an oil analysis done too!), radiator flushed, possibly transmission fluid changed, and just generally to replace any rubber parts that might be nearing vulcanization. If you're willing to go a little lower in price, you will have more options and almost don't have to get it checked out. Cars in the sub $2500 market can usually be offloaded easier, even if they aren't running all that well or at all. It isn't impossible to get back what you originally paid for the car. With that being said, here's what I was able to find that fit your price range and should still last the specified mileage easily:
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/cto/2910189386.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/cto/2860120818.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/cto/2911836213.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/ctd/2873808577.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/cto/2906116412.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/ctd/2914255188.html
http://annarbor.craigslist.org/ctd/2911349989.html
http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/cto/2908995054.html
http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/ctd/2874417102.html
http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/cto/2914917998.html
http://detroit.craigslist.org/wyn/cto/2904323452.html
http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/cto/2914874334.html
http://detroit.craigslist.org/mcb/ctd/2914859605.html

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 07:23:15 PM »
Stavros, I started off with just the "willing to learn" mentality to doing car repairs. I went from doing simple repairs to more involved things like complete brake jobs, alternators in hard to reach places, and cooling system replacements. In the end, things like Haynes manuals and the like, walk you through the steps, and what they may gloss over, you shouldn't have a problem figuring it out. 

Like menorman mentions, the low costs cars might serve your purposes. I am actually researching cars to come up with my own Americanized version of the UK's Bangernomics philosophy (http://bangernomics.tripod.com/). It deviates from true Mustachian focus of going car-less, but I am a car guy, so I figure this is the best way of blending both worlds and hopefully saving some gems from the junk yards.

Some used cars seem to be commanding a premium right now, therefore, to sell you car for top dollar, make sure you have all of the service records available for perspective purchasers, ensure it is extremely clean and if possible take the hours to detail it to near mint condition.

The vibe and its sister car the Toyota Matrix was built via a JV between GM and Toyota called NUMMI, so it might prove be very reliable.  It is on my shortlist, that is if I can find one with a low price.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2012, 09:44:15 PM »
Wow, what wonderful replies so far. I also just noticed that I completely missed the topic titled 'Cars' that this should have just been a part of.

@onehappypanda: While menorman touched on it, the car I currently drive is not a Mazda6, it's the Mazdaspeed6 which is the AWD Turbo quasi-luxury sedan variety of the Mazda6 which had about a 9k higher MSRP. It is more of a niche car, but does have higher value than a standard 6s. I'm really glad to hear about your experiences with the Civic. I actually hadn't considered it as one of my options as my wife had an 02 or 04 when we first started living together and we both despised it. Granted, I believe it was the base trim level, and sort of had it forced on us. We were in a different place, I will shed my previous attitude and give it a proper look! What you said about the mileage makes a lot of sense, and really does give me some assurances (and options!) on some of the other vehicles I'm seeing out there as I am following a pretty sweet checklist when I see the car (I have the link at the office, will post tomorrow) and will be taking it to my local mechanic for a thorough inspection before closing the deal.

I didn't know about the issues with the Focus/Vibe, they seem like solid machines. Although it seems like if I follow the process to weed out the crummy ones, at >125k they should be the ones that aren't prone to issues. I'm not terribly interested in a salvage/rebuilt vehicle. I drive my son every morning to school, and while I'm a very engaged driver, I need to make sure a point that isn't supposed to buckle, buckles.

I'm not in a rush to sell the current vehicle, as I have cash in hand to buy the new one. I would rather sit back and wait for the right buyer at the right price. Plus I need a car to get to work every day!

@menorman: It actually is quite the excellent specimen, but I won't delude myself into thinking that I can get thousands more than the market will bare. Thanks for grabbing those links for me! I have a few biases of some of those cars, but that's more of an issue I have to get over than anything. The BMW was interesting, I would have thought a twelve year old bimmer would be a monster to maintain. Or is the notion that at 5k, IF it passes a rigorous inspection/history that it has a lower probability of being a budget buster in repairs?

The outback was also very intriguing to me. I was under the impression that any subaru short of ten years in this price range would either have >200k miles or be a shit-box. The miles aren't listed on this one, but it looks pretty good. How are the repairs on these things?

@gangr: Very interesting! I'd be keen on diving into all of that later. Time is a FLEETING commodity these days though. I have a very demanding job, and my wife just had twins to join our already exhausting 4 year old. Which brings me to my last area of concern. While repairs don't scare me, I do need reliable transportation that when I do hit a breakdown, it's an outlier event (as in not recurring every 2-4 weeks) that it relatively quickly remedied. I don't know too many people that are able to fit in car breakdowns into their life, but I don't have too much appetite for that. This is why I started with the generic American sub 125k mile vehicles that were inexpensive to repair with generic parts and such.

I really appreciate all the conversation around this, and the lengthy posts/research you have done for me! Very interested on seeing how this continues!

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 08:49:39 AM »
As promised, here is the link to that checklist I found:

http://www.andrewnoske.com/wiki/index.php?title=Buying_a_used_car_-_checklist

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 09:23:56 AM »
This ride just hit my radar, going to check this out for sure! I didn't mention earlier that I have a huge preference for a manual, and if I CAN, would appreciate a nicer interior. Are the accords just as reliable as the civics?

02 Manual Accord with 122k, timing and drive belts, water pump, replaced coolant just done.

$5.8k

http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3448942/

gangr

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2012, 09:51:13 AM »
Your preference for a manual will serve you well when shopping for older Hondas, as Honda had some automatic transmission issues for model years 1999-2004 (search for Honda transmission issues and you'll get more than enough information). Also, ask the owner to get a complete service history printout from Honda. That way you will know what if any issues the owner has had in the past and if regular maintenace was done.

If you are hunting for Civics and Accords and find one with an automatic make sure you get a PPI (pre-purchase inspection).

I have an Accord and it has proven very reliable.

onehappypanda

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2012, 10:06:05 AM »
This ride just hit my radar, going to check this out for sure! I didn't mention earlier that I have a huge preference for a manual, and if I CAN, would appreciate a nicer interior. Are the accords just as reliable as the civics?

