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Finances & Money

We found a buyer!

It’s been 11 days since posting the Malibu for sale, and we found a buyer! I dropped the price down $1000 to be more in line with the Blue Book value, but it’s still WAY under the prices of all the other Malibus which are mostly dealers’ postings.

We were driving down the NJ Turnpike from our weekend trip to NY when we got the call from an interested buyer named Duane. He sounded like a very nice guy, and was willing to meet up with us at the mall (so we kept our residence private in case). He was driving from probably 35-40 miles away, so he must have been really interested!

He was 1.5 hours delayed due to a few wrong turns, but we finally met up at the local Home Depot. The poor guy was so flustered, but I told him not to worry. I didn’t have any other plans for the evening.

Duane is a young guy, is still in school and has a decent job. He has to give up his car to his sister for college, so he needed something else. He has already set financing through his credit union, and just needed to get them whatever info they needed about the car.

Next Steps:

Neither Duane nor I have bought or sold a used car before. We’re not quite sure of the process in Maryland, and also what the credit union needs to satisfy the loan. I actually had to refer to my article “Car paid off in Maryland? What to do…” to remind myself of the next steps. However, there are enough unknowns that I’ll need to call the MVA tomorrow. If any of you have experience buying or selling used vehicles in MD, let me know!

Duane needs to:

  • Contact the credit union to get financing and find out what they need to satisfy their loan

I need to:

  • Call the MVA to confirm the process of sale. Basically, we will deliver the car to his home and take the plates with us. He’ll need to get a temporary tag for the vehicle before he can get it inspected. I also need to find out if he’ll need to get it inspected.
  • Find out the “book value” of the car through the MVA. If you sell your car for less that book value in MD, you need to justify why and also get a notarized bill of sale. Hopefully I can just use the title as the bill of sale, but I’ll find out. I’d rather not have to deal with a notary as well.
  • Find out for how much we could cash out the extended warranty. We paid $1400 on an extended warranty, and I expect we could get a decent amount refunded. Duane is also interested in transferring the loan, which would cost him $50 plus our price. I just need to find out pricing for him.
  • Find out if Duane wants to transfer the paint and fabric protection warranties. I know (now) that these are stupid warranties, but he has the option to transfer for $50 each (plus my added price).
  • Take the car in to get the tires rotated and balanced for free. I have the unlimited tire rotations and balancing from Merchant’s Tire & Auto, so I figure why not get it done for him.
  • Take the car to the dealer to check out some noises. It’s actually more than a noise. I think there’s something going on with the steering column, but Duane didn’t notice in his test drive. The car is still under warranty, and I don’t want to hand over a car before I can get anything fixed for free that I can.

I’m volunteering to do a lot more than I really need to do, especially since Duane can get it done himself (the stuff covered under warranty at least), but I’m just a nice guy like that. I haven’t told him the extras because I had to look through the paperwork myself first.

I did want to ask all of you though: When you sell a car, do you wait for the check to clear, or do you trust the certified check if it’s from a reputable bank? I don’t want to get shafted on this, even if I trust the guy, but I need your advice.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • Just sold my car last week, used. Fortunately, we had the guy give us cash. He had no problem doing this. But I would only trust a bank check directly from the bank, a cashiers check, or cash. No personal checks. Also, download a Bill of Sale template from MS Office site and make two copies and sign them both with the agreed upon selling price. This way, you have a legal document to back up your sale.

  • When I sold my truck, I only took cash. I would’ve taken a cashier’s check. I’d never take a personal check.

    You are a nice guy. Most sellers would not take those extra steps for the buyer. I wish you luck.

  • I would only take a cashier’s check or cash. A large cash amount is sometimes impractical. You can either meet the buyer at your bank and do the swap (have your bank verify the cashier’s check on site), or I think you can call your bank with the cashier’s check in hand and they can verify its authenticity over the phone.

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