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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, so looking to sell my 2018 Focus RS, but private party selling is new to me on a car this expensive. From my research on the internet, it looks like almost any payment other than wire transfer can be recalled / cancelled (or worse yet, forged) and could leave me in a lurch.

My proposed method of transaction was
  • Agree on price
  • Agree to meet to verify condition
  • Go to bank with buyer and have buyer wire / transfer funds to my account from his/her account
  • Verify transfer with my bank
  • Sign over title, hand keys, etc....
  • Everyone happy
I thought this seemed pretty decent, as I am covered, buyer is covered (we are there face to face for transfer of funds), and risk minimized.

I got to this point with a potential buyer, but there was resistance to wiring money prior to me giving title. I, of course, won't surrender the title until payment is made.

Is this a workable process? Are there other / better ways to handle private party selling without being left at risk for fraud / theft? One friend suggested listing it on eBay motors for agreed price + eBay fees as a "buy it now" option to provide the purchase protection for the buyer, but that didn't seem to be desired from the buyer's perspective.

I'd appreciate any thoughts / suggestions on how to best process a sale like this in the future. I did get a decent offer from Vroom.com, but thought if I can make a few extra bucks for me, and save a buyer a few bucks in the process that would kind of be a win/win for both myself and an RS enthusiast.
 

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Have you considered using a consignment service? Yes, you will not make as much money as with a private sale, but both you and the buyer will be "protected".
 

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Any trust worthy buyer should be okay with wiring the money first, especially if you go in to the bank to do it. If you were to back out of the deal and keep their money, they could sue you for it and you would lose badly
 

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Last time I sold a car, the buyer brought a cashiers check and we did the deal at my bank, with my bank contacting his bank to verify the check.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
From talking to my bank:

On out of state banks, there is still a lag between depositing a cashier's check and it being processed / cleared, and they can be stopped in that time. (For example, someone is calling the check in as lost or stolen right as you are depositing it in your bank). In some instances, some cashier's checks can apparently also be stopped up to 48 hours after processing. Their advice was to not accept a cashier's check unless it was drawn from a local bank where you could physically be there and cash it at the same time.

I am sure these are very fringe cases, but I am a very risk adverse person, so probably not an option for me. Selling to an online car company or trading probably make the most sense in my situation I guess.
 

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My time aint worth stress, sell to dealer...............
 

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Cashier's checks can't just be canceled at a moments notice like that. Kinda defeats the purpose. The biggest risk would be that the check could be a forgery, but having your bank call their financial institution fixes that problem. The buyer already has their money tied up, it's the banks money as soon as he buys the check, and at that point you are getting paid by his bank, not him. Yes there are ways to get your money back from buying that check, if he walked into his bank with it still in hand, or after 180 day waiting period and it hasn't been cashed.
Or atleast according to my wife that has been in banking for over 10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Cashier's checks can't just be canceled at a moments notice like that. Kinda defeats the purpose. The biggest risk would be that the check could be a forgery, but having your bank call their financial institution fixes that problem. The buyer already has their money tied up, it's the banks money as soon as he buys the check, and at that point you are getting paid by his bank, not him. Yes there are ways to get your money back from buying that check, if he walked into his bank with it still in hand, or after 180 day waiting period and it hasn't been cashed.
Or atleast according to my wife that has been in banking for over 10 years.
Not a banker so I can’t argue one way or the other. All I know is that my bank does indeed put a 48 hour hold on any transaction from a bank draft or cashier’s check for their reasons, whatever they are.
 

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I've actually curious about this. Not selling my car but having this info would def be helpful. Let me know if you find something that works
 

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Dad, is that you?

Heh just kidding, but sounds exactly like what my dad told me when I was discussing it with him.
43 and def have kiddos, so yea, call me dad. Gray hair wisdom.......lol. Lessons sometimes kick you ass , its these that you make changes to as required to not repeat. (y) ;)
 

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Not a banker so I can’t argue one way or the other. All I know is that my bank does indeed put a 48 hour hold on any transaction from a bank draft or cashier’s check for their reasons, whatever they are.
Most times holds on funds are due to inability of depositor to cover said funds if these become questionable. Example being you have 500$ in acct, and you deposit 2500$, the bank will make sure all funds are available prior to release of anything greater than current acct. However if depositor had 10K in same acct a simple 2500$ would typically approve immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Most times holds on funds are due to inability of depositor to cover said funds if these become questionable.
Yes, the questionable part....

To them, an out of state draft / cashier’s check is “questionable”, hence why I am not going down that path.

They explicitly said since there is a potential for the draft to be cancelled, those funds are “at risk” (questionable) until they clear. And therefore, whether a person has 1 dollar or 1 million dollars in an account, funds in that amount are still held aside / non-accessible until they clear.

Again, not a banker.... just how my bank rolls apparently.

No worries, just not an option for me.
 