02 Manual Accord with 122k, timing and drive belts, water pump, replaced coolant just done.

$5.8k

http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3448942/

Looks like a nice car, you'll get less gas mileage than a Civic but it's a manual so that's highly flexible if you pick up some hypermiling skills. I sometimes avoid the older V6 accords because of transmission issues, but the 4-cylinders are good and you could honestly replace the transmission for an accord and still get a ton of miles out of it and come out on top if you find one for the right price.

Regarding your prior post:
When I said 10-12K tops, I WAS talking about the Mazdaspeed. I've ridden in and sold Mazdaspeeds, and they're nice cars, but it's also 7 years old. If it's immaculate with really low miles and/or you live in a really hot market you might be able to get what you want for it. Heck, you might get what you want anyway if you happen to find the right buyer. I'm just suggesting that you list it now to see where you're at, because that's a pretty ambitious price and it's possible that may need to adjust the price down. Most people overvalue the things they own, especially their cars, so that's just my heads' up from experience. Feel free to ignore it if you'd like.

When I said the Focus/Vibe had issues, I meant the older models. Many people say "oh the (insert car make/model) is a good car" and assume all the models years are the same. Not so. Manufacturers change their models from time to time, and that can change the reliability, so when you're looking at a car's reliability it's important to make sure you're looking at the right set of years. My general rule of thumb is to avoid anything within the first 2-4 years of the model being introduced, because those years always seem to have issues. That's why I said be careful with the older models of Vibes and Focuses. Not that they're all bad, but the early model years had some issues, and that's just really common for most vehicles. I'd trust most Vibes that aren't the first year (2003) since they seem to be solid. I'd trust a Focus after 03/04. Again, assuming they've been taken care of and maintained. Hope that helps explain it a little.

Having a preference for a manual will help you nowadays. So many people don't like to drive manuals, their resell value is generally lower. Which means a sweet deal for you!

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2012, 10:51:20 AM »

@menorman: It actually is quite the excellent specimen, but I won't delude myself into thinking that I can get thousands more than the market will bare. Thanks for grabbing those links for me! I have a few biases of some of those cars, but that's more of an issue I have to get over than anything. The BMW was interesting, I would have thought a twelve year old bimmer would be a monster to maintain. Or is the notion that at 5k, IF it passes a rigorous inspection/history that it has a lower probability of being a budget buster in repairs?

The outback was also very intriguing to me. I was under the impression that any subaru short of ten years in this price range would either have >200k miles or be a shit-box. The miles aren't listed on this one, but it looks pretty good. How are the repairs on these things?

Yea, if you have the time to sit and wait for a buyer, you should be able to get somewhere close to what you want for it. Seeing the part of the country you live in, a sale of an AWD might be slightly better as winter approaches than as it leaves, but I'm only guessing. I did find one on my local craigslist that approximately matches yours. You could also take it by CarMax, they claim that they'll buy cars even if you don't return the favor. As for the rest of the cars, I know what you mean. I myself wouldn't drive some of them, but they do fit the specifications listed so are legitimate potential candidates. Including the bimmer.
BMWs are just like any other car: keep the maintenance up and they'll last at least as long as anything else similar to them. With that being said, most people file complaints about older/used BMWs because buy a car that MSRP'd for $60k but now costs maybe 15% of that 10 years later yet they expect the maintenance costs of a brand new Civic (aka none) since it was cheaper than a new Civic. (This conversation could potentially be applied to most other luxury cars as well, although I hear Audi and Mercedes-Benz are worse than BMW. Acura/Infiniti/Lexus tend to inherit the reputations of Honda/Nissan/Toyota, which are usually good, and Cadillac/Jaguar/Lincoln are all a mixed bag, depending on which GM/Ford vehicle they're based off of, although Jaguar was sold to Tata Motors in 2010.) That isn't a realistic expectation, and a car that's a decade old may need some maintenance. This is one of those times where knowing how to do basic maintenance comes in real handy. Due to the nature of the vehicles, they're more complex than an econobox and so systems that only consist of a single part in a Civic have multiple parts on a BMW and that's what makes the maintenance expensive. Not realizing this, people motor on over to the dealer and are shocked to discover that what used to be a basic repair with minimal cost on their econobox now has a price tag equal to 1/3 the market value of their luxury car. Those type of repairs can definitely add up fast in a car that hasn't been cared for (luxury or not), so paying a trusted mechanic to do a thorough check could be money very well spent.
With that in mind, here is a Mustachian version of yesterday's bimmer that has almost 40k more on the odometer that I still would feel confident in putting an easy 30k more on, especially if mostly highway miles. So while I definitely won't guarantee the sedan, I think it should be fairly obvious that they are more long-lasting and reliable than people make them out to be. Also, they aren't exactly gas hogs. (If you couldn't tell,) I do actually own a BMW, a 1998 540i that I acquired about 9 months ago. After buying it, and w/o even so much as an oil change, I drove it back and cross a majority portion of the country and it ran fine. Despite the EPA designation as a "Gas Guzzler", I usually get mid-high 20s with my cruise control set in the mid-70s and the AC keeping me nice and cool. That's from a 4.4L V8 moving around a 2 ton car. Other 540 owners on the forums report getting similar mileage, and even some M5 owners report getting low 30s cruising around. The 3-Series cars are smaller and lighter, so despite their smaller engines, I would still expect them to be able to hit low-mid 30s at conservative cruise speeds.

As for the Subie, I haven't heard much bad about them except for people who thought they were Ken Block. The boxer engines are solid design, although the turbos might need to be looked at, especially if it sat for awhile (unless it just isn't turbo at all). Other than that, just regular maintenance stuff like one would find on most cars that old.


This ride just hit my radar, going to check this out for sure! I didn't mention earlier that I have a huge preference for a manual, and if I CAN, would appreciate a nicer interior. Are the accords just as reliable as the civics?

