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


John Bloom
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I bought a grandmother car one time, a good friend and his grandmother going in a nursing home.  
 

Car was interesting, 1958 Chevrolet four door, but as we all know, two many doors. Bad grammar intended.

 

He called me, said we have to get rid of it.  I hemmed and hawed, then asked price, $300.  Uh, I’ll take it.

 

Went to get car, it was a true 18k mile car, plastic over perfect original interior.

 

Started it up, I swear, could hardly hear it run. Automatic, only bad feature was steering was non power and challenging at low speeds.

 

A very good friend, who may chime in here, bought it from me, and was thrilled at my reasonable price and quality of car.

 

A couple of years later, after he toured car all over country, he happened to overhear me tell story of car and what I’d paid.  He was off put, as they say, and expressed that he’d paid me a multiple over that for car.  Yes, but he actually still got a bargain for the use he got out of the car.

 

Point is, what a seller paid for car is meaningless.  Either it’s worth the asking price to you, or it’s not.

 

Knowing what a seller paid for a car should NEVER be a hammer in negotiations to buy.

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What someone paid for a car is irrelevant to me.  The car speaks for itself, and I put a value on it to me.  Either they sell it to me or they don’t.  I don’t negotiate.  I do the same thing when selling.  If a person doesn’t like my price, I don’t care.  I always tell people that my price is not negotiable, so they don’t waste their time on it expecting a bunch of dickering.  This has always worked for me.

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A good deal is when the seller and buyer are both happy. The numbers in or out really don’t matter. I took years to learn one very important lesson...........if the deal isn’t fun, run away and don’t look back. I was doing the biggest deal in my life, and the buyer said to me ten minutes before the closing......give me back 3400 bucks or the deal is off...........this was a number well into the seven figures.  He was certain I would give in......wrong, our contract has a clause that demands in the last 24 hours would give me the option to void the deal.........I walked away......."pissed off everyone“ .......lawyers, accounts, brokers...............it was the best thing I ever did.  I still have the property, and it’s worth twice what it was. I have learned I don’t do business with jerks or money grubbing SOB’s.............and never will

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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I usually buy very non mainstream cars / projects. So the " just walk away , there will be another one just around the corner " strategy does not really apply. With most of the cars I have bought in the last 2 decades or so I haven't seen another one for sale since . And certainly not one that I could afforded if I hadn't bought the one I did buy. But to me the price the seller paid ; if known , is of little importance. If I know for a fact that the seller paid a very below normal market price I will probably be a bit more encouraged to stick to a "hard bargaining " approach , but ultimately if it's something I am really interested in the sellers price paid is 99% irrelevant.

 

Greg

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I once was tempted to sell a desirable car.  It wasn’t advertised, a fellow had seen it in a communal storage and asked to talk to me about it.  He was casual about it, asked value and at the time said 40 to 50k”...he said I’ll give you 45k right now....as I was thinking about it, and frankly tempted at the time, he went on to say his son wanted to buy a license plate for it that said “NOTAKIT”....for some reason that didn’t sit well with me,  I said no and never regretted it...

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When shopping for a new car you can subscribe to services that will tell you just what the dealer paid, thus giving you an edge in your negotiation. Frankly, I've never been a tough enough negotiator to do that, but I think it's a smart practice. But, on a used car, be it a full classic or a 10 year old Kia? I think of some cars that family members traded in and I knew quite well that the dealer was about to make $3-4,000 with very little work, all because my wife/father/mother didn't want the hassle of selling the vehicle themselves. That's the price you pay. I'd like to think I got the best deal I could on the vehicles I've bought over the years (and I've never owned a new one) but I know none of them were crying when I wrote that check.

 

If I knew what the seller paid I probably wouldn't ever mention it, but I would very much have it in mind in my negotiations. I don't buy/sell cars for profit (I always lose!) but I have other things that I flip. I like the Sam Walton school of thought: buy low, sell low, and keep that merchandise moving. I'd rather make $10 today than sit on that whatsit for 6 months, or 2 years, or 10 years just so I can make $20. I respect that others operate on a very different model and, of course, if the market is hot enough the seller can just laugh off your low bid.

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"I usually buy very non mainstream cars" so do I. Have had one car that was single digit and many that were in the 100s.  Just decide exactly what I want and look until I find. Has been known to take years. Is third time I looked for Allantes and specifically looked for nice 89s with under 70k and hardtop.

