The short answer is it’s a lot harder than selling a $10,000 car privately, and it most-likely comes down to the money. Even $20,000 is a stretch, but still doable. Selling a used car has its own set of challenges without the car being horrendously expensive, so what happens when the price becomes the biggest factor? Of course there are no guarantees for how quickly it can happen, but there are steps that can be taken to improve your chances. One thing to remember first and foremost, when you hit the $80,000 mark you have “officially” entered the luxury range of interest, which means pricing your car that high puts it in competition against cars classified as luxury vehicles. This is just one aspect of the selling process, but before you know it once all the factors are laid out and considered, selling a higher-end car privately becomes a vicious balancing act.
Appeal to your location
No matter how much money you’re selling your used car for or whether it’s a mid-90s Civic or a brand new Corvette, where the car is physically can make all the difference. For instance, an $80,000 car will not sell (at least not very quickly) in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, which as of 2015 raked in an average median income of $15,405. That’s against San Francisco’s (at the time) average median income of $92,094, according to city-data.com. However, selling your $80,000 car in a place like Atherton or Portola Valley will be a lot easier, where the average household income is closer to $200,000. So what if you want to sell an $80,000 car in a place like the Tenderloin district?
Practicality- Know your market
What kind of car are you trying to sell? The benchmark we’ve set, $80,000 may not cover every brand but it covers many different classes. For instance, a 2009 Audi R8 may go for near $90,000 or you may own a much newer Mercedes G-Class that’s worth around $80,000. One of those is a sports car, the other is a family-targeted luxury SUV. These have the similar prices but appeal to completely different markets so you need to sell your high-end car to the right people. Trying to sell an R8 to a family is going to prove immensely difficult. There’s little-to-no trunk space, the kids will need to sit on the passenger’s lap, and the car will only go about five miles before it needs refueling. Sure, the R8 will complete those five miles quickly, but the process will get old just as fast.
Join a club
One option that is valuable to owners of high-end cars is clubs. Because these high-end cars are so expensive it makes them collector’s vehicles, where the car was purchased not only because it fulfills a desire, but because it can’t be found around every street corner. There’s an air of exclusivity which breeds safe havens for owners of similar cars to gather and gawk. Within these clubs are prospective owners, or previous owners that miss the taste of luxury complete with leather seats and built-in Jacuzzis. Clubs like these make selling and buying luxury cars so much easier, because the club already caters to the correct demographic and those prospective owners have the money to spend. These clubs can come in the form of a Facebook group, a forum or even an official club with its own website and everything, like this R8 site. This will increase your chances of selling your car, especially if you post your already neat and tidy listing in the club’s classified section.
Perhaps the biggest factor that separates the process of selling a car for around $5,000 vs selling a car for around $80,000 is how you want to be paid. A very popular adage is “Cash is King”. Why? Cash means no hassle, all of the payment is there in your hand, there’s nothing left to do, except plop the cash in the bank. However with some exceptions people don’t carry $100,000 cash ready to throw at the next Porsche 911 Carrera 4s that comes their way. It’s important that at this stage of selling your high-end car to be realistic to the buyer’s options. However you don’t want to expose yourself to a suspicious situation at the same time. If the car is all paid off, the payment process is purely a judgement call. Meet the buyer at the bank to sign a check, watch them withdraw a vast sum of cash (enter Portola Valley), whichever is more comfortable. Just be sure to hold on to that pink slip until your bank balance skyrockets. Selling a car that still has payments left on it is a different beast altogether, but by no means impossible. Here is a handy guide for how to enter that arena.
This may have become apparent 2-300 words ago but as you can see, the factors that come into selling a used high-end car privately are pretty much the same as selling a low-end car. The biggest difference is the money, which magnifies all aspects of the process. The market, location and form of payment all become more distinct and less vague, which filters the available options. In terms of clubs and factoring in the money, chances are like owners will be less concerned about things like title status, miles and the condition of the car, because the luxury car owner demographic, with some exceptions, treat cars with similar habits. Posting your listing in a club’s classifieds means no longer selling to random people on Craigslist. You’re selling a special car to people looking for special cars, and that is an advantage.