Girl Ninja and I spent a lovely Saturday/Sunday exploring Seattle (we had a little “staycation” to celebrate GN’s upcoming 25th B-day this Wednesday). Upon our arrival back home on Sunday afternoon, Girl Ninja immediately started cleaning the house. It wasn’t all that dirty, but when she’s been away for more than 24 hours, she has this weird OCD thing where she just has to clean something. As she was going to town on our tiny little rental, she asked me if I would help clean the floors. So I did what any logical, loving, caring husband would do. I said “No, let’s go car shopping instead.”
The last thing I wanted to do after a nice relaxing weekend was get on my hands and knees and start scrubbing. We’ve talked about test driving cars for a long time, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity to get myself out of some cleaning. Off we went to the Honda certified used car dealership.
We have pretty much narrowed down our next car to either a Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, or Acura MDX. My personal preference being the Pilot, and Girl Ninja’s top choice obviously being the luxuriously expensive MDX. We walked the lot with the salesman, told him some of the things we were looking for (optional third row) and he showed us the five or six different vehicles they had in stock.
I wasn’t a fan of the MDX because I’m not stoked about the mileage to price ratio. Girl Ninja was not a fan of the Pilot as it felt a little boxy and too big. With neither of us to fond of each other’s top choices, we turned to the Highlander.
They had a 2005 Highlander Limited with 81,000 miles listed for $19,976 (which after a quick blue book check on my phone showed it was already about $1,500 over blue book for a certified pre-owned vehicle). We took it for a test drive and really liked it. It’s big enough that it will provide ample space for the baby mill we plan to operate one day (still can’t believe GN wants four kids), but not soooo large it feels like you are driving a monster truck.
After the drive, the salesman asked how we would be paying for our next car and we told him we would be using cash from the sale of one of our cars, couple with personal savings to cover the difference. He recommended, for obvious reasons, that we consider trading in Girl Ninja’s car instead. Although I have NO desire to trade in her car, I did want to see what their trade in offer would be on her car and mine.
I learned two things yesterday;
- Getting in an accident sucks. I got in a fender bender (my fault) in 2007 in my ’07 Scion tC and it shows up on the carfax. As a result, the dealership only offered a trade in value of $6,000 on my car. Blue Book shows private party retail for my year and mileage at $13,000. Had my car not been in an accident he said my trade in value would have been around $10,500. Accidents suck the value out of a perfectly functioning car.
- Trade in values in general are low, low, low balls. After running the numbers and inspecting GN’s car thoroughly they came back with an offer of $5,000. I laughed and told him we could easily sell it for $7,000 on Craigslist. He laughed and said, I couldn’t.
After about 20 minutes of his Jedi mind tricks, even bringing his manager in to “sweeten the pot”, they finally realized we were standing our ground and we wouldn’t be buying that Highlander. We walked away feeling like David must have after conquering Goliath.
So last night, I got home and posted both of our cars on Craigslist. I posted mine for $12,000 and Girl Ninja’s for $8,200. Of course, my car hasn’t gotten a single bite because of the accident, but Girl Ninja’s did. We are showing the car later today (assuming the person doesn’t flake as many CLers do). We talked on the phone for quite a bit about it and the dude seems reasonable. I told him I’m selling to the first person that gives me cash and he seemed a little panicked by that. He told me he would bring money for a deposit on the car tomorrow, and if everything checks out according to how I described it, he will bring the rest of the money on Tuesday to pick up the vehicle.
Did we really just sell Girl Ninja’s car that fast? I feel good about the $8,200 list price and wont sell for a penny less. Her car does have typical wear and tear (minor dings and scrapes), her headlights are a little foggy, and the most significant issue is the rear window on the driver’s side no longer works (motor died) so it’s not like her car is in tip-top shape. Not to mention, an $8,200 sale nets us $3,200 more than the dealership’s offer.
The only downside to selling Girl Ninja’s car is that we would immediately become a one car family. I have a work car so this doesn’t impact our professional lives, but man would it sure be annoying for personal reasons. We’d obviously be motivated to replace her car quick, but not so quick we buy something we don’t like or is stupid expensive. No, like a good Ninja, I will wait patiently for a reasonable deal.
Crazy that a simple request from Girl Ninja to mop the floors, turned in to selling her car. I’ll keep ya updated if we are carless by the end of the night.
You ever bought a car on Craigslist (I’ve only sold on CL, but not bought)? Are certified pre-owned vehicles worth the dealer mark up compared to private party sales? Why do so many people “trade in” their vehicles when they could probably sell them on CL for a few thousand more?
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I ended up mopping the floors later that night.
p.s. my friends over at USAA sent over a few tips after reading this. Thought they were good enough to share with y’all. Check ’em out if you want…