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3 hours ago, 1912Staver said:

I usually buy very non mainstream cars / projects. So the " just walk away , there will be another one just around the corner " strategy does not really apply.

 

I know what you mean, Greg:  I tend to follow

that same route.  But unless you're EXCEPTIONALLY

specialized, there will be another unusual car for

sale if you're patient.  For example, if you really need

a 1933 Buick Series 90 club sedan, or a 1925 Willys coupe,

your choices are quite limited.  But wait a couple of years!

There may be an equally appealing 1932 Buick Series 90 coupe,

or a 1925 Willys roadster, or a 1920 Gardner, or a 1918 Pilot,

for your consideration.

 

As they say with girls, "There are many fish in the sea."

 

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A car is "worth" what a buyer will pay and a seller will accept.  I'll have a range I'm willing to pay for a given car and a good idea of its market value.  I do ask the seller if the price is firm.  If so, I either pay it or walk.  If not, I ask the rock bottom price and again, I either pay it or walk. Beyond that I don't play games or "do the dance."

 

If I'm selling a car, I try to price it fairly with maybe a little extra "wiggle room" as I figure some buyers do want to negotiate.  But cars are a hobby for me.  I'm not in it to make a profit.  I think I've done well if I break even on what I have in the car.  If not, well, that's the cost of the fun I've had with it.

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If you were unaware of what the seller paid would you care? 

I get both sides of this. If they mark it up 100% the next day and I knew that I would probably think I'm being ripped off. But if it was somebody I knew and trusted I'd probably think there's a reason for it. 

 

If the time was somewhat distant...gut feeling a month or so...I would have much less reservation. 

 

I don't know anyone else but a trusted dealer restocking their inventory doesn't bother me in the least, while a random person off the street I would likely find shady. 

 

I spend a great deal of time and effort in sports cards. I've been in that hobby since I was 4 years old and have never left. I've won awards for my websites about it. The manufacturer sets the retail price but because of a popular rookie in the NBA, scalpers are buying the boxes with an MSRP of $19.99 and they have been selling them on eBay for $200 or more. Actual collectors like myself (defined as someone who wants something for what it is, not how much they can get for it) have been shut out of getting them because in many instances they don't even make it to the store shelves. Most of these people brag about not even knowing who the players are, as if that's something to be proud of. That situation is unacceptable and I refuse to pay scalpers prices. I'll either get them eventually when they move on to something else or simply do without. However, that's a lot different than an old car. An old car varies, and while it did have an MSRP it's not really relevant anymore. I would knowingly pay a markup to someone who I feel would have made it better, or even actually cares about the car, not just about how much money they could get out of it. 

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It would be interesting to hear how any buyers with this information handled it. 

 

Along related lines, it struck me today, with private sales, info is often shared freely.  I suspect because they often go like this example roughly using the math on our SL.  If we were to sell today, we paid around $10k for it, have spent around $18k, and would ask maybe $20k.  Hmmm....

 

Maybe the dealer would want it for $14k, it would be my fault if I cannot be patient enough to sell it closer to my asking price.  Dealer cannot pay retail and make anything, we all know that.

 

So all of that may point, what was done to the car in the past?  A digression, maybe, but it amazes me how few cars that appear extensively restored have no records.  Again, I would point to seller laziness, if they want it gone bad enough to take a wholesale offer many are not even going to bother putting old receipts and notes in a binder.  So much for the private seller concerned about the car's future.  Or, the old nice paint and chrome over ancient running gear and grease thats been in those joints since 1958... 

 

Just putting more out there for John to consider! 🙂

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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Recently someone posted on this board a video of Jay Leno's unique 1934 Duesenberg coupe. Leno bought it from a guy who bought it from a garage mechanic in 1955 for $400. Leno paid him $500,000 for the car around 1995. What do you make of that?

Leno got what he wanted, good for him.

 

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Makes sense. At some time and place almost everything, particularly oddballs and "one of one" were just an old used car on the back of the lot. Post WWII Duesys were just another failed car company (were thousands) that you could not get parts for. Have had a number of oddballs bought cheap (at one time I could get all the Chevvy FIs I wanted for $50 and a Holley. Think I paid $75 for a 57 Pontiac FI with distributor and turkey roaster. New FI/TI distributor from the Delco store was $60.) Of course that was over 50 years ago and when you paid more to just take the parts you wanted than for the whole car.

