Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Adventures in Selling My Car

I have been back in Maui for two days now. It's crazy to think about how much has happened in my life in the almost exactly six years since I stepped foot on this island for the first time.

Since then, I have lived in Maui for two years, taught elementary school for two years, endured my brother being at war for almost 20 months and counting. I've been to New Zealand, Thailand, Bangladesh, Singapore, China, Cuba and five trips to Canada. I've been in six weddings and been on countless dates with random dudes. I also tried my best to help my best friend through her bout with breast cancer and am so thankful that she is now okay. I now have a nephew and my parents have their dream home. It's been a wild ride and it's pretty crazy to look back on all that has happened.

On a lighter note, I thought it might be humorous to tell you of my adventures in selling my car. This was my first real car selling experience. My only real experience buying a car from a private party was in Maui. And that was a disaster. In Maui the standards are much lower. In fact, the term, "Maui Cruiser" refers to an often junky, quirky car that may look like it is going to fall apart but still runs.

One of my friends bought a car that due to some sort of malfunction needed an igloo cooler in the backseat at all times to prop up the driver's seat. Another friend had to run the heater at all times or the car would overheat. This was Hellish (literally) in tropical Maui.

In Texas, the standards were higher. I didn't realize that I wouldn't get my title until a few weeks after I paid off my car. This meant I ended up only having a week to sell my car. If I had it to do over again, I would have gotten an estimate from CarMax the week before I wanted to sell it. They give you a price they are willing to pay and you have a week to accept or reject their offer. Then you know how much you could sell it for.

I set a price and then basically lowered it every two days. I got some nibbles but no one was serious about buying it. On Saturday, I had two prospective buyers, a nice family with three little blond girls and a fairly recent Indian immigrant named, Raman. Yes, like the noodles. The wife of the family took the car for a test drive and was very interested. She said she loved it and then her husband told her she needed to play it cool to properly negotiate. It was pretty funny. He offered me about $300 less than I was asking, which was pretty fair considering the Blue Book value. The only problem was that because of Labor Day weekend, the banks were closed and he had no way to get that much cash. I told him that I had another interested party and that if he could come up with the cash, then I would go with him.

Later that night, Raman came by and took the car for a test drive. He drove like a grandma. I don't know if he was nervous or if he always drives like the elderly. He was interested in the car too. I explained to him my situation with the other people. I told him how much they offered and when they could get me the money. He asked if I was trying to get into a bidding war. Then he offered $700 less than what they had offered and said that he too would have to wait until Tuesday to get the money. Ummmm....Wake up Raman! Why would I take $700 less when you can't get me the money any sooner? I'm pretty sure he thought I was bluffing about the other people. He said he would talk to his wife about it and see if he could get the money earlier. Then he emailed me and said that the Blue Book Value he found was $500 or so less than what I knew it to be. I emailed him back with the proper specs to put in but he was still confused and called me. I walked him through it over the phone until he was able to get the same figures. Raman was definitely getting on my nerves!

I decided to end my dealings with Raman and put my money (literally) on the blond family. The risky part of all of this was that I was leaving early Tuesday morning and no one in my family really had the time to keep showing the car to other people. On Monday, I got an estimate from CarMax as a back-up in case the family backed out. They offered me about $1200 less so I figured it was worth the gamble with the family. I had a good feeling about them and they seemed legit, although it was a bit stressful taking a chance.

So, I left my sister-in-law, Shella to make the transaction. They were supposed to meet on Tuesday but the scheduling fell through. I was especially nervous because I had foolishly already written their name on my title so I would probably have to take it to the DMV to fix it if they didn't buy it. Hard to do from Maui. So I prayed. And on Wednesday they finally rendezvoused and a cashier's check was exchanged. I was so relieved!

Then I received an email yesterday from the buyers that said that the brake lights weren't working. I wasn't aware of this and I felt awful about it. I offered to pay to fix them. Then today they emailed me and said they got it fixed easily and I didn't need to worry about it. Whew! This made me feel a lot better. And finally I can say that I have sold my car. Yay!

You'd think this would dissuade me from buying a car here in Maui, but I have been looking. I don't think it makes sense financially right now and my last experience with a car here was terrible. ie: 3 months with my Explorer before it died. I think it will have to take some serious signs from the Lord before I dabble in Maui car ownership. I don't think I am ready for an always on heater or a cooler propped seat.

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