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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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On 12/3/2020 at 7:52 PM, 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. 
 

 I certainly don't begrudge someone from making a profit and running a business.  

 

How have some of you handled this scenario?

 

 

 
If you want to buy a car anyone has for sale - buy it.

 

How much they paid for it - how much profit they are making on it - none of that is any of your business.

 

Jim

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As has been mentioned several times here: It doesn't matter what the seller paid for it.

 

The one instance where I have a problem with it is when one interested party wanted to buy a car that was offered as a really good bargain. He wasn't a flipper, wanted the car and intended to restore it. Instead, the seller sold it to his friend at the really good bargain because it was going to a friend, and wanted it to go to a good home. A short time later, the car was up for sale at three times the purchase price. Again, it doesn't really matter what the seller paid, but in this case I think it was a nasty deal.

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4 hours ago, 1937hd45 said:

...Like the car, want the car? BUY IT! NOBODY wants to listen to an assumed grown person whine about being cheap! 

 

A seller might think, "Buy my car!  It doesn't matter

what I paid for it!"

 

But a person careful of his money may be being prudent.

One man I know, who had a mid-8-figure annual salary,

has been thrifty all his life.  When I told him of a car for sale,

one that I thought would go well in his collection, his

very first question was, "What's he asking for it?"

Please don't figure people are whining or being cheap.

 

No one ever got rich by going shopping.

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I have sold cars for less than the typical perceived value would be and explained what issues reduced the price. A few times buyers have tripped over themselves grabbing that bargain. Then they wanted their money back because it wasn't the steal they thought. Depending on my mood I have taken the car back. Three times on one car, the third guy didn't find me in a good mood.

 

Younger people don't tend to do that. But the old ones, whom aren't even going to have their money too much longer are the worst.

 

I had a 1994 Caprice a while back when they were inner-city popular. The brake lines were rotted. I told the buyers they had to be able to do it themselves. A shop would want $1600 to $1800 to do it Heads bobbed and they handed over the money while squeezing their legs together. A couple days later I get a whining call. They took it to a shop and the shop wanted $1600 to $1800 to do it. Duh.

 

Talk about horse traders and horse thieves. I'll sell all my stuff to people under 30. Maybe under 50.

 

Bernie

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On 12/7/2020 at 4:56 PM, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

A seller might think, "Buy my car!  It doesn't matter

what I paid for it!"

 

But a person careful of his money may be being prudent.

One man I know, who had a mid-8-figure annual salary,

has been thrifty all his life.  When I told him of a car for sale,

one that I thought would go well in his collection, his

very first question was, "What's he asking for it?"

Please don't figure people are whining or being cheap.

 

No one ever got rich by going shopping.

 

Bad analogy, John. The question "What's he asking for it?" has nothing to do with the seller's purchase price.

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I have found that the person one would call prudent is the person who should be watched, even avoided. They will travel for dealer to dealer trying to catch a salesman making a mistake then hold him to it.

 

Also, if you check the prudent person's pockets you are likely to find an assortment of condiments from restaurants they have visited. Maybe even a number of ball point pens, more than you would expect.

 

Beware of the prudent man.

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Years ago Dad and I went to look at a Model A Vicky that was advertised in the local newspaper. As we got to the seller's house another fellow pulled up and followed us as we walked up the sidewalk. He said "You guys were here first so you get first chance at the car.  We're standing there talking price with the seller.  Seller said he wanted $1300 for the car. Fellow who followed us to the car said, in a voice loud enough for the seller to hear' "If these guys don't buy the car for $1300 I will".  Now Dad would not pay asking price for anything. He looked at the seller and said "I'll give you $1100". The seller accepted the offer, knowing full well the back up buyer would pay $1300.  The back up buyer just shook his head and walked away muttering to himself.

