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How have you handled reaching out to a seller when you know what he paid for the car?


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I have bought and sold several cars through the years, and I am always searching.  Lately, I've had interest in a couple that were bought at Auction in the last 12 months and the sale price (including buyers premium) is publicly known.  Two cars in particular that I am interested in appear to have an asking price more than double what the seller paid for it.  From the write up and the prior Auction writeup, I don't think any mechanical or cosmetic work was put into the cars.  In essence they are "flipping" the car with no appreciable money put into them before relisting them.  I suppose one way of looking at any car for sale is "pay what you think it is worth" and ignore how much profit the seller might make.  I do realize that traveling to Auctions, hotels and meals, transportation both ways, storage, title work, etc has a cost associated with it and I certainly don't begrudge someone from making a profit and running a business.  

 

I am interested in how some of you have handled this.  Did you let the seller know that you know the history of the car and know what they paid at auction?  Did you not share that knowledge and just made an offer that you thought was fair but factored in the known purchase price the seller paid for it?  I suppose this question could be categorized as "the psychology of the negotiation when you know much money the seller has in the car".

 

How have some of you handled this scenario?

 

 

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Seems to me you need to put a value on the car to YOU. Negotiate to that amount or let it be. Same as if the vehicle was not bought recently at an auction and the original price to the current owner was not known. What difference to you is what the purchase price was to the current owner?  I know it would suck to hear later the "flipper" made double their money, but if the vehicle was worth it to you.......

 

So, first, research the value of the car to you and others (recent auction results, private sales, etc.).

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Hey John,

                          I generally buy my cars from private sellers rather than dealers or flippers, knowing they are in it for a profit so their prices are usually in the "full tilt retail" area and I prefer not to buy in that range if possible.

That being said, any car I consider purchasing, I already have a pretty good idea of it's value and a solid "to and from" figure that I would pay.  If the car is in that range, I will buy it regardless of who the seller is or what they  paid.

If a guy buys a car for $1.00 should he sell it to me for $2.00?  That would be a 100% profit but not very realistic.  If your seller got a terrific deal on these two cars at the auction and the market supports his doubled asking price, then they're probably still worth buying.  If he already a paid retail price at the auction, well then I suspect nobody will buy these cars at his asking price.

Cheers, Greg

Edited by GregLaR (see edit history)
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Using the fact that you know as something that gets mentioned in the negotiation is fine.  The seller will understand your lack of a desire to help him double up and it might make you seem more likely to walk... but I don’t think it should really impact what you are willing to pay. It is worth it to you or it isn’t. 

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3 hours ago, John Bloom said:

Two cars in particular that I am interested in appear to have an asking price more than double what the seller paid for it. 

 

Whether or not you inform the seller of your knowledge,

you have a strong negotiating point.  Often, however,

when a car is overpriced, it will take patience for the

seller to realize that his asking price is too high.

 

Just ponder for a minute, though, John:  Hundreds of

people at the auction saw the car, and thought it wasn't

worth more than X.  Those would include dealers who

would likely eagerly buy any bargain for their inventory.

So don't be inclined to pay much more than X.  There will

be many other interesting cars that come along with patience. 

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I'll agree with most of the posts.   There is no correlation between what a seller paid for something and what the buyer might be willing or should pay.

 

If I go the away with an example,  I know of a car that the last owner paid a million dollars for,  the next guy knowing the million number paid 500k,   but the car is really only a 250-300k car the public market.

 

The buyer that paid the 500k only paid because he knew the seller paid 1,000,000 and figured 1/2 must be a deal.   It wasn't.

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The free enterprise system is a great system which allows each of us to buy and sell for what we think something is worth to us. The question therein is, how much is too much? Is it really fair to overcharge simply because one can? We see overpriced items all the time in our hobby, and in all aspects of commerce; sellers just waiting for an uninformed sucker who will pay the price! Eventually, one will price himself out of the market completely. Overpricing only serves to kill the business in the long run!

 

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I do like the idea, in general, of paying a long-time

owner rather than a flipper.  It seems fairer.

 

Otherwise, you get a scenario like this:

 

Sad widow to prospective buyer:  "This car was my

husband's pride and joy.  We took it on tours every

year for twenty years.  He has so much time and 

money invested in it."

