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How do we do it and who gets the money?
February 22, 2013 8:52 AM   Subscribe

A two part question about selling a sibling's car in Texas. Logistics of the owner/title holder being out of state and also a consensus of opinions on who gets how much money out of this deal.

Background: My boyfriend's brother moved to California (we are in Texas). Brother left all of his stuff in storage and left his car with Boyfriend to care for as it was unknown if this would be a temporary or permanent move. It is now a permanent move and he no longer needs his car (living in San Francisco).

Part One - Logistics: Brother has the title, can he just sign it (and the other forms) and send it to us and we can sell the car and give everything to the new owner or does brother have to be present for the sale? Or, do you know who I call to find out this information?

Part Two - Money Opinions: Boyfriend has been paying for garage space, car insurance, maintenance, gas, etc. for the past 8 months for this car. He has had use of the car but doesn't NEED the car so this was really a favor to Brother and just something cool for Boyfriend to drive every couple of weeks when he felt like it. So your opinions on who gets what out of the sale?

My opinion is definitely biased. I feel like Brother took advantage of EVERYONE (Parents, Boyfriend, Me - there is more to the story that you can have if you want it but probably isn't relevant) in this move and so he is pissing me off. I do NOT think Boyfriend deserves all of the money from sale or anything like that but I also feel like Brother doesn't deserve all of it either. But, if you guys say, "No, Brother gets all the money" then I'll shut up. Like I said, I'm totally biased.
posted by magnetsphere to Human Relations (11 answers total)
 
I should add: Assume no drama here. My recommending something to Boyfriend and Boyfriend asking for some cut from Brother isn't going to cause any family drama issues or anything. We are all adults and just want to do what is fair to everyone in this situation. While Brother would likely take any reasonable advice on this subject and just go along with it, he also isn't the type to volunteer any sort of cut or reimbursement for Boyfriend because he just doesn't think about things like that.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2013


If it were me, I would take all of the costs of storage and insurance out of what you get for the car and then send brother the difference. I have a brother with a tendency to pull stunts like this, BTDT.
posted by checkitnice at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2013


Boyfriend has been paying for garage space, car insurance, maintenance, gas, etc. for the past 8 months for this car. He has had use of the car but doesn't NEED the car so this was really a favor to Brother and just something cool for Boyfriend to drive every couple of weeks when he felt like it. So your opinions on who gets what out of the sale?

The brother. The boyfriend was given the car for his own use and was responsible for the costs associated with it. Possibly some of this was a favor to your brother, but he could have said no, and it's a bit unfair for the boyfriend to say, "Well, technically I didn't need a car, so the fact that I got to use it for only the costs of storage and maintenance doesn't 'count.'" You can't renegotiate the terms of the deal now.

yes, it wasn't a "good" deal for you and your boyfriend, but you were doing your brother a "favor," so...
posted by deanc at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, your BF's Brother can sign the title over to your BF, with a bill-of-Sale. Basically, he can say that this is for convenience, and that the proceeds of the true sale will be split up once it is realized. Now BF can sell the car without anyone having to pay sales tax until the sale is realized.

Were I your BF, I'd deduct the expenses BF has incurred on behalf of stuff in storage and for car, and send remainder to brother.

But this is for your BF to deal with, you can offer some advice, but don't get embroiled in any dramaz!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2013


It's the brother's car, why would you even think that your boyfriend should get a cut of it? If your BF wants to, he should tell brother, "Over the last8 months I've spent X on garage space" (the insurance was so BF could drive something cool, the gas was due to your BF driving, the maintenance is a bit more both of them, but ultimately the only big cost that the brother would have assumed himself was the storage)

If your boyfriend's brother is asking BF to sell it for him, BF should decide if that's a time commitment he's willing to assume, and separately decide if he wants to ask for either a) payment for selling it or b) money for the storage expenses. But he shouldn't "get a cut" unless the brother just offers that out of the blue.
posted by arnicae at 9:09 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


You can call the TX DMV but having a signed over title and a bill of sale to the new owner should be sufficient. However he can't sign the title over to you and have you sign it over to the new owner, in most cases, so I'd be careful and actually get authoritiative advice. He does not need to be present, as near as I can tell.

I'd give a different answer about the $$ if this were a $900 shitbox versus a two year old Mini. That said, I think this is something that should have gotten figured out before your boyfriend started paying insurance on someone else's car. Brother may have though that giving boyfriend use of the car was an equitable trade for paying for car stuff. Boyfriend may not have. And you say he didn't need it but it appears he was driving it, yes?

