Just wondered what was expected if selling a car privately. Normally I would take the first person who stands in front of the car and we agree a price. So my wife suggested I try the market with my TR4 rather than a paint job in the autumn. Anyway I’ve obviously priced it (too) well. I have had several calls. First guy arranges a viewing a week on Sat, but afterwards I also have arranged viewings for the end of this week. First guy contacts me re payment methods and I say well, there are a couple of other people coming, I’ll let him know if it doesn’t sell. He didn’t take that well- saying we had a deal even though no price was even discussed. So have I lost something in translation or is there an etiquette I’m missing?
It can be difficult! I am often asked to sell cars for others who do not want the hassle for whatever reason.
My chosen method follows the way that I would like to be dealt with.
The first person to contact gets to set the precedent. If he calls on a Tuesday & expresses a strong interest but cannot visit until the weekend should be given the opportunity to view & decide. If you need to sell in a hurry you can say that you do not want to hold the car that long & would let him know if you sell in the meantime but if you agree to hold it then you will have to tell the next caller that you will let him know if the first buyer does not buy.
Last year I spotted an absolute bargain but it was 2 hours away. I was the first caller & told the seller that, based on his description, I would be very interested & would buy if the description was accurate. I could not get there until the weekend & would he be prepared to hold it until then? He agreed to do so.
On the Saturday I arranged a lift & arrived at the agreed time. The car was exactly as described & we completed the paperwork over a cup of tea.
The seller informed me that he had at least another 25 callers after mine, many offering to be there within 20 minutes or so with cash if the sale could be agreed over the phone. The seller was a gent & said that he would get back to them if the first caller decided not to buy.
This contrasts with those buyers who insist that they will come “tomorrow” with the cash as the advertised car is perfect for them which makes me postpone any other buyers but who never turn up or ring to cancel the appointment.
Whatever you do, treat all buyers fairly & if you promise to wait for a potential buyer to look before selling to someone else, stick to it.
Finally, try not to refer to a respondant who looks & decides NOT to buy as a time-waster, his expectations may have been greater than the reality & that is why most people need to view. Although it can be annoying!
Hi Mark, thanks for your comments. I have now had some viewings and telephone offers and sold the car. All the potential buyers were aware that if some one else made an offer then I would get back to them to give them an option. I think there was a misunderstanding with the first guy in that he seemed to think he had reserved the car even though he hadn’t seen it or talked about a price. I thought he had arranged a viewing. So when I let him know some other people were coming to see it, I had gone back on “the deal”. I did apologise for my misunderstanding of it but I’m afraid he metaphorically stomped of in a huff complaining about englishmen no longer being gentlemen! I think something was lost in (my) translation originally… All other viewers callers were perfectly friendly and polite as is often the case in the classic car world. All were genuine car enthusiasts except for one scammer.