Selling a Boxster

 

Make it a car someone wants.

 

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. You wouldn’t pay top dollar if the car looks like one that is uncared for.. and neither are they.

Get it detailed or do a complete clean, wash, polish, shampoo, etc job before you start to sell it and then keep it in show-able shape until it sells.  Make it look like the car they want, a no hassle buy.

Get the dents fixed and the chips touched up professionally. Put decent tires on it if it needs them.

You are competing with cars that a dealer preps and this is what they do.

You can compete with other sellers on quality, price or a combination.  Fail to clean up the car and you are left only competing on price and you know the result of that will be the lowest possible offer and, perhaps, the longest wait to sell the car.

I walked away from the second car I bought because it was such a mess (winter and it was salt covered and full of trash inside), even though there was absolutely nothing really wrong with the car.  Then I came back to it, made them clean it up so I could see it and ended up paying much less than it was worth. The seller didn’t market it professionally.

Know where to advertise.

You want to appeal to the hard core Porsche-knowledgeable buyer as well as to the potential first-time-for-a-Porsche buyer.  So you want to advertise via the local Porsche Club of America (PCA) chapter’s web site and on enthusiast sites (see my list of online forums).  Don’t ignore free classifieds. www.craigslist.com appeals to a different audience than the local newspaper.  The local newspaper. eBay is available but expensive (I saw a quote of $80+ for a full featured ad.) as are other commercial sources like cars.com autotrader.com etc so you may want to be selective and rotate your advertising.  Selling into an already crowded market is tough and you see good cars sitting for months on professionally run car lots so why should your efforts be different.

I found my first via the local newspaper, the second via craigslist. I sold 2 cars in the summer of 2011 each within 6 hours of posting on craigslist and had buyers calling from an hour away to buy. The ads were no more than 4 lines, no pictures but the cars were honestly described and priced right. So try craigslist first. 

Advertise right

Adjectives like “attractive” and “sporty” don’t sell. Facts sell.  So make your ad feature the options the car has, its condition, mileage, etc.

Be prepared to send email pictures of the car.  Be prepared with a detailed options list from the window sticker or the build sticker (see my article on Buying a Boxster).  Be prepared to answer questions about the car’s maintenance history.

Know what the car sold for originally and put that in the ad, it helps to make the high resale price more palatable when you see how much the car originally sold for.

Know the market.

Understand that the prices you see in the newspaper or on-line are asking prices.  But, as I suggest to buyers, look to eBay at cars that sold and see what they actually sold for. 

And know the economic climate.  When times are tough and you are competing with people who have lost their jobs and are desperate to get cash for their car, you aren't going to get top dollar for yours.  You may be competing against hundreds who are advertising in the same media.  And some will be desperate and offering to sell at a very low price, some will still be expecting last years higher value, and some will be somewhere in the middle.  Decide where you want to be and where your car really belongs.

Price it right

You want to advertise a price that attracts potential buyers, so you don’t want it too high.  But you know the buyer will want a lower then advertised price because he wants to feel he got a “deal”.  The Boxster isn’t a collector car.  It doesn’t appreciate, it only depreciates every year and mile it ages.  I know yours is special but the buyer has their choice of dozens equally special.  The car will sell at a price, it is up to you how hard you’ll work, how long you’ll wait and how much you’ll discount to find that right price.  I bought my first in an hour, the second after 3 visits/drives spread over more than a month.  Both times I negotiated a 20% or better discount over the initial asking price.

I’m often amazed that Boxster owners are advertising their cars at what I think at 20-30% higher than the normal market for similar cars.  I most often see this in Porsche publications. Economists have a term for this, the “endowment effect”.  It is when the owner of something assigns a value to the thing being sold partially based on the fact that they own it and thus, because their judgment and taste is perfect, think it must have acquired extra value.

With the availability of comparative pricing to anyone with a link to the Internet, posting too high a price is just a waste of time and effort unless your ad can justify the excess cost on the basis of fact.  And no, options or mods don’t recover their value…at most they can add 20% of their cost to the price of a used car.  So if your car has an extended warranty or CPO status or a new engine, feature that.  But for the normal car, you better price it like a normal car to move it.

Even consider removing the mods and selling them separately.

When you come to pricing it, think from the perspective of the buyer.  What would you pay for it?  Maybe that is the best guide.  I've discussed how I value a car from the perspective of the buyer in the "Buying" article I've written.  Do the same research the buyer could and have printouts available.  Really think out how you justify the price you are really asking on the basis of these comparisons.  And don't trust just one source.  The pricing sources vary amazingly.  I just looked at what Kelly Blue Book says my car is worth and I figure the price listed is off by at least 40%.  So if I priced it by that one source, I'd probably never even get someone to look at it.