Negotiating this after the fact is a terrible quagmire. My general feeling is that unless there was a deal worked out, I'd try to work out an equitable deal [i.e. deduct parking fees and major maintenance, only deduct insurance if it was necessary, don't deduct gas] and pitch that option. Otherwise your options are

1. give brother the money which is the legal option absent another arrangement (I'm not a lawyer, that is my guess)
2. ditch the car and let brother sort it out if he's being awful (this is a nuclear option and I don't suggest it)

Otherwise I'd just chill, try to work out something that both sides feel is equitable and be happy the brother is now far away.
posted by jessamyn at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2013


Additional info since jessamyn mentioned it: Car will likely sell for 10-15k and yes, will require extra work and time on Boyfriend's part.

And Boyfriend was never really asked (or given an opportunity to say "no"), like all things associated with this move it was more just assumed that Boyfriend would handle the car stuff because Boyfriend likes cars. Brother isn't awesome/capable of seeing how his actions affect other people (which is where my annoyance at this whole move is anchored).

We are just trying to figure something that is equitable to both people and making any requests will not cause drama, we'll work it out fine in the end.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:23 AM on February 22, 2013


arnicae makes a good point-- if you want to recover some of the costs you had to assume with the car, one of the ways to negotiate this might be to offer to make all the arrangements to find a buyer for the car, negotiate the deal, and handle the paperwork of the sale for him in exchange for a cut of the sale (10%? 15%?). That way, the money you get to pay for all the expenses you had to pay is "actually" your boyfriend's commission for taking care of the sale.

But if you brother says, "wow. I don't want to lose that money. I'll pick up the car and handle the sale myself," then you're out of luck.
posted by deanc at 9:25 AM on February 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


like all things associated with this move it was more just assumed that Boyfriend would handle the car stuff because Boyfriend likes cars.

And he did.

Another important factor to consider here is what your boyfriend thinks is equitable. I know some families where this is just how it goes. Some people make less of an effort and everyone complains but they're basically okay with it. You and your boyfriend need to discuss what you think is equitable between the two of you also.

I'm assuming that you are both on the same page about this, but if this is your boyfriend saying "Eh I'll just handle it and give him the money, it's too much of a hassle to do anything else" and you saying "No, this is unfair and you need to get what you deserve" then my response would also be different and more along the lines of "Let your boyfriend do what he wants to do as far as interacting with his own family and lay down some guidelines, moving forward, about how these things are going to play out so you don't get in a similar situation in the future"
posted by jessamyn at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Car will likely sell for 10-15k and yes, will require extra work and time on Boyfriend's part.

FWIW, I'm kind of the craigslist car seller in the family. Actually, I'm the EVERYTHING seller in the family. I'm able to sell cars on craigslist fast, and for a very good price (usually at least 20% more than the family member had hoped to get). I do it because I like my family, and I'm good at doing it, but it does take some time. I haven't ever asked to be paid for my time. I've sold more than a half dozen cars that weren't mine on craigslist. However, though family members kind of presume I'll help with it, they thank me effusively afterwards, and I WANT to do it. It is fun to figure out the things that will boost a car's value that one can do with a minimum investment of time/energy (hint: taking tons of pictures, putting a gallery on your CL page, and having a very thorough, well-written description are the most valuable investments I make)

I point this out simply as anecdata that people do this in other families. Your BF likes cars. I like selling things. I wouldn't do it if it didn't entertain me, though, and if he doesn't want to sell it, he shouldn't.

I'm assuming that you are both on the same page about this, but if this is your boyfriend saying "Eh I'll just handle it and give him the money, it's too much of a hassle to do anything else" and you saying "No, this is unfair and you need to get what you deserve" then my response would also be different and more along the lines of "Let your boyfriend do what he wants to do as far as interacting with his own family and lay down some guidelines, moving forward, about how these things are going to play out so you don't get in a similar situation in the future"

I'm with Jessamyn on this - if he is pretty ok with this, let him do it. His family, his guidelines. And of course, this is a valuable opportunity to think about boundaries in the future so that next time this comes up, you're prepared (I do this too - family have volunteered me to their friends to sell cars, I say "Nope, good luck, here are some tips on how to sell your car on craigslist")
posted by arnicae at 10:09 AM on February 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It depends on how hardball Boyfriend wants to get with his brother.....

Easiest is, of course, asking Bro to sign over the title to BF, who can then sell the car as his. Personally, I'd deduct garage and insurance costs from the gross sales price before passing over the rest, minus a fee for time & work acting as the salesman. Do NOT include gas & car maintenance in the deduction from the gross amount: those daily running costs are the responsibility of the person actually using the vehicle --- i.e., BF not Bro.

Hardball..... hardball would be telling Bro that BF will stop paying for garage/insurance/etc. effective immediately (and stop using the car too, naturally), until and unless Bro agrees to a breakdown of ahead of time as to where the money goes: gross minus previous garage/insurance expenses covered, plus what percentage of the net goes to BF and to Bro. Again, the daily running costs are NOT deducted from the gross. The big problem with this plan, of course, is BF and Bro's parents, and not making additional family drama.
posted by easily confused at 5:19 PM on February 22, 2013


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