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Common-sense precautions for a woman to take selling a high-end car privately?
January 5, 2011 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Common-sense precautions for a woman to take selling a high-end car privately?

I'm privately selling a high-end car (worth between $20k-$25k used), posting ads on Craigslist, enthusiast websites, eBay, and local classifieds. Being female-owned and -maintained is a plus for the car so I will be advertising that. I'm self-assured and street smart, and I think most people are good people, but I'm not naive and I realize this situation could put me in a pickle, either by putting me or, more likely, the car at risk.

My general plan is to meet prospective buyers at a peopled, public place like a coffee shop during daytime or early evening hours to let them take a look at the car and ask questions. (This previous question had some good tips.) My preference would be to not get into the car with strange men in the driver's seat, however I think it's reasonable to let them take the car for a test drive. What can I do to reduce the chances of someone taking off in it? Or in the unlikely event they have an accident? Or am I being overly cautious?
posted by Yoshimi Battles to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I've never sold a car before, but since you asked for common-sense precautions, I would let them test-drive the car by themselves, but ask for collateral before you hand them the keys. You could ask that they leave their car & keys with you while they test drive. Or if they don't have a car, you could just get a copy of their photo ID. In fact, you should probably do that in any case.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:30 AM on January 5, 2011


Being female-owned and -maintained is a plus for the car so I will be advertising that.

If the car was well-maintained, you should say so. If it was rarely driven, you should say so. I don't see how the car being owned by a woman is relevant in any way.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:36 AM on January 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


You don't mention where you live, but if you are near a Car Max I would recommend taking it there and seeing what they will buy it for. You have a week to think about it, and it will set a baseline price that you can easily get for it. And there is pretty much no risk. I sold my old high-end car there and got way more for it than I would have expected.
posted by procrastination at 8:41 AM on January 5, 2011


I agree with above. I wouldn't advertise that it was female owned and maintained, just that it was well maintained and you have the records to prove it. Otherwise, that's just opening yourself up to the kind of weirdo who might think this is a good way to take advantage of a woman. I don't get why it would be a plus to be owned by a woman, anyway.

When I sold my car a few years ago, I went along for the test drives usually. Daylight, in my neighborhood, with my roommate or a friend sitting at my apartment with a copy of their drivers license in hand. Most people who came to look brought a friend, probably thinking the same thing I was about their personal safety. I priced the car right and it only came up three times before I had a buyer. So it wasn't like I was test driving with ten people a day.
posted by supercapitalist at 8:45 AM on January 5, 2011


Tell them you will meet them for the test drive at the local police station.
posted by kindall at 8:46 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Being female-owned and -maintained is a plus for the car so I will be advertising that.


Huh? A well-maintained car, sure. But why would I care a whit whether a woman, man, black, or Jew owned it?

As for precautions: common sense practices like meeting in a public place, requiring a cash payment, etc.
posted by dfriedman at 9:00 AM on January 5, 2011


I would not let someone test-drive the car by themself under any circumstances, no matter what kind of car I were selling.
posted by Slinga at 9:12 AM on January 5, 2011


Female owned and maintained is not a value-add. Do not mention your gender, there is zero upside to disclosing this. Do not let some stranger drive off with your car under any circumstances.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:22 AM on January 5, 2011


I have seen "female ownership" listed as a plus. It's usually on listings for performance cars, so I wonder if the poster's car is perhaps a BMW..? The "female driven" bit is supposed to mean that the driver was sensible and didn't drive the car hard.
posted by Slothrop at 9:35 AM on January 5, 2011


I'm female. My dad rebuilds classic cars and I know how to do many engine repairs. I drive a high end vehicle. My car's interior is a horror show. My point: female owned is not a selling point. There are many women who do a horrible job at maintaining their vehicles. State that the car has full maintenance records.

As to precautions:
- Meet in a public place that has other people. That means you meet inside of Starbucks, instead of in the parking lot. You want people to see you with the person who picks up the vehicle.

- Strip all of your identifying information from the car. Make sure there is nothing with your address on it inside the vehicle. That means removing the registration and insurance cards for the test drive. (Yes, this would be problem if the person got stopped.)

- Make a copy of the person's license and hold their car keys. If you can't make a copy, then snap a photo with your camera phone.

- Let the person test drive alone. It's just a car which has insurance. Your safety is irreplaceable.
posted by 26.2 at 9:40 AM on January 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meet in a public place that has other people. That means you meet inside of Starbucks, instead of in the parking lot. You want people to see you with the person who picks up the vehicle.

A friend of mine was selling his car privately; he had prospective buyers meet him and the car in the car park of the local police station.

But why would I care a whit whether a woman, man, black, or Jew owned it?

I have heard that women drivers have on average lower insurance premiums. I have heard this is because women on average claim less than men. Car buyers might be under the impression women on average drive more responsibly then men.

Of course I've also heard that older men and married men have fewer accidents and lower insurance premiums, and one rarely sees car adverts reporting the age or marital status of the car's previous owners.
posted by Mike1024 at 12:06 PM on January 5, 2011


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