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Does not matter whet the purchaser bought the car for - the car has a value and that is approximately what you will be paying if you want it.   Basically, if you wanted it for the discount price then you should have bid at it on auction too.    Auctions are often not true indicators of price - a lot of people do not like to deal with auction companies, often a pain in the ... process, people choose the wrong auction venues, people choose the wrong auction companies, car may be improperly prepared for sale/auction, car may not run across auction block for whatever reason, and .... - all hurts.  Keep in mind most cars have finite values. 

 

Now, if you feel the car is not worth the asking price as its condition does not justify price when compared to its peers - well, that is a whole other story and purchaser is free to justify why you think the car worth less and make an appropriate offer to reflect condition.  

 

Keep in mind the last person to give me a laundry list of why they did not like the car received a "perhaps you should move on as it does not sound to be the right car for you" (ie. if you hate everything about the car then why are we talking in the first place). 

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On 12/3/2020 at 10:52 PM, 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?

 

 

if dont like the price move on

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22 hours ago, 39BuickEight said:

I don’t negotiate.

I am always pleased to negotiate - I do it all day long day in and day out as a software purchase contracts attorney. And in some Countries it is near mandatory - a way of life.   Saturn as a manufacturer did very well with the no negotiation strategy, but they also are no longer manufactured. I hear Studebaker dealers also tended to not negotiate. 

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1 hour ago, John_Mereness said:

I am always pleased to negotiate - I do it all day long day in and day out as a software purchase contracts attorney. And in some Countries it is near mandatory - a way of life.   Saturn as a manufacturer did very well with the no negotiation strategy, but they also are no longer manufactured. I hear Studebaker dealers also tended to not negotiate. 

In my work, attorneys that don’t know me expect me to negotiate and always like my offer, until they realize that’s it.  I give a good figure right off the bat and I’m done. The ones that know me like it.  They know where I stand and it’s done.  My offers are informed, reasonable, and work for both parties.

 

Edited by 39BuickEight (see edit history)
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I just don't really understand the original question. If you want the car you are going to have to pay what the seller is willing to take or you aren't getting that particular car. Simple as that. The amount of money the seller is going to make shouldn't be an issue to you. If it is, you will probably never really be happy with that car.

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2 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

Does not matter whet the purchaser bought the car for - the car has a value and that is approximately what you will be paying if you want it.   Basically, if you wanted it for the discount price then you should have bid at it on auction too.    Auctions are often not true indicators of price - a lot of people do not like to deal with auction companies, often a pain in the ... process, people choose the wrong auction venues, people choose the wrong auction companies, car may be improperly prepared for sale/auction, car may not run across auction block for whatever reason, and .... - all hurts.  Keep in mind most cars have finite values. 

 

Now, if you feel the car is not worth the asking price as its condition does not justify price when compared to its peers - well, that is a whole other story and purchaser is free to justify why you think the car worth less and make an appropriate offer to reflect condition.  

 

Keep in mind the last person to give me a laundry list of why they did not like the car received a "perhaps you should move on as it does not sound to be the right car for you" (ie. if you hate everything about the car then why are we talking in the first place). 

I personally would never buy a car from an auction company. Heard too many bad thing like the owners buying cars for themselves only to run the prices up on a later deal.

Edited by Morgansdad (see edit history)
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2 minutes ago, Morgansdad said:

I personally would never buy a car from an auction company. Heard too many bad thing like the owners buying cars for themselves only to run the prices up on a later deal.

 

I'm always amazed at the low sale price on some cars at auction, ones that never belonged it that auction. The Hot Rod in a 90% Brass Era car auction of the flip side of it. Someone must study the catalogs before hand and know how to bid on the cars that were listed improperly. I'd like to hear those stories. Bob 

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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A few weeks ago a local auction company, the kind that clears out estates (furniture, bric-a-brac, etc.) had a live/online sale of tractors, farm equipment, and a "driver" '24 T Fordor. My wife might kill me, but I bid $5000. It sold for $5025. What's it really worth? All we really know here is that there were maybe 3 bidders and 2 of them, at least, were real cheapskates. 