 

Prospective buyer, trying to sound sincere:

"You know, Ma'am, that you can't expect to make money

from this hobby.  It's time to let it go for what I offer."

 

Widow:  "I suppose you're right," she sighs, as she

ponders all the estate bills she'll have to deal with.

 

Then the buyer promptly flips it, trying to double his

money.  The widow made no money in 20 years;

the flipper wants to make plenty of money, all for

himself, immediately.

 

I'd rather pay a fair price to the widow.

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I agree with most of the other posters. It doesn't matter in the least what he paid or the fact that you know what he paid. This is probably what he does for a living & if it was me, it would make no different that you knew what I paid. A car is only worth what you want to pay for it.

 

  Your statement ...." I do realize that traveling to Auctions, hotels and meals, transportation both ways, storage, title work, etc has a cost associated with it and I certainly don't begrudge someone from making a profit and running a business"  Tells me you have common sense & understand already.

 

God Bless

Bill

https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/nationwide-single-car-transport-hauling-open-or-enclosed.614419/

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Keep in mind when a dealer buys a car at auction they have to fix it. Most cars sold at auction have problems. Some more serious than others. The car you saw sell at auction may not really be the same car that is for sale now. The condition can change dramatically. If you are in love with the auction result you should have been the high bidder.

Edited by Brass is Best (see edit history)
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John it seems to me that it should be a bargaining point.  As with any negotiation, the fine line is to get what you want at the optimum price, the bigger the margin between your best offer and lowest buy point, the more you win.

I might be straightforward in getting the fact you have done enough research to know the sales price paid.  He may respect you more for that.  Even if you feel or know he has done nothing more than wash and wax, ask what improvements have been made.  Make him say nothing out loud if that is the case.

What is my value add here, again make him spell it out.

Bear in mind, if this was a recent tramsaction, he may hit the market wanting a home run, and your real offer could get it done even if it is significantly lower.

Bottom line, if the two of you come to terms, congrats, the car doesn't know or care if it was flipped.  Private sales are great but dealers get most of their cars from private sales.  

Good luck, looking forward to tye eventual Classic addition!

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1 hour ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

I do like the idea, in general, of paying a long-time

owner rather than a flipper.  It seems fairer.

 

Otherwise, you get a scenario like this:

 

Sad widow to prospective buyer:  "This car was my

husband's pride and joy.  We took it on tours every

year for twenty years.  He has so much time and 

money invested in it."

 

Prospective buyer, trying to sound sincere:

"You know, Ma'am, that you can't expect to make money

from this hobby.  It's time to let it go for what I offer."

 

Widow:  "I suppose you're right," she sighs, as she

ponders all the estate bills she'll have to deal with.

 

Then the buyer promptly flips it, trying to double his

money.  The widow made no money in 20 years;

the flipper wants to make plenty of money, all for

himself, immediately.

 

I'd rather pay a fair price to the widow.

 

What was the enjoyment the widow and husband had with the car worth? Nobody ever bought an ice cream cone thinking about the resale value.

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I think dealers and auction houses represent options in addition to private sales.  The value add a dealer brings can vary tremendously, just as a private seller's care for their car, knowledge and honesty, even ability to reason can vary tremendously.  Passing on a car just because the dealer has it is possibly a mistake, especially less common cars, where the dealer may have a lot of time invested in finding and obtaining it.

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Hey, nobody tell this guy about the mark-up on carpet, furniture, and clothing!

 

Telling me you know what I paid for the car is in the top three ways to not get to buy the car. It's condescending and borderline offensive. It implies that you think you're smarter than I am when it comes to doing my job, that you think because you read Hemmings and watch Barrett-Jackson on TV that you're able to do what I do, that you don't think my time, experience, and knowledge are worth anything, and that you think it's OK to decide how much money I can make. Yeah, I'll probably talk to you for a while, but you will feel the chill through the phone and you probably aren't getting the car.

 

My usual answer when they say they saw it sell at auction for $XX,XXX is: Then why didn't you buy it when you had the chance? The guys who really succeed in this hobby are the ones who are ready to go when an opportunity presents itself, not those who complain afterwords that someone else took advantage of that opportunity and now they want a second chance.