02 Manual Accord with 122k, timing and drive belts, water pump, replaced coolant just done.

$5.8k

http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3448942/

With some exceptions (notably Chrysler products from that era), cars are only as reliable as their owners. Honda and Toyota tend to be reliable despite their owners, including the Accords. As ohp made mention of, stay away from the auto transmissions (especially for the V6s) in that range unless it's been certified by Honda and/or still (miraculously) has a warranty. '02 was the last year of that model, so it should be about as free from model-specific quirks as one would expect to find. One owner is definitely good, makes it much easier to get to the maintenance history, although it should be a pretty solid buy, especially w/ the work that was just done.


Having a preference for a manual will help you nowadays. So many people don't like to drive manuals, their resell value is generally lower. Which means a sweet deal for you!

Not so much anymore, especially when shopping for newer cars. With manufacturers coming out with 8-speed slushboxes to boost their EPA mileages, the advantage of a 5-speed manual gearbox is theoretically none, so some companies aren't even offering them in many cars where one would expect to find them. For example, BMW's //M division wants to do away with manual transmissions and go to only SMGs, but the American market--their largest--still demands a real manual transmission. For their credit, Porsche just revealed that they now offer a 7-speed manual (world's first) in the new 911. But still, fleeting few buy cars w/ manual transmissions these days and those who do tend to not sell them very often. Even at the very low end of the vehicle spectrum, it's getting to be next to impossible to find a clutch pedal. Almost all used Accords, Camrys, Corollas, and even the newer Civics are usually auto except for the SI trim. Same extends downward into the Fit/Versa/Focus/Aveo/Yaris/Soul/etc. territory. So while yes, they may tend to be slightly cheaper than an auto version of the exact same car, someone in need of a vehicle sooner than later may very well be better off just buying an auto if they can't find a manual specimen that fits their needs in the immediate term.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 11:56:26 AM »
Your preference for a manual will serve you well when shopping for older Hondas, as Honda had some automatic transmission issues for model years 1999-2004 (search for Honda transmission issues and you'll get more than enough information). Also, ask the owner to get a complete service history printout from Honda. That way you will know what if any issues the owner has had in the past and if regular maintenace was done.

If you are hunting for Civics and Accords and find one with an automatic make sure you get a PPI (pre-purchase inspection).

I have an Accord and it has proven very reliable.

I've always had a passion for manual transmissions. Aside from the obvious benefits, I feel like I'm actually driving rather than mashing a pedal and avoiding other cars. I actually had a coworker ask me yesterday why anyone would rather do more work during driving when they can do less. More time for texting and eating I suppose...

My mother has an 02 Automatic V6 and had her transmission replaced at about 105k. I'm doing a PPI on any vehicle I purchase, no question. I'm really quite excited about that Accord as it's a ride that could last beyond the 25-30k that I am thinking of with all the work that has been done on it, provided it's in the condition as stated! Do the Civic automatics have similar issues? What other major items should I be worried about/preparing for since those timing and drive belts, and water pump have been replaced?

Looks like a nice car, you'll get less gas mileage than a Civic but it's a manual so that's highly flexible if you pick up some hypermiling skills. I sometimes avoid the older V6 accords because of transmission issues, but the 4-cylinders are good and you could honestly replace the transmission for an accord and still get a ton of miles out of it and come out on top if you find one for the right price.

Regarding your prior post:
When I said 10-12K tops, I WAS talking about the Mazdaspeed. I've ridden in and sold Mazdaspeeds, and they're nice cars, but it's also 7 years old. If it's immaculate with really low miles and/or you live in a really hot market you might be able to get what you want for it. Heck, you might get what you want anyway if you happen to find the right buyer. I'm just suggesting that you list it now to see where you're at, because that's a pretty ambitious price and it's possible that may need to adjust the price down. Most people overvalue the things they own, especially their cars, so that's just my heads' up from experience. Feel free to ignore it if you'd like.

When I said the Focus/Vibe had issues, I meant the older models. Many people say "oh the (insert car make/model) is a good car" and assume all the models years are the same. Not so. Manufacturers change their models from time to time, and that can change the reliability, so when you're looking at a car's reliability it's important to make sure you're looking at the right set of years. My general rule of thumb is to avoid anything within the first 2-4 years of the model being introduced, because those years always seem to have issues. That's why I said be careful with the older models of Vibes and Focuses. Not that they're all bad, but the early model years had some issues, and that's just really common for most vehicles. I'd trust most Vibes that aren't the first year (2003) since they seem to be solid. I'd trust a Focus after 03/04. Again, assuming they've been taken care of and maintained. Hope that helps explain it a little.

Having a preference for a manual will help you nowadays. So many people don't like to drive manuals, their resell value is generally lower. Which means a sweet deal for you!


Mileage isn't absolutely critical for me, but will be a nice benefit on top of switching away from 91 Octane that my MS6 requires. I have a 16 mile each way commute, and rarely take it around on the weekends. We're talking 7-10k/yr. Even the switch away from premium will only be a $1.50ish a week benefit. I'm sure I'm overvaluing the MS6 a bit, my gut tells me to put it up at 15k though! I haven't done a real price analysis yet, but will be as soon as I pick up the replacement car. Good to know about the different model years, I'll need to keep that in mind when looking at these models. There doesn't seem to be too many Focus's (Focii?) under $6k that are 04 or newer.

Ridiculous amount of awesome information.

Wow, I love how deep you get into this topic. I really appreciate the time you've taken to write this all up! How does this Carmax thing work, are they just a used car buyer? How are they different than my local dealership? This is the first time I've heard about this.

What you said about the more complexity is what I'm trying to avoid. My ideal state would be that when something goes wrong, it's in such a common engine with common parts that it's as inexpensive as it possibly can be. I am not willing to pay a premium so that I can have the BMW performance at this stage, so I think I'll have to pass on that one as tempting as it is! Those ten year old BMWs look great still!

