I am without my own vehicle for a few days. My sweet husband bought me a car in Philadelphia.
We live in Iowa.
I am a nervous wreck about it because what if he flies out there to seal the deal on Saturday and they’ve sold it to someone else? I’ve been micro-managing this whole endeavor because I’m that worried that they’ll pull a bait-and-switch on us. I don’t know why I’m so nervous about this – this is how B always buys cars (we always buy pre-owned vehicles). He bought his first Acura on Ebay, for God’s sake, back when that was really risky! He had the winning bid, bought it sight unseen, flew out there with his buddy, picked it up in SoHo, and drove it home. That car treated us very well. We always wondered if it had been in an accident (it had a clean carf*x report when B bought it) because there was some paint damage and my feet always froze in the winter when I was a passenger in it. (Turned out that there was an accident on the report many years later when we sold it – the accident was just before B bought it so it wasn’t on the report right away. Sneaky of that seller. But honestly, that car was a dream!)
The next vehicle we bought out-of-state was my RDX – and we were a bit more conventional with that one. We found it at an Acura dealership online and drove up to Minnesota to buy it. We knew before we left our driveway and before seeing it that we were buying it. They told us it had a little scratch on the front fender and it turned out to be more than a little scratch, but it was certified, the price was right, and we’d already sold my other vehicle. Meant to be. We bought it. It’s been a great vehicle, aside from its lack of room for an additional car seat.
The next vehicle purchased out-of-state is the one B drives now and we got it at the same dealership as my RDX – but he bought it sight unseen again over the phone and just drove up to get it. They told us it was perfect and it was, aside from a couple soft dents in the trunk that we got fixed for $200. Again, it was certified, exactly what we wanted, and the price was right. It’s been a great vehicle.
When it came time for this new vehicle, we were having a heck of a time finding exactly what we wanted for a good price. We like to spend as little as possible but still have a Hon.da product in the end with few miles and certified, if possible. We even looked outside of our comfort zone of Hon.da/Acu.ra but found that we’d be spending just as much, or more, for a vehicle we didn’t even really want. As we searched, we realized that we were more particular on color than we thought (damn that black MDX that passed B on the interstate when he was pondering our color choices!) and realized that a rear entertainment system may give us the ability to travel again (oh, our hopes are way up on this one!).
The prices in the midwest were ridiculous. I mean – INSANE. So of course B got on Ebay (I shuddered) and found one for a super-duper price (more shuddering). It was too good to be true, but needed to be checked out (even more shuddering). I was very huffy about this particular vehicle because I was having flashbacks of all of those years in the front seat of the CL in the winter time, complaining about my freezing feet and not being able to warm the car enough to defrost them (turned out that the insulation had not been replaced after the apparent accident that was not on the damned Carf.ax report). I refused to drive a vehicle that was bought at a corner no-name/no-brand dealership in Brooklyn that was asking a price that was insanely low. I said that it was super cheap for a reason. I said there was no way, NO WAY, that I would put our son in a vehicle that had not been fully inspected and evaluated by someone with the skills to do so (and this statement was not fair, because it implied that B would put our son in said vehicle and I promise you – he would not)! And no – we were not asking our friend’s friend in Brooklyn to look at it for us – because he doesn’t know what’s under a hood.
And then I cried a bit.
But then B found Lemonsquad.com. Have you heard of this? No? It is AMAZING! THEY ARE AMAZING! All B had to do was call them up, tell them the situation and where the car was located, and the guy had someone go test drive it within 24 hours of our call. I believe the test-driver was a mechanic. They did a 130 (or so) point inspection and hooked a computer up to it to read everything there was to read on the vehicle. They took photos. They took notes. They saved us! Note that when we called the dealership about the vehicle, the sales guy said it had a few scratches on the left side, but other than that, “PERFECT.”