 

Buying a car is only one part of what I do. We service the cars, we fix all kinds of things that most hobbyists ignore on their cars (2nd gear? Who needs 2nd gear? Just sell it as-is!), and if the car came from auction, it was surely a piece of junk that had a lot of needs. I guarantee that if I sold you the car I got from auction for what I paid at auction in exactly the condition it was in when I bought it, you would complain your head off and call me a thief. You think we can't smell that type when they call?
 

Any transaction works best when both people work together to their mutual benefit. Respect matters. When one guy decides that the only way he can win is if the other guy loses, well, I don't care to work with you. Deciding how much I'm allowed to make and that you're somehow qualified to determine what that number should be is a great way to get moved over to the loser pile. Sorry. How many of you would put up with a guy in your driveway telling you how much you are allowed to ask for your car? None, that's how many.

 

If the car is too expensive, don't buy it. If you negotiate in earnest and it's still too much, too bad. Insulting the seller and playing games isn't a viable negotiating tactic at any level. On the other hand, if it's a car you really want and there's only one guy with one for sale, well, there's your answer. Then you have to decide how badly you want the car. Some guys' egos just can't make that work even with their own self-interest in mind. They want to make the seller hurt more than they want to own the car. Happens all the time. They think they're punishing me by not buying the car when I don't agree with their value assessment or tactics. They're not. There are always others.

 

I've been doing this for more than 15 years now and have had several thousand cars pass through my hands. I will be sure to let you know when one of these "honest hobbyists" shows up and says, "I know the car is worth a lot less than I've got in it but I'd just like market price for it and I'm willing to leave a reasonable profit in it for you," instead of, "Well, I've got $60,000 invested in my Model A tudor sedan. I'd like to get all that back in my pocket plus another 20%."

 

I'm not even going to dip my foot in the widow situation, but if you think the mythical "honest hobbyist" is showing up and paying her a fair market price for it, guess again. It's always, "Well, you know Joe really wanted me to have his 1934 Packard and he told me that i could buy it for $3000 a few years ago, so..." About 30% of my business is dealing with next-of-kin and I view it as part of my job to protect the widows from these scumbag "honest hobbyists" whom we've come to call vultures.

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10 hours ago, John Bloom said:

I have bought and sold several cars through the years, and I am always searching.  Lately, I've had interest in a couple that were bought at Auction in the last 12 months and the sale price (including buyers premium) is publicly known.  Two cars in particular that I am interested in appear to have an asking price more than double what the seller paid for it.  From the write up and the prior Auction writeup, I don't think any mechanical or cosmetic work was put into the cars.  In essence they are "flipping" the car with no appreciable money put into them before relisting them.  I suppose one way of looking at any car for sale is "pay what you think it is worth" and ignore how much profit the seller might make.  I do realize that traveling to Auctions, hotels and meals, transportation both ways, storage, title work, etc has a cost associated with it and I certainly don't begrudge someone from making a profit and running a business.  

 

I am interested in how some of you have handled this.  Did you let the seller know that you know the history of the car and know what they paid at auction?  Did you not share that knowledge and just made an offer that you thought was fair but factored in the known purchase price the seller paid for it?  I suppose this question could be categorized as "the psychology of the negotiation when you know much money the seller has in the car".

 

How have some of you handled this scenario?

 

 

 

Just wondering what is it that you do for a living?

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I just reread my initial post, because I thought I made it very clear that I completely understand the overhead, need to make a profit and other components of being a car dealer.  Of course they must sell cars for more than they paid for them.  To be more specific in the two cars I have been looking at it isn't just the difference between what was paid for them and the asking price, but that they have been listed at that price for a long time.....without selling.  You never know what kind of interest the dealer may have had in the car, perhaps he has almost had it sold several times at close to that asking price.  Also, repairs to the car (both time and money in parts) have to be figured into the cost, but I always wonder after a car like that has been listed for a long time where they might feel a "fair to the buyer and fair to the seller might be".  If I was a dealer, I'd try and buy cars at a value and initially ask for a substantial profit.  If it didn't find a buyer after a while, I'd be more inclined to listen offers that didn't yield as much profit.  Many of us see the same car listed by a seller forever.....  As Matt mentioned, sometimes it may be a consignment and the owner has unrealistic expectations.  I just wonder in that example of a "stale" listing, what others have seen when engaging the seller.