I'm looking at the Accord tomorrow at lunch, I'll report back how it is. His list price is $100 under blue book. The only thing (according to him) is that it'll likely need new brakes soon. It has your normal road chips and such, and that doesn't really bother me much. I wish he would've used Synthetic for the life of the car, but he didn't. Any thoughts on what I should offer if it comes back clean (pre-mechanic inspection)? My gut tells me to always offer lower than the list price, but it seems like $5,800 for this car in good to great condition would be a fair price. All offers contingent on a clean bill of health from mechanic. :)

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2012, 02:07:45 PM »
Mileage isn't absolutely critical for me, but will be a nice benefit on top of switching away from 91 Octane that my MS6 requires. I have a 16 mile each way commute, and rarely take it around on the weekends. We're talking 7-10k/yr. Even the switch away from premium will only be a $1.50ish a week benefit. I'm sure I'm overvaluing the MS6 a bit, my gut tells me to put it up at 15k though! I haven't done a real price analysis yet, but will be as soon as I pick up the replacement car. Good to know about the different model years, I'll need to keep that in mind when looking at these models. There doesn't seem to be too many Focus's (Focii?) under $6k that are 04 or newer.
Wow, I love how deep you get into this topic. I really appreciate the time you've taken to write this all up! How does this Carmax thing work, are they just a used car buyer? How are they different than my local dealership? This is the first time I've heard about this.

Yea, listing it at a price that is a little above what you actually expect to get for it gives you room for negotiation when selling privately. As for CarMax, you basically just go over to one of their dealerships where they'll appraise the car for you and give you a quote that they guarantee for like a week or something so you can have time to go home and consider all options if you want. Here's a link: http://www.carmax.com/enus/we-buy-cars/default.html.
As for switching away from 91, you may not want to. In my Accord, I've tracked pretty much every single tank of gas since I bought it in 2007 and I've found that I get better mileage on 91 than on 87 or 89 by about 1-3 mpg. That means I can go at least 30 miles more on a tank of 91 than 87, and I usually end up getting 28 mpg or so. Usually, price spread around here is $0.20 (although lately some stations have been doing $0.16), so gas would have to be below $2.80/gal for me to save money w/ 87. Since we've been well above $3/gal for some time now, I'm actually saving money by not using 87. It might just be because my car is so old, it isn't able to adjust as efficiently as newer ones can, but I was definitely (un)amused when I figured it out.


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What you said about the more complexity is what I'm trying to avoid. My ideal state would be that when something goes wrong, it's in such a common engine with common parts that it's as inexpensive as it possibly can be. I am not willing to pay a premium so that I can have the BMW performance at this stage, so I think I'll have to pass on that one as tempting as it is! Those ten year old BMWs look great still!

Usually, engine isn't the problem. It's just that all the maintenance items that become necessary on a car of that age can be more expensive. All-in-all, owning a used luxury car doesn't have to be an expensive proposition as long as maintenance has been done and the new owner continues to do it. They tend to be much less forgiving than Civics of maintenance not being done. Still, especially when considering the initial price, one can get more car for their money than initially believed. Of course, new Honda Fits have more gadgets in them than a decade old luxury car, but there are ways around that. And it comes with the added benefit of knowing that you can actually afford to drive the car. I have a friend who is still annoyed because my car that's 15 years old is held in higher regard than his brand new Accord that cost 5x what I paid. And unless they're actually car fans, people generously assume mine is 7 yeas newer than it is.


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I'm looking at the Accord tomorrow at lunch, I'll report back how it is. His list price is $100 under blue book. The only thing (according to him) is that it'll likely need new brakes soon. It has your normal road chips and such, and that doesn't really bother me much. I wish he would've used Synthetic for the life of the car, but he didn't. Any thoughts on what I should offer if it comes back clean (pre-mechanic inspection)? My gut tells me to always offer lower than the list price, but it seems like $5,800 for this car in good to great condition would be a fair price. All offers contingent on a clean bill of health from mechanic. :)

I'd say you can feel out how much to pay once you're there. Take a cashier's check for about 80% of his asking and the rest in cash and see where he is pricing flexibility. You can try to talk him down since it has a manual transmission, especially since he makes no mention of having had the clutch replaced. That's not a hard or expensive job, but if it needs to be done, a shop will probably charge $500+ because of the labor, so you could probably get him to lower it by a similar amount. Then of course, you can try to nitpick your way around and lower it even more, although

onehappypanda

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2012, 02:19:50 PM »
Re: The Carmax thing, since I'm fairly familiar with them. You go to the Carmax store and ask for an appraisal, they inspect the car and give you a price that they're willing to buy it for. It's guaranteed for 7 days, doesn't matter if you buy a car from them or not. The difference from a local dealership is they won't  base the price they give you on whether or not you're buying a car from them, and they won't quote you one price then turn around and try to change it or anything like that. Most people who go that route, IME, tend to do it because it's really simple and easy.

I'll warn you though- I highly doubt you'll get anything near $13.5K for it. That's close to retail, and Carmax has to buy the car from you, fix it up, advertise it, warranty it, etc. so they're naturally gonna offer you less. So you could probably use them as a gauge for what a dealer would give you, but you'll almost always make more private party. The benefit to selling it to Carmax (or even another dealer) is primarily the time and effort saved. If you don't mind the time and the effort, I'd just try to sell it yourself first and use that as a plan b.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2012, 02:21:47 PM »
menorman, you're awesome. You're exactly the person I need to be speaking to right now. A couple of quick questions:

- You say to bring the cash/check. I wasn't planning on it since I want to have it inspected by a mechanic to verify the quality. What I was planning to do was making him an offer, contingent on the inspection. Then we'd settle up at that point. Is this not the traditional way? The last time I bought a car used private party (or any party for that matter) was ten years ago, and I was quite young to think about the details.

- Cashier's Check/Paperwork: who do I make it out to? Myself and sign it over? What other paperwork MUST I have (in Michigan, FWIW)? I've found a bill of sale online (http://www.autocrisis.com/billofsale.phtml), he's a white-collar professional and seemed really cool. I'd think he'd be happy to sign something like that as it's obviously not one-sided. Just lays out the details of our arrangement.

I didn't think about the clutch, and as the brakes are likely going to have to go soon, those are some aces to use. Again, I appreciate your help, this has been huge!