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Just now, Bryan G said:

A few weeks ago a local auction company, the kind that clears out estates (furniture, bric-a-brac, etc.) had a live/online sale of tractors, farm equipment, and a "driver" '24 T Fordor. My wife might kill me, but I bid $5000. It sold for $5025. What's it really worth? All we really know here is that there were maybe 3 bidders and 2 of them, at least, were real cheapskates. 

 

 

How was the wood, did the doors close well? 

DSCF0389.JPG

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I think there's one reason to mention an earlier price for a car if it was low: The psychology literature on "anchoring effects" suggests it can have a powerful effect on subsequent negotiations with an unsophisticated seller.  The basic idea is that when a negotiation is happening, people are very influenced by the first number that is tossed around, even if it is understood that it is not directly relevant.  Mentioning a low number that a car once sold for might have a psychological anchoring effect on later negotiations, even if, in theory, it is irrelevant.  It's not likely to make a difference with an experienced repeat seller, but it might very well have an impact with someone who doesn't sell cars for a living.

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14 hours ago, 1935Packard said:

  Mentioning a low number that a car once sold for might have a psychological anchoring effect on later negotiations, even if, in theory, it is irrelevant.  It's not likely to make a difference with an experienced repeat seller, but it might very well have an impact with someone who doesn't sell cars for a living.

Are there head case like this in the gun hobby as well?

Edited by 1937hd45 (see edit history)
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At one time I had a rather large collection of antique motorcycles. The only place we would buy them were at auctions. We would look at the catalogues ahead of time, put a value of what we wanted to pay and stick to that.  Some bikes we didnt really even want but at the time were a good buy so we got them. We won a lot of bids but also lost a lot. Every bike we got went right into the shop for a total rebuild and sometime restoration before it even got home.  Auctions arent bad, one just needs to do their homework before they bid. The purchase price and future resale is totally irellevent.  I sold my 190SL about 20 years ago for $10k, I regret that but figure someone along the line got a really good deal!!!!

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I spend most of my days buying and selling cars. most late model but the one's I enjoy are the old ones. A lot of the time I just can't get to a good deal before someone else beats me to it. Do I hate seeing it relisted the next day for double the price? Sometimes it does, but most of the time it will languish for a long time and be reduced in price without selling. Then most interested parties think there must be something wrong with it that it hasn't sold.

 There were 2 Cadillac's sold this summer that I missed buying by hours that were then relisted for double plus within a day. Both are still sitting and have been reduced, but still not enough to sell.

 The one thing I have learned is don't get too excited by the deal you missed, concentrate on the one's you got! There's far more cars for sale than money to buy them.

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19 hours ago, 39BuickEight said:

In my work, attorneys that don’t know me expect me to negotiate and always like my offer, until they realize that’s it.  I give a good figure right off the bat and I’m done. The ones that know me like it.  They know where I stand and it’s done.  My offers are informed, reasonable, and work for both parties.

 

That is fine - bought tons of software via people who approached me with fair right off the bat.   That said though, there are plenty of people that expect to negotiate - my opinion there is give them what they want. 

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4 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

Nobody brought up the original owner purchase, Joe X buys a 1961 whatever and lists it at 2020 collector value, how do the deep pocket short arm hobbyists "reach out" to him?

 

Bob  

In 1987, when I sold the 1972 Oldsmobile 442 Indianapolis Pace Car Convertible (unrestored after 137K miles and needing everything), I put it up through the local Oldsmobile Club for sale for the window sticker amount - it sold in a week.

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On 12/5/2020 at 2:19 PM, padgett said:

Makes sense. At some time and place almost everything, particularly oddballs and "one of one" were just an old used car on the back of the lot. Post WWII Duesys were just another failed car company (were thousands) that you could not get parts for. Have had a number of oddballs bought cheap (at one time I could get all the Chevvy FIs I wanted for $50 and a Holley. Think I paid $75 for a 57 Pontiac FI with distributor and turkey roaster. New FI/TI distributor from the Delco store was $60.) Of course that was over 50 years ago and when you paid more to just take the parts you wanted than for the whole car.

 

Not exactly.   The Model J Duesenberg always had cache and were desirable to people even right after the WWII.    1500 bucks for a used 20  year old car was a lot of money in 1949.

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5 minutes ago, padgett said:

I remember seeing an advt for a Duesey for $600. Think same mag had a 300SL for $6k which I thought was A Lot for a 3 liter car.

 

Maybe.  But there was always someone that would buy a Model J.   The car you saw was probably a beat to death ugly sedan.

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