Lemonsquad gave the vehicle a grade of D. I was expecting it to be bad (because I’m a negative nancy that way), but not THAT bad. Here’s a snippet from the report:
“The entire left side of the vehicle has been previously repaired and repainted, as well as the right side quarter panel and doors, including bumpers also. These repairs do not look perfect, some details of the body work are noticeable; the paint finish is not completely smooth, and even dull on some of the areas.”
|Seats||Normal wear for mileage of vehicle.|
|Power Window Switches||The right front window switch is not working on the main control panel.|
|Scratches||There is a scratch on the right rear door, and a couple on the rear bumper. Other scratches too small to photograph, normal for wear.|
|Small Dings||There are just a few dings overall.|
|Tail Light Lenses||The left tail light lens is broken. See photos.|
|Bumpers||Front bumper is misaligned on the right side. See photos.|
|Navigation System||This system needs the code in order to work. Seller will look into it.|
|Back-Up Camera||Unable to test the back-up camera, because the code is needed to operate the system.|
And there were photos… 53 of them showing all of the damage. As B just said (when I was asking for a refresher on all of its issues), “it looked like it had been to the Apocalypse and back.” HA!
This cost us only $150. Money well-spent, holy hell!
So that brings me to our car in Philly. It’s certified, it has low miles, it’s black, it has the rear entertainment system, it has navigation (I cannot live without that), and it’s the right price! When B called the dealership on Saturday with questions, they mentioned that they’d gotten lots of calls on it already. We wouldn’t normally believe this kind of selling tactic, but the truth is, we’d lost out on two vehicles in Manhattan (not ones from shady dealers) just earlier in the week so we knew that they went fast out east (probably because of their awesome pricing).
B bought it for me. Sight unseen. I’m so happy about it! He flies out Saturday morning to get it and will be home by Sunday night. In the end, this out-of-state purchase will save us about $3,500. I’ll take it! The big unknown was getting rid of my current vehicle and we did that today after a lot of back-and-forth. A dealership flat-out bought it from us for a pretty good price considering the body damage I’d done to it right when we got it (I ran into our garbage cans and just kept going, because, “you know, they’re plastic and they won’t hurt the car”).
So we’re a single-car-family for a week and that usually works out just fine for us. I have to be flexible for B so that he’s able to get to where he needs to be. No problem!
Now I just hope my new car is really there on Saturday!
August 28, 2012 at 7:26 am
Wow, you guys are really serious about your car buying. I hope you love your new car!
August 28, 2012 at 8:48 am
I’ve never bought cars anywhere other than a dealership, but I’ve sold three cars on Craigslist. For us that has been the way to go. That’s awesome that you’ve found a good deal on eBay before and that service that you mentioned sounds awesome!! And glad you guys invested in the $150. I went to a dealership and was standing in front of a car as the salesman told me there was no hail damage (we had recently had a bad storm) and I was staring at thousands of dents. I mean, come on dude! I might be a chick, and blonde, but I’m not blind! I hate how ‘some’ (I say some b/c JJ sold cars for a short time) can be so conniving! Enjoy your new car once B gets back with it!
August 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm
We sell our vehicles on Craigs List too, with the exception of my latest vehicle because of the fender damage I caused it. We’ve sold them on Craig’s List really fast. It’s a great tool!
August 28, 2012 at 3:23 pm
Wow – I’m way impressed with your car-buying skills. Way better than I’ve ever done. Good luck without the car – I would die!!!
August 28, 2012 at 6:55 pm
B is out of town today and tomorrow, and again Saturday and Sunday (getting the car), so I’m really only sharing for 2 days 😉
August 28, 2012 at 7:40 pm
Wow- intense car shopping! But congrats on the new car- I just got a new car this weekend too- so fun!
August 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm
Awesome! I hope it’s treating you well! You’ll need space for lots-o-baby-gear here pretty soon, Lady!
August 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm
Wow – lemonsquad sounds awesome!
My husband and I bought our last two vehicles on Craig’s List. Yah. Talk about scary. Honestly – both times it has worked perfectly (we also sold the 1st vehicle on Craig’s List). The first truck he flew out to Vegas, took a shuttle up to Mesquite, and drove the truck home. The 2nd he bought from a guy down the street, and we sold the first truck on Craig’s list for more than we had paid for it 2 years before!
August 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm
Our husbands may be long lost brothers 😉
We’ve sold our last 3 vehicles on Craig’s list (with the exception of my latest vehicle due to some body damage). I swear by it for selling, and would for buying too if we could find what we’re looking for on it!
August 30, 2012 at 10:46 pm
Cute new Gravitar, by the way!