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1 hour ago, Brass is Best said:

What was the enjoyment the widow and husband had with the car worth? Nobody ever bought an ice cream cone thinking about the resale value.

 

Well, the flipper certainly bought the car while

thinking of the resale value!  In that hypothetical

case, I'd rather see more go to the widow and

less to the flipper.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Matt hits the nail on the head. If you want it bid on it.  If a dealer is the under bidder, you can generally feel pretty good about the value of the deal.  

 

I will say that I don’t understand how dealers hold on to cars for years and years.  I have my eye on a car that has been for sale for 4-5 years, at least.  The purchase price the dealer paid in an index fund over that time period would have given him over the current ask, without any overhead.  
 

I think Matt is the exception to the rule in that most dealers are not fixing much.  But like anything in life, it depends on each unique circumstance.  
 


 

 

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If I am standing there with money in my pocket (not all tangled up in fish hooks) I will and have bought the under priced, fire sale, or poorly presented car. My Dad did that too.

 

Sometimes my "value add" is only the marketing and that will go totally unnoticed by the person who comes home from work and takes the Craigslist picture in the dark with a flash. Or the the owner of the cherished heirloom who does think it needs to be pulled out of the ground to sell it.

 

I am not a haggler. I might ask "Do you have any room on the price?" Not much more. I have given the seller his asking price and resold for 5 or even 10 times what I paid. I did things the seller "couldn't be bothered with" or saw as unnecessary. I go beyond the obvious, on my eternal search for the uninformed buyer:

diogenes.thumb.jpg.9f75b80ac21df1b5b350a62e27c6f2e8.jpg

Just like Diogenes.

 

I have rarely sold a car for a guy to drive to work and support his family. But selling him his 5th or 7th non-running collector car, well that's sport!

If they counter by telling me my purchase price I would most likely raise my price or tell them to buy the other one. I will raise the price if a person looks like a whiner or potential problem after the sale. And I have told some the car was sold just from hearing their voice on the phone.

 

Selling.jpg.8dd4c982798517c5315ba1326e8c02ac.jpg

 

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So Matt, a respectful conversation asking what improvements you made to an auction car with a published buy price would be problematic?  I am sort of getting your point in general terms, but I would think for dealers, like buyers each situation is unique.  That surprises me a bit but I also get your previous good points about sorting tire kickers, pen pals, etc.  Why we have been happy consigning moderately priced cars in the past..

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12 hours ago, John Bloom said:

I have bought and sold several cars through the years, and I am always searching.  Lately, I've had interest in a couple that were bought at Auction in the last 12 months and the sale price (including buyers premium) is publicly known.  Two cars in particular that I am interested in appear to have an asking price more than double what the seller paid for it.  From the write up and the prior Auction writeup, I don't think any mechanical or cosmetic work was put into the cars.  In essence they are "flipping" the car with no appreciable money put into them before relisting them.  I suppose one way of looking at any car for sale is "pay what you think it is worth" and ignore how much profit the seller might make.  I do realize that traveling to Auctions, hotels and meals, transportation both ways, storage, title work, etc has a cost associated with it and I certainly don't begrudge someone from making a profit and running a business.  

 

I am interested in how some of you have handled this.  Did you let the seller know that you know the history of the car and know what they paid at auction?  Did you not share that knowledge and just made an offer that you thought was fair but factored in the known purchase price the seller paid for it?  I suppose this question could be categorized as "the psychology of the negotiation when you know much money the seller has in the car".

 

How have some of you handled this scenario?

 

 

do you plan to keep the cars for a long duration, or are you buying to sell them eventually yourself. honest question since you stated you have bought & sold several cars through the years ?

 

and i always look at it like this, what is the vehicle worth to you ?? that is what you pay for it. same as for selling a vehicle you may want x but seller only wants to pay y, so you both come to common ground or usually a no go. 