Re: The Carmax thing, since I'm fairly familiar with them. You go to the Carmax store and ask for an appraisal, they inspect the car and give you a price that they're willing to buy it for. It's guaranteed for 7 days, doesn't matter if you buy a car from them or not. The difference from a local dealership is they won't  base the price they give you on whether or not you're buying a car from them, and they won't quote you one price then turn around and try to change it or anything like that. Most people who go that route, IME, tend to do it because it's really simple and easy.

I'll warn you though- I highly doubt you'll get anything near $13.5K for it. That's close to retail, and Carmax has to buy the car from you, fix it up, advertise it, warranty it, etc. so they're naturally gonna offer you less. So you could probably use them as a gauge for what a dealer would give you, but you'll almost always make more private party. The benefit to selling it to Carmax (or even another dealer) is primarily the time and effort saved. If you don't mind the time and the effort, I'd just try to sell it yourself first and use that as a plan b.


Oh, that explains it. What a good idea, people loathe dealerships. I'll check it out! (btw: what's the acronym IME mean?)

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2012, 03:41:24 PM »
menorman, you're awesome. You're exactly the person I need to be speaking to right now. A couple of quick questions:

- You say to bring the cash/check. I wasn't planning on it since I want to have it inspected by a mechanic to verify the quality. What I was planning to do was making him an offer, contingent on the inspection. Then we'd settle up at that point. Is this not the traditional way? The last time I bought a car used private party (or any party for that matter) was ten years ago, and I was quite young to think about the details.

- Cashier's Check/Paperwork: who do I make it out to? Myself and sign it over? What other paperwork MUST I have (in Michigan, FWIW)? I've found a bill of sale online (http://www.autocrisis.com/billofsale.phtml), he's a white-collar professional and seemed really cool. I'd think he'd be happy to sign something like that as it's obviously not one-sided. Just lays out the details of our arrangement.

I didn't think about the clutch, and as the brakes are likely going to have to go soon, those are some aces to use. Again, I appreciate your help, this has been huge!

Oh yea, it will of course depend on what kind of access you have to a mechanic. If you can line up the mechanic ahead of time so that you could shoot over and get it checked out all within an hour or two, then I'd carry the payment which would of course be contingent upon the inspection results. Otherwise, take the payment when you plan to actually take delivery of the car. I suggested cashier check/money order because some people are leery of accepting of accepting personal checks in case they bounce, and others don't like giving out their personal checks to people. Could even do PayPal if the buyer doesn't mind/doesn't realize they'll charge 3% fee AND the purchase could potentially be covered by a PayPal guarantee, whatever it may be. As for what paperwork you need, I'm not really sure since I live in CA. Out here, we just need a Bill of Sale, Transfer of Liability, and sign over the Title. I'm guessing you guys have a similar deal going over there.
Clutch probably isn't a problem, but then again it might be. You can't really know (except if it's already completely gone) unless you open it up and look at it and by time you do that, might as well put a new disc in while in there. As for the brakes, those quite honestly are some of the easiest maintenance items to do on an Accord, even with the ABS. A set of pads shouldn't be more than say $70 and if you get them from say AutoZone, get the ones w/ lifetime warranty and you literally have free brakes for life. One thing you might want to do for sure is make sure the mechanic hooks up the OBD-II scanner to see if there are any codes hiding that might not have triggered the CEL. Any mechanic worth the money should know what else to check and give you a report of what they find--any leaks of fluids or grease, electrical faults, if the frame isn't straight, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the suspension components are nearing the end of their useful life, although they'll almost certainly still function adequately for the duration you plan to have it. Other than that, it looks good. It is a decade old, so it won't be pristine. But it definitely isn't a lemon either.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2012, 06:59:00 PM »
Great ideas. I think what I'll do is grab a cashier's check (to myself, think that's the best way) for $5k and $800 in hundreds. I won't close the deal, but show him I have the money right then and there. I'll make sure up front that he's willing to do an inspection, if not, I'm not even going to look at it.  If I'm happy with the car, I'll offer the $5k ("I really like the car, I have a cashier's check for $5k right here") and see what he says. I am willing to pay up to the list price, so it'll just be a little jockeying back and forth. I'll mention the clutch, brakes, various chips, and that it's very nice, but not the 'Excellent' that KBB has at $5.9k. Given that, I think that $5k is a reasonable offer. Hopefully he's up for negotiating. Once we figure a price, I'll let him know that we will do the deal as soon as we can get my mechanic to look at it.

I'll call him up and get the Carfax (or the VIN if he doesn't have one) and get the bill of sale ready. In Michigan all you need to do is sign the title and go to the Secretary of State (DMV) to register it. The bill of sale will make us both comfortable with the terms. Need to do some looking into it, but maybe that'll serve as a 'contract' to buy pending the inspection which may give him assurances that I will follow through on the deal (and thus refuse other offers!).

The only kink in the plan is that he has someone else coming a few hours after to look at it. I don't have time to take the car to the mechanic, and nor does he as we'll both be at work. That'll likely have to happen another day. I know he'll use the other buyer at 5:00 as leverage to agree to a higher price and/or waive inspection. Guess I'll just have to live with that, there will be other awesome cars. As I am willing to go up to list, maybe that's my last resort option.

I'd say I wish the markup on dealers wasn't so much so that I could avoid this, but I'd be going through the same song and dance with them!

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2012, 07:40:53 PM »
menorman is right about the brakes. I just replaced the front pads and rotors on my Accord a few weekends ago. It took about 2 hours total including two trips back and forth to Autozone. The first trip was that I failed to read the Haynes manual ahead of time and didn't have any 8mm bolts to help get the rotors off, and the second was the fact that the the standard brake hardware included with the pads didn't fit my car. I went back to Autozone and they hooked me up with the right hardware free of charge. 

Good luck and have fun with your car shopping!

dw5ight

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2012, 02:21:11 AM »
Hi Stavros and Menorman-

I found this post because carsabi has been my weekend project for some time - I was really excited to see you found it somewhat useful! :)

While I'm no expert (and holy cow menorman I'm tremendously impressed by your autochops) I recently bought my car very similarly to what you've described. I met the seller and after an initial test drive agreed to take the car to a mechanic - the seller went back to her work and I found a local bookstore for 2hrs. I paid the mechanic's $100 fee, but as there were a few minor problems with the car (rear suspension, tires almost gone, brakes almost gone, and most fluids and filters in need of a change) the price was dropped by $800. We then went to a local WellsFargo and had a cashiers check made out to the seller in front of her, and then exchanged paperwork.