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Not going to argue what your bank said if that's how they operate then go another route I guess. But it's not a regular check. It's not a matter of him having or not having funds in his account once he has bought that check. Your bank isn't saying we can't trust that the buyer really has funds, your bank is saying we don't trust the buyers bank. The risk here isn't lack of funds, the risk here is verifying that the other bank exists.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's not a matter of him having or not having funds in his account once he has bought that check. Your bank isn't saying we can't trust that the buyer really has funds, your bank is saying we don't trust the buyers bank. The risk here isn't lack of funds, the risk here is verifying that the other bank exists.
Yep. I don't doubt the buyer's intent or funding at all. I was just looking for a way to minimize risk, and apparently, at least at my bank, a certified check doesn't give me the warm fuzzies I need.... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
At this point I think I will just go the Vroom route, but for future reference, does anyone have experience with CarGurus / AutoPay or Escrow.com?

Those are some other choices I found for 3rd party intervention, but I couldn't find many reviews that liked either.... most reviews complained of time to respond from the 3rd party and / or incomplete paperwork (ie. paperwork wasn't sufficient for a buyer to actually transfer title and they had to mail more docs later).
 

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Yep. I don't doubt the buyer's intent or funding at all. I was just looking for a way to minimize risk, and apparently, at least at my bank, a certified check doesn't give me the warm fuzzies I need.... :)
All good, you do you. Not trying to argue, just clear the facts up for you and whoever may read in the future.
Not to be pedantic, but a certified check isn't exactly the same thing as a cashiers check. A cashiers check is drawing funds from the bank itself, a certified check is drawing funds from his account, but his bank is certifying that the funds are there.
But with a cashiers check yes, there is in fact a non zero risk.
The other party would have to set up a fake bank, with a fake phone number that would direct you to a fake call center, that would tell you the check was legitimate when you called to verify it.
And any amount of digging online could find to 99.9%certainty that it was real, the banks website, and probably mentions of it elsewhere online( which could be faked too I suppose) most banks have apps nowadays (yeah yeah he could build a fake app for his fake bank)
But a cashier's check from a legitimate bank is as good as cash, and can not just be canceled real quick.
Best of luck, I'll try to refrain from crapping up your thread any longer, maybe someone else can offer some other advice for something more ironclad.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
All good, you do you. Not trying to argue, just clear the facts up for you and whoever may read in the future.
Not to be pedantic, but a certified check isn't exactly the same thing as a cashiers check. A cashiers check is drawing funds from the bank itself, a certified check is drawing funds from his account, but his bank is certifying that the funds are there.
But with a cashiers check yes, there is in fact a non zero risk.
The other party would have to set up a fake bank, with a fake phone number that would direct you to a fake call center, that would tell you the check was legitimate when you called to verify it.
But a cashier's check from a legitimate bank is as good as cash, and can not just be canceled real quick.
Best of luck, I'll try to refrain from crapping up your thread any longer, maybe someone else can offer some other advice for something more ironclad.
Great info... and a good discussion. I do appreciate your input and I am sure others will as well.

Whether or not a cashier's check can be cancelled is one of those things that apparently is possible and varies between institutions, so to say they are "as good as cash" is mostly true.

Interestingly enough... close on a house lately? The last two closing companies required wiring in funds, unless a trivial amount ($1000 or less - they'd take a personal for that amount actually) for immediate processing. If you wanted to use a cashier's check, they would wait 5 to 7 days for it to clear before processing the close.

Now, back on topic... I was just looking to minimize risk, and my bank says it's a risk. I have to go with what they say because they set the rules... not me. Less risk adverse folks? Have at it! You'll have a much easier time!

But again, appreciate the information. Have a good one!
 

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This is how I did it when I sold my M3 to someone cross-country, and he sent a truck for it:

1. Haggle, agree on price, buyer sends a non-refundable deposit to hold the car until the sale is completed. Seller signs, scans, and sends a deposit agreement.
2. Buyer sends a scan/photo of their ID, which seller can use to fill out a bill of sale.
3. Seller fills out a bill of sale, signs it, and sends buyer a copy. Seller also sends an (unsigned) copy of the title to prove ownership. Seller also sends a scan of their driver's license.
4. When buyer agrees with the bill of sale and everything looks good, buyer will sign and scan the bill of sale and send a copy back. Buyer will wire seller the remaining balance.
5. As soon as that payment is received/confirmed, seller signs over the title and mails it to buyer overnight.
6. Buyer/seller arrange shipping/pickup logistics.

The above is not a perfect system - it requires extra trust from the buyer. Between money wiring (and clearing) and the title arriving in their hands, theoretically they are at risk. This is why I think it is good to provide the signed bill of sale and copy of identification - I'm not a lawyer but I like to think that this gives the buyer recourse to win the case in court if things go awry. Even then, with enough faking/forgery even all of the above can be spoofed. You need to use common sense and your judgment about the person. If in doubt, gather your thoughts and don't be pressured into anything you don't feel comfortable doing.

The only foolproof way that I'm aware of is an escrow service, essentially professional middlemen. They take a cut, of course...
 
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