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Not being a dealer have never bought a car to flip though some I've not had for long. First thing I do is to go through a car and see what needs fixing or replacing. That I usually do in the first month though sometimes it takes a year to get the way I like. Lately it has been mostly putting the car back they way it was originally though I do tend to replace rubber bushings with something a bit stiffer - something in Florida air eats rubber, the rollers in 8-track cartridges used to melt - and often go to better tires/batteries. Also add "hands free" to all cars.

 

That said I understand the dealer concerns and the difference between fixed, variable, and sunk costs. (Though have seen overhead applied to mask other problems). Just do not choose to pay for them & prefer to buy from individuals. Cash often makes a difference.

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30 minutes ago, BearsFan315 said:

do you plan to keep the cars for a long duration, or are you buying to sell them eventually yourself. honest question since you stated you have bought & sold several cars through the years ?

 

and i always look at it like this, what is the vehicle worth to you ?? that is what you pay for it. same as for selling a vehicle you may want x but seller only wants to pay y, so you both come to common ground or usually a no go. 

I have never flipped a car.   Some I’ve had for over ten years. None for less than four years. When I have sold (or traded), it was usually due to falling in love with something else, or storage space forced reality on me and something had to go. 
 

I can understand Matt being frustrated with a caller throwing the auction price at him in a call to ask about a car.

 

Depending on what has been done and how long it has been for sale, it gives me a little insight into what wiggle room may be available. 
 

 

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Knowing that a car was inherited or the wife does not like having to park in the driveway is also a factor.

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10 minutes ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

So Matt, a respectful conversation asking what improvements you made to an auction car with a published buy price would be problematic?  I am sort of getting your point in general terms, but I would think for dealers, like buyers each situation is unique.  That surprises me a bit but I also get your previous good points about sorting tire kickers, pen pals, etc.  Why we have been happy consigning moderately priced cars in the past..

 

Well that is still kind of asking me to justify my price. The problem isn't negotiating knowing the price, it's coming in and saying, "I know you paid $12,000 for that car and now you have it listed for $25,000." The unsaid part, of course, is more or less what you're saying here--asking me to somehow prove that I've invested a sufficient amount of effort and money to justify the new price. What if you paid $3000 for your Mercedes SL? You have it in your driveway for sale at $20,000 and some guy demands to know whether you've done $17,000 worth of work to justify your asking price. That isn't how it works--it's worth $20,000 regardless of what you paid to buy it or what you've spent on it since then. It is no more relevant than the $.074 it costs Levi's to pay children to make pants in Taiwan to justify their $50 price at the store.

 

It implies resentment. It implies that maybe the seller doesn't know what he's doing and the buyer is accusing him of doing something a little dishonest. It implies that the buyer thinks there's a "reasonable" profit and the seller is now obligated to accommodate him. It shows disrespect.

 

And by the way, very few people who try this technique do it in a "respectful" way. They use it as a knife to jab me thinking that I will be so ashamed that I will acquiesce to their demands, as if I was caught doing something illegal and now I need to pay them to keep it quiet by giving them the deal they want. How would you feel if we were talking at Hershey and I said, "You know, Steve, with all due respect, I know what you do for a living, I know what you earn, and I honestly think you're over-paid. What could you possibly do to make that much money, anyway?" There's no way that apparently honest, respectful question doesn't make you want to punch me in the mouth.

 

Sure, use the purchase price as as one of your data points when negotiating. Ask about the service but in a way that isn't also indexed to what I paid or what I'm asking. It's demanding justification for the price that is the problem. I don't mind talking about service and work we've done on the cars, and I'm always happy to negotiate. It's when there's an implication that I'm being dishonest or taking advantage or doing something unseemly that I start to step back, and suggesting that I'm making too much money certainly does that.

 

As I've always said, the price is the price and the buyer is the only one who gets to decide whether it was a deal. What I paid and the margins are irrelevant and to be honest, that kind of knowledge frequently gets in the way of a buyer getting a car he really wants. A great many people just can't get over the idea that someone might be making "too much" profit and forego the car they really want because they think the deal isn't good enough. How stupid is that? You don't NEED any old car. There's no way any of this hobby makes economic sense. If you want it, buy it. Who cares about the money? You'll get MOST of it back when you sell it, something almost no other hobby can do. Knowing what the current owner of a car paid is going to screw up your ability to see past anything but money, money, money. The deal becomes more important than the car, but the car was the whole reason you started down this path, is it not?