I realize this is a little more involved then you may have time for, but I think getting the check done afterward allows more flexible negotiations depending on how the mechanic turns out. I'd also strongly recommend going to a very rigorous (ocd?) mechanic as this will give you better leverage to get a fair deal. 

As a final note if you don't land the 2002 Accord, these two were probably too good to be true but worth checking:

http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3534522/
http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3532370/

Good luck and would love any feedback you have on the site!

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2012, 10:03:13 AM »
Hi Stavros and Menorman-

I found this post because carsabi has been my weekend project for some time - I was really excited to see you found it somewhat useful! :)

While I'm no expert (and holy cow menorman I'm tremendously impressed by your autochops) I recently bought my car very similarly to what you've described. I met the seller and after an initial test drive agreed to take the car to a mechanic - the seller went back to her work and I found a local bookstore for 2hrs. I paid the mechanic's $100 fee, but as there were a few minor problems with the car (rear suspension, tires almost gone, brakes almost gone, and most fluids and filters in need of a change) the price was dropped by $800. We then went to a local WellsFargo and had a cashiers check made out to the seller in front of her, and then exchanged paperwork.

I realize this is a little more involved then you may have time for, but I think getting the check done afterward allows more flexible negotiations depending on how the mechanic turns out. I'd also strongly recommend going to a very rigorous (ocd?) mechanic as this will give you better leverage to get a fair deal. 

As a final note if you don't land the 2002 Accord, these two were probably too good to be true but worth checking:

http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3534522/
http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3532370/

Good luck and would love any feedback you have on the site!
Thanks for the great site! I like it so far, a bit easier to use than actually searching craigslist itself and I really like the market analysis tool. A similar site for motorcycles would be great, but searching craigslist by hand won't kill me if you don't have time to do it. As for those last two cars you posted for consideration, those prices are about what one should expect to pay/get for those years.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2012, 10:09:23 AM »
Getting the inspection done right now. This thing is cherry. Drives awesome, sounds great, looks good. I'm buying it unless a secret is hiding underneath. Offered 52 and was declined as he just listed it, already getting good interest, and it's the third car. I'll counter with 55 after the inspection due to the clutch and brakes and will settle on 58 if need be. Only my pride would be hurt, but this feels like a ride for 75k more easy.

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2012, 10:31:53 AM »
Getting the inspection done right now. This thing is cherry. Drives awesome, sounds great, looks good. I'm buying it unless a secret is hiding underneath. Offered 52 and was declined as he just listed it, already getting good interest, and it's the third car. I'll counter with 55 after the inspection due to the clutch and brakes and will settle on 58 if need be. Only my pride would be hurt, but this feels like a ride for 75k more easy.
Yea, it quite honestly is a solid buy even at $5800 and should easily last another 200k miles. I bought my last Accord at 250k still running decently and it lasted until 316, when I finally pulled the engine that was dying but definitely not dead yet.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2012, 11:41:01 AM »
Deal inked at $5,500, doing the cash/title transfer at 5:00. The mechanic said the car was cherry. Clutch has maybe 30k on it, brakes at 50% and everything else looks fantastic. I'm super stoked. Thanks for all of the help! I paid for the 5 Carfaxes, used 1 for this car, and going to use another for my MS6. Anyone need to use one of the other 3?


Now for the hard part, selling the MS6!

kudy

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2012, 11:52:20 AM »
I'd love to use one of your allowed carfaxes!

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2012, 11:58:13 AM »
I'd love to use one of your allowed carfaxes!

PM me the VIN, i'll PDF the full report and send it to you.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2012, 01:43:08 PM »
Hi Stavros and Menorman-

I found this post because carsabi has been my weekend project for some time - I was really excited to see you found it somewhat useful! :)

While I'm no expert (and holy cow menorman I'm tremendously impressed by your autochops) I recently bought my car very similarly to what you've described. I met the seller and after an initial test drive agreed to take the car to a mechanic - the seller went back to her work and I found a local bookstore for 2hrs. I paid the mechanic's $100 fee, but as there were a few minor problems with the car (rear suspension, tires almost gone, brakes almost gone, and most fluids and filters in need of a change) the price was dropped by $800. We then went to a local WellsFargo and had a cashiers check made out to the seller in front of her, and then exchanged paperwork.

I realize this is a little more involved then you may have time for, but I think getting the check done afterward allows more flexible negotiations depending on how the mechanic turns out. I'd also strongly recommend going to a very rigorous (ocd?) mechanic as this will give you better leverage to get a fair deal. 

As a final note if you don't land the 2002 Accord, these two were probably too good to be true but worth checking:

http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3534522/
http://carsabi.com/listing/original/3532370/

Good luck and would love any feedback you have on the site!

That really is a great site that fills a void! My one complaint is that you have the Mazdaspeed3, but not the 6! I need to research listing prices across the nation and the keyword search seems to be very restrictive. I know this is likely out of your hands, but the mileage can sometimes be really off if the seller lists BRAKES CHANGED AT 50k! on a 200K car. It'll put the 50k in. Maybe if there are multiple miles mentioned you have a field where you can report the correct one that should have been scraped. In the overall search maybe somehow note that *multiple mileages found, look closer to be sure! It wasn't that big of a deal, but I would have liked to have seen the value analysis on the correct value. Overall though, that site was hugely helpful to me. It was quite difficult to navigate on the iPhone though, as the menus could not be moved out of the way leaving me with a sliver to look at the listing. Make an app and you'll make a fortune with this search engine though!

$100 for the inspection? I just paid $43, and the dude was super thorough. I was underneath with him and he showed me everything about the car. I feel like I really know it and what to keep an eye on. I'd still pay $100 though, good insurance policy.

