So you need a car or bike. Don't have much money. Thought you'd try Ebay to catch a bargain. Here are some tips and pitfalls for both buyers and sellers to ponder. This is only my opinion for what it's worth.
Tips for sellers:
- Be honest. As simple as that sounds it can be hard for some people to do. Being honest also includes not hiding vital information such as accident damage, rust, missing parts.
- Be realistic in your pricing. Buyers on Ebay are looking for cheap buys. If it's a run down old car with next to no prospect of selling and you just want it gone then list it at 0.99c start with no reserve - it WILL sell! Research prices before selling and price according to condition.
- If you have recently restored or spent a lot of money on your car - don't expect to recover the costs in selling. How many recently restored cars are offered with unrealistic prices - if you have spent $20,000 on restoring a car valued at $10,000 what do you think the reasonable buyer will offer? If you have just spent $1000 on new tyres for a run down old car worth $500 - then you are better off selling the tyres separately from the car - more chance of recovering costs.
- (Note to restorers - only restore a car for your own enjoyment/interest and use - money spent on a resto can never be recovered - unless you are really lucky! There are only very few buyers with more money than sense!)
- Don't say the car is near RWC or not much work required - because if it was then why not get that RWC and offer it with the car because a car with a current RW will definitely sell. And remember registration is not normally transferable unless a RWC is offered.
- Make time available for sellers to view and ask questions. There is nothing worse than being a buyer who can't get answers, can't view the car or even can't get a response from a seller. The end result is a seller who has something to hide and a car that doesn't sell.
- Photos - the more the better. Show all sides, interior, boot, under bonnet, seats, dash - if you do then a buyer will see that you are being open and honest. Don't have close ups of parts of the car - unless you are showing a flaw. Don't repeat photos just to have a lot of photos. And worse is the listing with no photos - you are wasting your time if you are not including photos - a definite non-seller.
- An old car is NOT a classic car unless it has some intrinsic value for the buyer. For example a clean, low mileage 1977 Volvo 240 is an old car but it is NOT a classic whereas a 1977 run down, non runner Porsche 924 Martini Special (World Champion edition) IS a classic.
Tips for Buyers:
- There is a lot of rubbish out there so be picky, very picky! Be patient and the right car at the right price will always come along - eventually.
- Know what you want and what purpose the car will be for - always have this in your mind. Don't buy a classic if you need an everyday car and certainly don't buy an everyday car thinking it is a classic.
- Never, never buy a car without seeing it in the flesh. Photos are great, but only for the seller. If a car looks great in the picture then it is probably in average condition. Also be aware of what is not being shown in the photos - if there are no interior photos then chances are the interior will be in very poor condition.
- When you are looking at the photos, look to the back ground and surroundings for clues. For example if an old Morris in poor condition is offered for sale and you can see a well presented, good condition Morris in the background - chances are you are buying someone elses parts car that they no longer require (as they have taken all the good bits off for their own use). Another example especially for motorcylces is look at the ground under the bike - oil leaks can be seen clearly.
- Also a seller who does not respond to questions, or is unwilling to arrange viewing times, or is vague or aggressive in responses is best avoided.
- Always deal with the owner of a car for sale. How many times have you seen cars offered for sale by a friend, relative etc. And be extra careful in handing over money to anyone other than the proper owner. And always get a receipt and details of seller.
- Research car prices before bidding and determine your limits if you are going to bid. Best indicator of current value especially for late model cars is from an insurance company. Get a quote to see the current market value - there are many online quote systems available for this. If an insurance quote values a car at $2000 then why should you pay any more?
- The number one reason for not buying a car (especially old cars) in my opinion is rust. Rust = run away, don't buy. A good solid rust free car with a clapped out motor or gearbox is a much better buy than a rusty car with a reco motor or gear box. Unless you only want the motor/gearbox!
- Don't put too much emphasis/value on sellers spruiking full service history, deceased estate, low mileage, lady's car, elderly persons car, one owner, local car, manuals, never been in accident, only surface rust, always garaged, close to RWC, not much for RWC, genuine classic etc. etc. Make your own judgement upon viewing/testing the car in the flesh.
- If the seller is offering a RWC all the better - but remember especially with older cars this is no guarantee of a good car - all it does is allows the rego to be transferred and for you to drive the car while you fix any problems as they come up.
And last but not least be patient and wait for the right car to come along at the right price. Let your head rule your heart when buying or your wallet may suffer. There are exceptions to every rule. To find a true bargain means looking at up to hundreds of cars - needle in a haystack! But it may just be worth it in the long run.