Just buy what you like because you'll enjoy it. It might be the only chance you have to buy it and if you lose money along the way, well, call that the cost of the fun you had as John S. up above suggests. Ask the guys who golf or go fishing or play music in their garages about "getting their money back" from their hobby pursuits. There is no free ride. Don't pretend that any of this makes any kind of economic sense and that you need to "be smart" about buying an ancient machine that needs constant money spent on maintenance, storage, and insurance. I understand a car being out of your budget, but if you can afford it, buy it. Worrying about how good the deal really is quickly becomes counter-productive. At that point, you're playing your own head games with yourself and it's self-defeating if the car is more important to you than the few extra bucks you can squeeze out of the seller.

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Matt it is tough to argue anything you note above.  John certainly has the option to keep that data point to himself, and can still ask the same questions.  I can see where it is delicate.

I also think the dealer that sorts a car is providing a big time service.  A lesson I have re learned a couple of times... 😯

 

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2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Well, the flipper certainly bought the car while

thinking of the resale value!  In that hypothetical

case, I'd rather see more go to the widow and

less to the flipper.

 

 

In my experience the widow always wants more than the flipper.

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2 hours ago, John Bloom said:

I just reread my initial post, because I thought I made it very clear that I completely understand the overhead, need to make a profit and other components of being a car dealer.  Of course they must sell cars for more than they paid for them.  To be more specific in the two cars I have been looking at it isn't just the difference between what was paid for them and the asking price, but that they have been listed at that price for a long time.....without selling.  You never know what kind of interest the dealer may have had in the car, perhaps he has almost had it sold several times at close to that asking price.  Also, repairs to the car (both time and money in parts) have to be figured into the cost, but I always wonder after a car like that has been listed for a long time where they might feel a "fair to the buyer and fair to the seller might be".  If I was a dealer, I'd try and buy cars at a value and initially ask for a substantial profit.  If it didn't find a buyer after a while, I'd be more inclined to listen offers that didn't yield as much profit.  Many of us see the same car listed by a seller forever.....  As Matt mentioned, sometimes it may be a consignment and the owner has unrealistic expectations.  I just wonder in that example of a "stale" listing, what others have seen when engaging the seller.

 

Cars are not a perishable item. They are antiques. There is no shelf life for a great car.

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It is hard for some people to see any value it what another person does. To the uninformed everything looks like it is done with a wave of the hand. Mechanics, car sales, doctors, lawyers, in some minds their work is simple and everything is overcharged. You'd almost think someone had told them the world was created in a week.

Anyone operating a legal business learns they brought on a partner the minute they applied for the DBA. And he is a demanding 30 percenter.

 

Admit it or not, there is a fully functioning class system operating and people, consciously or not, value the work of others based on the opinion they have of themselves. That will create a misconception of value in a minute (In both directions).

 

When I was in the 10th grade in High School old Tom Burns taught a business class. He had been around long enough to remember teaching my Dad. I still remember the day he taught us about tangible and intangible goods. That was a turning point in my life. I am sitting here right now and can't remember even selling a tangible item since that day. If the owner who consigned his car to the auction had an understanding of that the car may never have been in the auction to begin with.

 

Last week I was sorting through some possible Ebay items to sell. I told my wife about some signed two volume book sets I thought about selling. They had good value. A day or so ago she asked if I listed them. I told her no. Why should I sell my good stuff when I still have so much crap I could sell. And she said that was a rhetorical question. I just smiled.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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TRUE STORY: I just bought a great old car last month, I've been driving it to work now a few days a week and couldn't be any happier. You know the worst part? I had originally seen that car listed by another seller for less over the summer, dragged my feet (actually whined on these forums about the outrageous prices currently being paid for vehicles like it) and watched it sell before my very eyes. You know what else? Three months later I ended up paying a dealer their full asking price for the same car. You know what happened? They respected me for it and went totally above and beyond sorting the vehicle like it were their own, going past the the point of reasonable expectation. If i had to do it over again I would do it the same way.