Speaking of insurance... I just added the Honda to my policy. I basically mirrored my other cars and will make changes later when I have more time (although I upped Collision ded to 1000 and Comprehensive to $250) and wasn't sure what the right mix should be. I put it at $1k since I have a $1k baby emergency fund (Ramsey's plan is a great tool to get started if you ignore all the doctrine and heavy-handedness!) and couldn't easily replace the Honda without taking on more debt as all of my excess cash is going to destroy my student loans. Anyone want to weigh in on the insurance for the $4-6k car?

Now that the initial excitement has worn off and I have taken a look at this deal, I really think this guy right-priced or slightly underpriced this car. I've noticed on CL that Hondas and Toyotas tend to have a $5-10k premium over KBB for Excellent if they get good MPG. Then you add in the fact that this particular car is flawless, and I think he could have gotten 6.5-7 for it if he listed it up there and held out. My gain, but I definitely feel that I got a big deal here on a car that is very comfortable to drive in (not a focus or other econo-car), mechanically very reliable and forecasting to continue, and gets great MPG. I did keep trying to put it in sixth gear though as I was driving it back from the mechanic, that's a habit I'll have a hard time breaking (and will miss).

Plans for selling the car, as this has turned into a little journal. I do hope that someone will benefit from this little journey in the future. On Sunday I plan to detail the car the best that I can and take some sweet pictures of it. I was going to pay someone to do it, but I think that's a bit anti-mustachian. :) I'll keep the car in the garage between showings, and drive it in to the office when I have one arranged (i'm picky about having strangers come to my home with wife and 3 small children). I'll have to do some market analysis (GET THAT GOING FOR ME dw5ight!) and list it up with a small premium to work with. I'm going to hold out for a little while as the weather stays nice and people get their bonuses/taxes cashed. I only owe 7k on it and the payment is really cheap, so I won't feel the pressure there. It's the insurance at $77/mo that I really want to be gone.

gangr

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #25 on: March 23, 2012, 08:21:22 PM »
Congrats on getting the Honda.  As you work on selling the MS6 here is a website that will let you see the most up to date black book values (http://www.cudlautosmart.com/Research/TradeInValues.aspx). 

dw5ight

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2012, 03:28:51 AM »
Thanks for the kind words guys, that means a lot!!!! And thanks for the black book tip as well gangr :)

@menorman, I think we should be able to add motorcycles soon - this will probably be accelerated because I'd like to get a Ducati Monster this year and I definitely don't want to check Craigslist by hand. I'll PM you for sure when its up.

@Stavros, really appreciate the feedback. I hadn't realized anyone would be checking form the iPhone. I'll try and see if I can get the menu to collapse or something else clever. Also, yeah, we wrote some decent algorithms to extract mileage but they can get confused pretty easily. These should get better as we get more data. Finally, I just added the MazdaSpeed6 for you http://bit.ly/GZdbGq - we only have 32 listings nationwide from dealerships right now (not many people add to Craigslist at 2am on a Friday night), but this should have more private ones by tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know we were missing it!

Thanks again guys and really appreciate the feedback! :)

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2012, 07:35:48 PM »
Now that the initial excitement has worn off and I have taken a look at this deal, I really think this guy right-priced or slightly underpriced this car. I've noticed on CL that Hondas and Toyotas tend to have a $5-10k premium over KBB for Excellent if they get good MPG. Then you add in the fact that this particular car is flawless, and I think he could have gotten 6.5-7 for it if he listed it up there and held out. My gain, but I definitely feel that I got a big deal here on a car that is very comfortable to drive in (not a focus or other econo-car), mechanically very reliable and forecasting to continue, and gets great MPG. I did keep trying to put it in sixth gear though as I was driving it back from the mechanic, that's a habit I'll have a hard time breaking (and will miss).

Plans for selling the car, as this has turned into a little journal. I do hope that someone will benefit from this little journey in the future. On Sunday I plan to detail the car the best that I can and take some sweet pictures of it. I was going to pay someone to do it, but I think that's a bit anti-mustachian. :) I'll keep the car in the garage between showings, and drive it in to the office when I have one arranged (i'm picky about having strangers come to my home with wife and 3 small children). I'll have to do some market analysis (GET THAT GOING FOR ME dw5ight!) and list it up with a small premium to work with. I'm going to hold out for a little while as the weather stays nice and people get their bonuses/taxes cashed. I only owe 7k on it and the payment is really cheap, so I won't feel the pressure there. It's the insurance at $77/mo that I really want to be gone.

Yea, you really did get a good deal on the car, especially with getting 5% more off the already decent price. I agree with you, they are definitely a step up from the entry-level econoboxes at a fraction of the cost. Although a brand new econobox might be equipped with the latest connectivity features, it's still an econobox. I'd much rather pay to add a radio than pay double for a car just to obtain one. Also with the kids, the extra space compared to an econobox will not be unappreciated either. As for your insurance, do you not get a discount for prepaying several months in advance vs. month by month? That's usually touted as a surefire way to lower insurance rates a little.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 09:49:22 PM by menorman »

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2012, 09:25:00 PM »
Now I need to keep myself in mustachian check as I am wanting a sweet touchscreen bluetooth/etc to replace the stock for $2-300. My consumerist side tells me it'd be a sweet way to modernize a solid older car.

I should probably find the most decent $50 deck that has an aux in and drop it in.

I just noticed I talked about a 5-10k premium above KBB before. That was an obvious typo. I meant 1-2k. Not sure where 5-10 came from!

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2012, 03:39:37 PM »
Time to list the sport with 83k. There is virtually no one selling them on all of Craigslist, save for a few dealers. The prices are varying VERY widely (someone has a 50k Grand Touring for 12k, another has a 114k Sport for 18k) so I'm having a real difficult time pricing this thing to list it out. Blue book is at 13.3k (10.8k trade-in) via KBB.com but the KBB on http://www.cudlautosmart.com is 15.1k (10.7k t/i), 16.3k Black Book (12.2k t/i).


 I don't want to be a typical schmuck and overprice my car, but it is in really excellent shape. New tranny around 30-40k (defective, not poor driving) and a new timing chain which was replaced under a TCB shortly after.