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I guess I just don’t understand the premise of this thread. Do you ask the seller of a house how much he paid for it and base your purchase offer on that? If so you are going to be homeless!  What the seller paid is a non-factor. What the seller is willing to sell it for is the critical point of any deal no matter what the product!  
An example is a house built in 1980 cost $300 grand and sold in 2000 for $785 grand. That same house then had another $300 grand put into it as a remodel and expansion. It sold for $700 grand in 2020. 
The $700 was what the market could demand. That was the critical determination point to get the place sold. A car works the same way as does any product it is simply supply & demand. 
dave s 

 

ps The house example is accurate. I built it and sold it in 2000. I did well because the timing along with the supply and demand was at the high point!  

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Even Zillow does not know all of the things I have added to my house and values it at 3.5X what I paid in '85. Being a couple of miles from Universal/International Drive/Restaurant Row helps. Of course I could not replace it for that.

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Like Rusty said, few of us would agree to pay a price well over the market value of a commonly-available car, just because the seller had overpaid for it himself. No, we would walk away unless the selling price was attractive to us.

 

Yet even so, I have witnessed people passing up a great deal, because they knew the seller, and knew what he had paid for a particular car, and weren't willing to let him make a "windfall." Yet in each case that I can think of, the buyer who passed on that great deal were kicking themselves later, after having time to think things over more logically, and less emotionally. (In one case, I had personally found a killer deal on a muscle car, when they were first becoming collectible, and a casual acquaintance of mine really, really wanted me to sell it to him. But he knew what I had paid, and could not bring himself to pay me a price which would have been a real bargain. He kept pleading, cajoling, debating, arguing, etc; to no avail. Soon I had sold the car at my asking price, to a very happy buyer. To this day the other guy regrets missing out on that  409 Chevy. LOL) 

 

Matt Harwood said it best on this thread, in my opinion. 

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1 hour ago, SC38DLS said:

I guess I just don’t understand the premise of this thread.

 

And it's three pages long. I have contributed a couple of different opinions and it can be construed in many ways. I started working in my grandfather's shop when I was 11 years old, learned about how people handle money at an early age, and have been entertained with their antics over it all my life. My grandfather rode the rails out the Chicago from the rocky fields of the New York North Country living in hobo camps as a young man. He was the first who told me about men with fish hooks in their pockets. And his rule was never to take a man's last dollar. It was too valuable (every one up to it was fair game).

 

I smile every time I read an entry to this topic. I always think of the old guy who croaks about "my hard earned money". I never had a nickle of hard earned money myself. Not even a paper route. That's what this is about, the dreadful fear that someone is going to have to spend one nickle more than the other guy. One less nickle to take with them.

 

The stories here are thousands of years old. I have heard that the story of Cain and Able is a metaphor of the relations between the hard working farmer and astute businessman. Aesop wrote a lot of economic stories about times when trickery was applauded as a means to transfer possessions. "I can get it for you wholesale" is the result of the ethnic mixing of country boys and city boys during WWII. No right or wrong, just entertaining with the right viewpoint. Thanks Grandpa Jerry.

 

Still spending like a sailor. Bernie

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Well, I think maybe a better title for this thread might be "how to negotiate a good deal with a seller." The point I was trying to make is that it works best when everyone is treated with respect. If both sides can consider the deal a win, it will be a better experience and will probably be better in the long run, too.

 

For example, if someone beats you up on price and really makes you miserable haggling and nit-picking the car and arguing over every point to squeeze every nickel out of you they can, are you really going to be eager to help them out when they call later and ask about how something works?

 

Or you find some old but probably valuable paperwork that should go with the car you just sold, but the guy left you with such a bad taste in your mouth that you just throw it away instead? There's a finite amount of good will in each transaction and if you use it all up getting "the deal" then what will you do later when you need more to enhance your ownership experience?

 

My point is, remember that there are two sides to every transaction and beating a guy up may save you a few bucks, but in the long run is that really why you're doing this hobby? A few dollars either way shouldn't be the difference between enjoying a car and sitting on the sidelines. Man, there are so many guys who walk away from a car they really want over like 3%. WHY?!? They just don't want to give me the win, I guess. The figure if they walk away, I'll chase after them (which I will not). Using new car dealership tactics to buy a collector car is always a mistake and paying as much as you are comfortable paying for a car you want isn't really a mistake. Nobody's stealing from you if you over-pay. You're just putting a higher value on your happiness.