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I don't want to put words in John's mouth but my guess is he is more interested in determining a good market value and optimizing his buy price.  I assume, maybe I am wrong, but I assume he is fine with whatever profit margin is, and understands value of any improvements.  The core question is, how does one have that conversation, right?

 

I would add we are likely talking about what he has been posting about, an affordable, closed Full Classic.  So not a Model J, but not a Model A or 65 Mustang v8, at car.  All three of those examples, certainly the two moderate price cars, may well be easier to understand value wise.

Sure, if you like buy it, etc.  But I bet to a person, we would prefer not making a $10k mistake if it is avoidable.  

 

Maybe the more relevant point is dealer's price is stale, so at what point do you say that's not the right price point?  That might be a better discussion, but it is really just old school negotiation, right?

 

I think at the end of the day best to have an upper limit in mind first, probe for info and make an offer from there.  Same as with a private seller.

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There are a few people in the business I would thrust. Just the "I don't mind talking about service and work we've done on the cars" is a big plus for me, I have no doubt that ANY collector car needs sorting, usually what some one else did that is rong. My "pocket change" Allante is like that. The coolant fan module was replace with a couple of relays and done badly & the radio (complex BOSE system - short out front speaker and the rear speakers come on). Is a connundrum: cosmetically too nice for a parts car but needs time with an O'scope and DVM.

"There's no way any of this hobby makes economic sense" truer words never spake is not for fun & enjoyment then why ?

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12 minutes ago, Steve_Mack_CT said:

I don't want to put words in John's mouth but my guess is he is more interested in determining a good market value and optimizing his buy price.  I assume, maybe I am wrong, but I assume he is fine with whatever profit margin is, and understands value of any improvements.  The core question is, how does one have that conversation, right?

 

I would add we are likely talking about what he has been posting about, an affordable, closed Full Classic.  So not a Model J, but not a Model A or 65 Mustang v8, at car.  All three of those examples, certainly the two moderate price cars, may well be easier to understand value wise.

Sure, if you like buy it, etc.  But I bet to a person, we would prefer not making a $10k mistake if it is avoidable.  

 

Maybe the more relevant point is dealer's price is stale, so at what point do you say that's not the right price point?  That might be a better discussion, but it is really just old school negotiation, right?

 

I think at the end of the day best to have an upper limit in mind first, probe for info and make an offer from there.  Same as with a private seller.

Steve, I don't mind you "putting words in my mouth" because I think you are capturing my thoughts and question well.   Good market value and optimizing my buy price (your words) are exactly what I'm talking about.  In particular in a car that has languished on the market for a long time with no sale.  I don't mind the seller making a profit at all.  I have never bought a car where there was tension at the transaction because one party felt beat up.  They have typically been a type of quiet (sometimes a little sad) celebration.   We reached a price both parties were happy about and I conveyed that I was very excited about being the new caretaker and they got to know me a little and felt good about the buyer of their family treasure.  Only once did I feel a little bad about a purchase of a car, that I was "stealing the car", but in fact I paid the full asking price in cash.  The guy needed to get out immediately.  

 

Steve you are also correct that I am looking for a closed classic as my first purchase in the classic era, but these two cars I'm interested in are not considered classics, just really cool early twenties American cars.  As you suggested, in the higher priced categories, to "miss" and make a mistake hurts a little more.  You'd like to avoid that if possible.  

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What the seller paid is irrelevant. The car is worth what it is worth to you, right now, today. It might be the seller got a terrific deal. It might be the seller had to do a lot of repairs that don't show to make the car roadworthy. Or it might be he is dreaming, and trying to sell the car for twice what it is worth. It is up to you to figure out what that car is worth to you today.

Knowing the seller wants twice what he paid at auction I probably would look elsewhere for a car. But sometimes there are no other comparable cars, and sometimes the car could still be a good deal, and sometimes you want something bad enough to over pay.

I doubt the seller expects to get full asking price. You should be able to negotiate a price somewhere between asking and what he paid. Especially if he has the car for a few months with no offers. You have to use your best judgement but don't be a dog in the manger just because someone besides you might make a buck.

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