 Hoping to get some guidance from you guys on the list price. I spent the day vacuuming it up and cleaning up the interior. Need to get the outside all shiny and nice and start taking some pics, then will be good to go! But the prices are all over the map and I'm stumped!

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2012, 11:20:35 PM »
Thanks for the kind words guys, that means a lot!!!! And thanks for the black book tip as well gangr :)

@menorman, I think we should be able to add motorcycles soon - this will probably be accelerated because I'd like to get a Ducati Monster this year and I definitely don't want to check Craigslist by hand. I'll PM you for sure when its up.

@Stavros, really appreciate the feedback. I hadn't realized anyone would be checking form the iPhone. I'll try and see if I can get the menu to collapse or something else clever. Also, yeah, we wrote some decent algorithms to extract mileage but they can get confused pretty easily. These should get better as we get more data. Finally, I just added the MazdaSpeed6 for you http://bit.ly/GZdbGq - we only have 32 listings nationwide from dealerships right now (not many people add to Craigslist at 2am on a Friday night), but this should have more private ones by tomorrow. Thanks for letting me know we were missing it!

Thanks again guys and really appreciate the feedback! :)
How does the program obtain the name of the cars? This BMW 650 isn't at all, and even says so in the original cl title, but it became one via carsabi. I've noticed that with a couple results so far--a second model that is mentioned in the actual posting is listed as the title over the original title (e.g. this "540", this 550, etc.). Actually, after seeing the pattern, I think it might be because BMW likes to throw a can of alphabet soup after the model numbers, so the search apparently grabs the "cleanest" numbers to be the model numbers and ignores all other possibilities. I'm manufacturers probably have a similar situation, so you may want/have to add the entire myriad of options available on various models aggregated into a single model (e.g. 525e, 525i, 525xi all get included as a 525).

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #31 on: March 27, 2012, 09:32:24 PM »
Welp, post is live on Craigslist! Let's see how this goes!

http://annarbor.craigslist.org/cto/2926372315.html


Also, I have been using an old tape to headphone jack converter with my iPhone in the Honda and I cannot believe how great it sounds. Granted, I listen to mostly Audiobooks, but my son and I jam to some Black Eyed Peas Pandora radio in the mornings and it's above decent! I think I just avoided a cost here!
« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 09:42:39 PM by Stavros »

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #32 on: March 28, 2012, 06:35:07 AM »
Mother f-r! Weeks/months without any for sale, and this guy posts one up (with a higher trim level) than mine for $5k less within the same hour I posted mine!

http://annarbor.craigslist.org/cto/2903002093.html

I'm not competing with that one... I'll just tell people that they should go buy that one if they think it's a better price, he's giving it away.

sol

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #33 on: March 28, 2012, 09:11:27 AM »
You might call him and ask to see it. 

This is CL, after all, and chances are decent that it's a prospective buyer for your car looking for leverage in his negotiation.  The timing is too perfect.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #34 on: March 28, 2012, 09:16:54 AM »
You might call him and ask to see it. 

This is CL, after all, and chances are decent that it's a prospective buyer for your car looking for leverage in his negotiation.  The timing is too perfect.

Fascinating, I had NOT considered that! I did put in an email to him saying I was interested, but was concerned as to why it was so low since it's in such good condition. It's in the city RIGHT next to me also... You're right, the timing is too perfect. I'll call him also.

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #35 on: March 28, 2012, 09:54:53 AM »
You might call him and ask to see it. 

This is CL, after all, and chances are decent that it's a prospective buyer for your car looking for leverage in his negotiation.  The timing is too perfect.

Yeah, I thought the same thing.  You'll also have folks flag your ad as spam so it will be deleted so they can get first dibs. 

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2012, 02:18:40 PM »
And/or it's an amazing deal, and you should buy it to resell it right away and cash a few thousand in profit.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #37 on: March 28, 2012, 02:37:34 PM »
And/or it's an amazing deal, and you should buy it to resell it right away and cash a few thousand in profit.

He did reply and offered to have me see it, so it may very well be legit. Could have a huge gremlin though.

I'm a bit cash tight (plowing everything to debt payoff, at a madness pace), or else I'd think about the opportunity. I imagine that if there is nothing wrong with it, this problem will fix itself in less than a week. It'll sell and it'll be off CL.

Bonus: Got my first CL scammer email today!
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 02:39:59 PM by Stavros »

menorman

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #38 on: March 28, 2012, 07:00:52 PM »
You might call him and ask to see it. 

This is CL, after all, and chances are decent that it's a prospective buyer for your car looking for leverage in his negotiation.  The timing is too perfect.

Fascinating, I had NOT considered that! I did put in an email to him saying I was interested, but was concerned as to why it was so low since it's in such good condition. It's in the city RIGHT next to me also... You're right, the timing is too perfect. I'll call him also.
Go over to see it....in your MS6 lol. Maybe he'll buy yours from you.

Mactrader

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #39 on: April 17, 2012, 08:39:18 AM »
Wanted to post an update on the switch. The Honda has been treating me VERY well! Swapped out the stock headunit for an inexpensive JVC with Bluetooth and all the fun tricks to make it feel like a more modern vehicle. I sold the Mazdaspeed6 yesterday for $13k! The rate it was going I thought I was going to have to settle on 10-11. The gentleman who purchased it was the first one to come see it and made an offer on the spot. This whole thing could not have worked out better, and wanted to thank all of you for the valuable input along the way!

Now I'm trying to consider if I should just pay off the Town & Country with the proceeds, or swap that for a Honda/Toyota/Nissan minivan as we are having issues with the T&C. The power sliding doors and liftgate act up all the time and have been in the dealer for it about 5 times. Wipers randomly do not work and sometimes the key doesn't work either. Just weird things that are making us fed up with the car. On the other hand, I'm not sure what my appetite is for going headstrong into the process again, and may just find a better way to cope with the issues. My knowledge of minivans and their respective reliabilities is low, and my wifes tastes for an older car are much less than mine.

Thanks again!

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Re: Swapping nice car for an econobox for the first time
« Reply #40 on: April 17, 2012, 08:35:54 PM »
Good to see you sold the Mazda at the price you wanted.