 

And if you give the seller a win, well, who the hell cares? This isn't a measuring contest. You got what you wanted and you'll quickly forget about the money after you're enjoying the car.

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Well stated Matt, I've never been unhappy with what I sold a car for, same for car parts. I got EXACTLY what the car or part was worth to me AT THE TIME OF SALE. The funds paid a bill or funded a restoration. A set of NOS Ardun heads are worth over $20,000 TODAY, when I sold mine I got $2,500. and paid the plumber what I owed on the job he did on the house I built and still live in. No regrets!

 

Bob 

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18 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

What if it was the other way around? If you knew someone was selling a car for less than they had in it would you insist on paying more?

I guess I shouldn't spread this around, but I have paid more for a car then was asked, because I thought it was fair. It just became clear that the seller didn't know what it was worth. I have always hated cheating an old person, especially now that I am one.😒

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If you can’t stand allowing a dealer to make profit (extravagant or small) you have to be willing to bid on the car at auction or make offers quickly when the car becomes available.  
 

Almost every “good deal” that I see at an auction ends up at a dealer.    If you want the car it is always cheaper to out bid them at the auction.   
 

as an example a ccca classic sold in September 2019 for $25,000.   Dealer asking $70,000.  Still for sale 14 months later.  Just like an overpriced house, I won’t even approach a dealer in that situation. 

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A car I wanted to buy last summer (68 Fairlane GT fastback) but wasn't online until a few hours after it was listed and sold has just come back on the market from the flipper that bought it for double what he paid approx. I still want it and messaged him, but he has sold it already within a few hours of listing.

 Just not meant for me to own it I guess! No problem. There will be another one I want by the weekend.

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20 hours ago, padgett said:

Even Zillow does not know all of the things I have added to my house and values it at 3.5X what I paid in '85. Being a couple of miles from Universal/International Drive/Restaurant Row helps. Of course I could not replace it for that.

Location! Location! Location!

 

Something else to factor in. 

 

Did the seller who paid a much lower price for the vehicle than he is asking have to haul it from hundreds of miles away in another state, not before having to spend two days to extract it from a shed with piles of 'garbage' on it?  Sure, its convenient to a buyer as its 'right there' for purchase, but if the seller did all the work to get it where it is, his time and labor MUST be worth something!!

 

Craig

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Bottom Line:  If you want to play with old cars have deep pockets.  Funny there is so much discussion begrudging someone elses ownership and eventual sale of a product that none of us need. If we were talking a sack of flower, or a gallon of milk, then maybe.............

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11 minutes ago, TAKerry said:

Bottom Line:  If you want to play with old cars have deep pockets.  Funny there is so much discussion begrudging someone elses ownership and eventual sale of a product that none of us need. If we were talking a sack of flower, or a gallon of milk, then maybe.............

Tenth Commandment.  "Thou shalt not covet...……"

 

Craig

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56 minutes ago, TAKerry said:

 ... Funny there is so much discussion begrudging someone elses ownership and eventual sale of a product that none of us need. If we were talking a sack of flower, or a gallon of milk, then maybe.............

 

The majority of the comments are AGAINST the begrudging. Almost every response says (in so many words), "it doesn't matter how much the seller paid for it."

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I bought this two months ago at a local estate sale. Represented by a clueless home furnishings auctioneer as having a replacement engine and repainted the wrong color. Sitting for several years, filthy, did not run, sitting on three flat tires. PowerGlide automatic transmission. I bid early based on that information and won the car with that one bid. Spent $1000 hauling it home from Indiana. Spent another $5000-6000 fixing it up. Turns out to be a 100% matching-numbers car with factory A/C, power windows, woodgrained steering wheel, power steering, power brakes, and a really nice restoration that was mostly just dirty. I paid non-matching-numbers automatic project car money for it and ended up with this after some elbow grease:

 

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So tell me: am I now obligated to sell it for just what I've got in it or for what it's actually worth? If you knew what I paid, would you expect that I should sell it to you 40% under market?

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Matt, why do you think you should be paid for your knowledge of Corvettes, transportation costs, new parts, shop time, normal profit margin, and other expenses? Don't you abide by the "everyone gets a trophy" philosophy?

