Friday, February 3, 2012

Craigslist: A Success Story


The time had come for us to sell our 2003 Ford Taurus. Let's say it had seen its better days--no Air Conditioning ("in Arizona!!" I hear you gasping in agony), one rear window would no longer do its job and the side of the car had gotten a little too friendly with our van on more than one occasion. Not to mention that Derek had been rear-ended a couple of months ago. AND, did I mention it's a restored salvage title? Don't get me wrong, it still got Derek from home to work and back again each day, but that funny noise one of the belts made wouldn't stop and the 20 miles to the gallon in gas was a bit mean to our pocketbook.
Being the champion craigslister that I am (I just made that term up), the duty fell to me to investigate Kelley Blue Book and see how much moola we could expect to see from selling off the car. Blue Book said that for the year of the car, with the mileage it had and IF the car was in "fair condition," I could reasonably expect to earn $1,575 in a private sale. Well, as you can imagine, our Taurus didn't quality for the "fair" title, so Derek and I talked it over and decided we'd be lucky to get $1,000 for our troubles. Tuesday night I posted the photos on craig's list and the price I wanted and didn't think anything of it.
10 minutes later I received a frantic text asking if I still had the car. I giggled with Derek (Okay I giggled, Derek chuckled 'cause he's a man) and we laughed about the person's urgency. I texted back that we did indeed have the car "still." While I was sending the text, the cell phone rang with a person asking the same question. In fact for the next twenty five minutes, I couldn't really talk on the phone because it was ringing so frequently with calls and texts that I couldn't understand the person on the other end of the line. Finally, I put the phone down--literally 25 calls/texts within that time period--and told Derek, "We have to relist the car. We're not asking enough." I had at least three people offer to come over "right now!!! I have the cash!!!" and it was 11 o'clock at night! People started offering $1,100 and then $1,200.
So, I pulled the listing and relisted for $1,700 just because...well, why the heck not? I thought this would cull our buying pool and help me get some sleep. When I woke up, I had 10 texts waiting and 3 emails and 2 phone calls. I texted everyone back letting them know that we had raised the price to $1,700 and I had two groups that were still interested.
The first guy to show up was named Umberto and he looked the car over really well and then tried to offer me $1,250, but I already had someone who had offered $1,300 without even having seen the car, so I told him it had to be $1,300. He agreed and then he got in his car and I loaded the kids up in our van and we all headed to the bank, so I could get the title notarized. While at the bank, in the middle of the notarization the phone rang with the other interested party asking frantically if I had sold the car yet. I told him he had 5 minutes and it would be gone. Umberto wanted to give me the money and have me give him the title while we were at the bank, but I told him that I had someone else coming to look at the car, so I'd meet him back at the house. He said he needed to do something at the bank and he'd meet me back at my house.
Both Umberto and a group of three Mexican men pulled up at the same time. One guy from the group ran over and threw 13 100 dollar bills in my hand and turned to Umberto and said, "It's over. Go home! We bought it!" I asked him how much he had given me and he said, "$1,300." I told him that if he was merely going to match funds then the car went to Umberto, 'cause that was what he had already offered. The group of men quickly consulted in Spanish and Umberto stood by me listening quite intently. Right before they walked over to counter, he said to me, "I'll give you $1,350." The spokesman from the other group said, "We'll give you $1,350." I told them that Umberto had already offered that much. That made them upset and they declared, "He's listening to us!!!"
Umberto then told me he'd give me $1,370 and the group said they'd do $1,400. Umberto said he'd do $1,450 and the group said they'd do $1,500. Umberto then offered $1,600 and that is when the group of guys decided to call his bluff. "Let's see you pay her then." They were sure he didn't have the necessary funds, but he whipped out 16 100 dollar bills and placed them in my hand. The other group had reached their maximum and they declared him the winner.
$1,600 late, I say the real winner was me!

11 comments:

Mariley Johnson said...

THAT is a good Craigslist story!!

Melissa said...

Awesome!

Amelia Poll said...

Too funny! That is a great story.

We sold our jeep in less than two hours when we listed it on craigslist. It's such a good resource.

Lacey said...

HOly Cow! First off I'm surprised you let them COME TO YOUR HOUSE! Especially all those mexican men!! Crazy! And crazy they were doing all the wheeling and dealing in front of you! How intense! I'm glad you got such a great deal! How fun to get to buy a new car!

That happened to us too when Chris sold his chevy S10. It was craziness!

rachel said...

Dang It! I am so sad that you didn't give me a heads up! Would it have made it to alaska? Seriously a second car is soo on my wish list right now. Seriously a few witnesses would have been awesome for that kind of confront. I am excited for you and to see the replacement hopefully with air!

DKAZ said...

Nice job! This works for real estate too, it's just a little bit harder sale.

Ruth Petersen said...

Wow. Congrats. Could you understand the Spanish they were speaking. What a great story and out come.

Lara said...

Wow. I would have been such a wimp that I would have sold it to the first person to call and offer the 1K! Good for you! Next time I need to sell a car, I'll have you be my agent.

Annie said...

I am happy for you guys. Isn't it great to get those kinds of things off your back and out of your house! Phew!

Jacqueline said...

Well done.

Marisa said...

That is totally awesome! I need Wade to read your post so I can convince him to sell our crappy car that's not worth anything.