Know how you are going to handle any liens

The most attractive to the buyer car will have a clean title that can be signed over when the payment is made. It may cost you a sale or top dollar if you can’t deliver the title immediately.  Who wants to buy a car and then wait weeks for the paperwork to get processed, I want to drive my new car NOW.  So, if you can, get the lien paid and the release papers before you sell. It will be worth your while.

But not all private sellers have lien free cars, many are financed.  Since you are competing with the dealers who have cleared the liens and who can deliver title immediately, at least you have to have a plan for how you can do the deal in a way that is fair both to the buyer and the seller.  See the page on Buying a Boxster for a section on buying a car with a lien for how I handled the whole process.  I was willing to wait, but that cost the seller probably a thousand dollars!

How are you going to handle the request to do a Pre-Purchase Inspection

The way my independent mechanic suggested it be done was the purchase price is agreed on in advance subject to any significant findings by the inspection.  The PPI is only done to confirm that there are no hidden surprises. The owner/seller delivers the car to the mechanic.  The potential buyer pays the mechanic in advance the agreed upon price (mine was $240).  The mechanic does the inspection, then shares the written results with both the potential buyer and the seller.  Even if this potential buyer doesn’t buy, the seller profits because he has an independent inspection he can show the next potential buyer so it is worth the time to the seller to deliver the car to the PPI shop and pick it up.

Know the details of any Extended Warranty.

What does it cover, what does it cost to transfer it, how is it transferred.  These all are questions the prospective buyer will  want to have you answer. So have the warranty paperwork all ready for them to consider.  I’d consider the third party extended warranty to be worth a bit more than $500 a year but not the $1k plus some have paid or are asking.  (Even though it may have cost 3 times that when you purchased the warranty, the buyer may not value it the same way.)  If you have one, see if there is a refund to you possible as a way of reducing the price of the car for a buyer who doesn’t want the warranty.

Transport License Plates?

How will the buyer get the car home?  Driving on your tags is legally dangerous.  And you aren’t a dealer who can supply the buyer with transport tags.  Find out about how your state handles tags for in state and out of state buyers who want to transport their just-bought car.  If you don’t supply the tags, at least you can be a source of how it is done to help the potential buyer remove a potential obstacle to the sale.

Delivery for someone who doesn’t live close?

Are you willing to drive the car somewhere to make the buyer’s possession easier?  Do you have information on who the person might contact to have it shipped?  Your dealer-competition has these services, do you plan to help that buyer to make the deal?  I suggest just helping with references, make the buyer the one to pick the shipper and negotiate the terms.

Some resources are: www.intercitylines.com, www.thomascsundayinc.com, www.horselesscarriage.com, www.almondexotictransports.com, www.vandamtrucking.com, www.exoticcartransport.com , www.autoshipping.com (will get 5 quotes), www.dasautoshippers.com, www.auto-transport-reviews.com for reviews of other shippers experiences.

Urge the shipper to take pictures, note any prior damage (including stone chips and scratches) and get insurance during the move.  Even for an enclosed tailor move.

I want to see it

The buyer should want to see the car and, depending on his knowledge of Porsches in general and Boxsters in particular, should spend some time looking at its condition, features, etc.  It helps if you have the original window sticker or at least a list of the options installed on the car, the aftermarket improvements on the car and the car's original list price. 

Test Drive

Get a copy of the person's drivers license and current car registration just like the dealers do.  Make a copy on your scanner.  Depending on how comfortable you feel, let someone know where you are going, who with and when they should expect you back. Take a cell phone with you. Then hop in and drive the car for a while on a 15 minute circuit you have pre-planned explaining the features and how the car is driven.  Gauge the person's interest and capability to drive the car (especially if it is a stick, few kids these days have ever driven a stick). Then let them begin driving in the safest area of road so that you can gauge their skill.  Once you feel comfortable with them driving, if they have someone else with them let them drive it alone but put a time limit on their drive.  If at any time you don't feel comfortable with their ability to drive the car safely and not to damage the car by the way they are driving it, ask them politely to stop the car and hand you the keys. It is still your car and your liability. And you don't want them to damage the car. 


And surprise

I'm 68 and decided it was past time for me to have a sports car, my SUV wanted the garage spot in winter, etc.  So I decided to place a 3 line ad on craigslist to see if there was any interest.  Car needed nothing.  Honest description, honest price, not even any pictures (how many do you need of a silver Boxster?).  I didn't anticipate much interest as I'm 50 miles from a major city.  And economic times were tough. But it was the beginning of the summer.  Was I surprised. I had multiple people begging to see it, drive it, buy it.  First person to see it bought it and never drove it before he paid cash!





 

Corrections, suggestions, etc are invited to mike dot focke@ g mail dot com

I will maintain this and repost it occasionally in response to requests for how to buy info.