 

Go for it and ask market value for the car in the present condition after all the work you did.

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Matt if someone with attitude comes looking at that vett add 15% to your asking price and every time he complains add another $1000!  That is a rare nice looking car. I wish I was at that auction, you would have had to do multiple bids or not have the car. 
dave s 

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In the 1990's I was servicing collector cars at the rate of $45 per hour. A customer had a neglected '68 Cadillac with low miles that needed to be disposed of. He called me with a deal. He had set up a donation with a local charity and told me that if I donated $50 to them he would use his AAA towing and have it delivered to my place. I agreed and sent the donation.

At the time front fenders were hard to get. I figured they were worth $300 for the pair and they would sell quickly.

Upon arrival my mechanic fell in love with the project car. When I told him I intended to sell the fenders he became very agitated. I was paying him $15 per hour and agreed to exchange the car for labor hours equal to the sale of the fenders. That gave me 20 hours of labor at my rate which sold quickly.

The previous owner was happy, as was the charity, John, my guy, was thrilled, and he did very good work for happy customers. I think I gave my wife money for my daughter's new glasses out of that deal, wife and daughter were happy.

 

So many happy people from deals like that. It happens constantly, as long as there is incentive. I don't service other people's cars anymore. And I don't go out and buy old stashes of parts like I used to. I am physically and financially capable but some regulations and some buyer expectations have taken the incentive out of it. How many opportunities for people to be happy have been lost?

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9 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

So tell me: am I now obligated to sell it for just what I've got in it or for what it's actually worth? If you knew what I paid, would you expect that I should sell it to you 40% under market?

Refer to my earlier post about the costs of bringing it home, and the labor of making it presentable.  

 

Therefore, my answer is yes, you are entitled for selling what its actually worth (or more if you can get it).  After all, you want to cover the costs of your time and effort.  And "time is money", as mechanics shops and body shops charge by the hour.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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22 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

Refer to my earlier post about the costs of bringing it home, and the labor of making it presentable.  

 

Therefore, my answer is yes, you are entitled to covering your time and effort.  And "time is money", as mechanics shops and body shops charge by the hour.

 

Craig

 

I'm not sure I understand. For argument's sake, let's say I bought that Corvette for $20,000. I paid $1000 for shipping and $6000 to service it, new tires, full detail, fresh fluids, clean the gas tank, rebuild the carburetor, new fuel pump, new radiator, etc. So figure I'm into it for $27,000. It seems like you're saying that I should sell it for $27,000 to cover my costs, even though the market says it's worth $50,000. Am I understanding this correctly?

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21 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

 

I'm not sure I understand. For argument's sake, let's say I bought that Corvette for $20,000. I paid $1000 for shipping and $6000 to service it, new tires, full detail, fresh fluids, clean the gas tank, rebuild the carburetor, new fuel pump, new radiator, etc. So figure I'm into it for $27,000. It seems like you're saying that I should sell it for $27,000 to cover my costs, even though the market says it's worth $50,000. Am I understanding this correctly?

Where do you come up with that in my comment?   

 

It should not be a criminal offence to offset your losses with a higher-margin unit.  I don't believe you made a profit on this one; especially if you factor in your labor:  

Am I wrong?

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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This thread reminds me of a story I heard about the Harrah collection when it was the biggest and best in the world. Cars were displayed with a sign that gave make, model, year and other details including the price when new. One day an old timer looked over a 1914 Stutz Bearcat very carefully, pointed to the sign that said "$2400" and said "That's a lot of money for a car that old. What will you take for her - cash?"

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I hate car flippers. I call them vultures. They're only into this hobby for the $$$$.... If some idiot buys a car at auction for more than twice what the seller paid then I don't have any sympathy if they realize they'd gotten ripped off....

 

The same goes with real estate. I'm shopping for a house and there are people who have the guts to buy a house and list it for sale a few months later, for three times what they paid (with no work done to the house). I wouldn't buy from that person, but eventually some idiot will. If that idiot feels that he got a good deal then that's great. 

Edited by 89tc (see edit history)
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