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Diary of a Private Seller - Part 1

Our days together are numbered, I just have no idea how big the number is.

The time has come to part with my pride and joy, and I’m not using that automotive cliché lazily. I truly have maintained my Z4 with pride throughout my time with it, and it has certainly delivered plenty of joy. A personal highlight would be a 3 week roadtrip through Europe, going as far as Pula, Croatia, and visiting a number of other major cities around the mainland of our great continent. Roughly 3,000 miles all in all, and the trusty Z4 didn’t put a foot wrong the whole way. It genuinely didn’t miss a single beat. 

We’ve  had our fun now though and it’s time to sell her. 

Some backstory; I bought this car 3 years ago. She had 68,000 miles on the clock at the time. Most people my age (19) were scooting around in economical hatchbacks and paying a fortune to insure them. I’d resigned myself to the fact I’d be coughing up a fair chunk for insurance, so I thought I might as well get a car I can enjoy and one that would set itself apart from the cars of my peers. 

The 6-cylinder 2.2 litre engine is silky smooth and famously bullet-proof. The exterior and identity of the car is seemingly timeless and the interior is still impressive by modern standards. The electronically retractable roof is simply the cherry on top. 

I’ve become very attached to this car out of fondness but also out of gratuity. Our cars are enablers. Whether they are enabling us to get to work on time or whether they are enabling us to go galavanting around the continent. I’ve had some genuinely incredible memories in this car over the last 3 years that I will never forget. I owe a lot of thanks to this Z4, but it’s time for someone else to enjoy it.

Before going any further, it's worth noting that I am fortunate enough to have inherited a 1997 VW Lupo from my late Grandmother, so I am content with there being a small gap between selling the Z4 and getting a new car. 

So, my options are as follows…

  • I can part exchange the car in a deal for a new one. I’m aware I’ll be getting a reduced offer due to the fact the dealer has to make a margin on it, that’s fine. It’s the way the world works. The problem is that I don’t actually know what car I want just yet, and I’m not going to rush into buying a new one for the sake of it.
  • I could sell it online to a car-buying service. There are loads of them out there nowadays which means it’s possible to compare quotes and just go with the company who offers the most. As long as it’s not the company who pay James Corden to do their radio adverts - for personal reasons. Again, I’d be getting a reduced amount for the car but the process is incredibly quick and stress-free. I would also be able to take my time in picking which car I want to go for next.
  • Lastly, I could sell it the old-fashioned way… privately. One of the few remaining domains in which negotiating and haggling is still considered acceptable by our British standards. The price on the advert will be a suggestion, not a request. I’ll only sell to someone who looks like they’ll treat the car properly and I’ll only sell to someone who will negotiate and deal with me properly as a seller. 

Here’s how I’ll be approaching this…

I’ll be scouring the classifieds for my next car and I’ll be willing to offer my car as part exchange only if I find a replacement car I’m genuinely interested in, and only if they offer me a reasonable price at part-ex. I’ve set a figure in my head and I’ll do my best to stick to it.

In the meantime I’ll have an advert running to sell the car privately on eBay and Gumtree. There is another particularly large site that advertises cars online, the name escapes me, but they’re rather expensive to advertise with nowadays and it might be a conflict of interest among my employers, so probably best to leave it. 

While neither eBay ‘nor Gumtree are free to advertise with, they’re cheaper than the major alternatives, so certainly worth a shot. 

I’ll pop an advert up, wait for the phone to ring, sit back and have a cup of tea with some chocolate. Specifically Toblerone. 

And, finally, I shall not be using an online car buying service just yet. If all else fails, then yes, maybe I will. I’ve bragged around the office that the Z4 will be sold in a flash. 

It’s well cared for, well maintained, with proof of a comprehensive service history and it’s had all the major maintenance work done on it - namely a £600 replacement roof motor and in March it passed it’s ‘Inspection 2’ service, which was particularly expensive but she shouldn’t need another one for about 10 years. 

Why wouldn’t it sell quickly? Famous last words…

Check back next week for part 2.

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