Should the process of buying a high value classic car be the same as buying a house?
When you are buying a house there are many considerations which include:
Is it priced correctly?
Does everything work? What do I need to do to it?
Are there any potential legal issues – do the owners have good title?
What will the value be like in the future?
We’re certain that you if you didn’t considered one or all of these when buying a house that someone else did – lawyers, mortgage lenders, estate agents etc. But do you ask the same questions when buying a classic car? Would you treat the purchase of a car that is as expensive as a house the same as you would a property purchase? In our experience many buyers aren’t nearly as diligent when it comes to buying a car so it is best to be honest and ask yourself:
“How much do I really know about this car? Why is it priced the way it is and what do I know about the seller?”
A successful purchase comes down to three things. Right car – right price -right people.
What do we mean by “the right car”?
The right car will be the best car available for your budget – it will be correctly priced for it’s condition and provenance and should not present any surprises post-sale.
How do you know if you are purchasing the right car? All the web research in the world won’t necessarily give you the answer. Be honest and ask yourself:
How much do I really know about this car
Before buying you should talk the car through with an expert – not the bloke down the pub who has a couple of classic cars – and it’s always best to get a second opinion. Talking it through with someone else will usually surface some of the questions you really should have thought of but hadn’t. If you don’t know the answer to those questions, make it your business to answer them. The most important question is – “Is it the right car for your needs?”.
For example, we recently spoke to a buyer who was all set to purchase a barn-find E-Type at auction. Talking through the car and the deal with them revealed that they had been quoted £20,000 for a restoration and their intention was to sell it on at a profit. This clearly wasn’t going happen on both regards, so after talking it through with us they were able to make a decision whether to buy it or not based on the correct information as well as getting an understanding of the wider market for E-Types. Fore-warned is fore-armed!
Would you buy a property to renovate without having had a number of quotes for the work? Or indeed understanding whether the return on investment was worthwhile?
Think about the way out on the way in.
When you sell the car, are there any issues that might put off a future buyer – if there are, it might not be the right car.
There aren’t many places you can go to get an informed second opinion on the price of a classic car without paying for it. What is really important is the value – and price and value are two entirely different things. Prices can vary wildly for all sorts of different reasons – values don’t as they are based on a specific set of criteria which can be applied to all cars. For example; how desirable is it, will it go up in value, does it have good provenance, what is it’s condition are all questions you should ask. When all the relevant factors are taken into consideration, similar cars should all be worth about the same – but prices vary considerably, as will the condition of similarly priced cars. Ask yourself: “Why are they asking that price for that car?”. If it looks cheap there is almost certainly a reason why. Does the pricing strategy stack up?
Buying a car from the right people should help you determine whether your purchase is the right car at the right price.
Some classic car dealers in the UK have been in business for many years, specialising in an individual marque or having a more general knowledge of the market. In the last few years many new classic car sales businesses have sprung up to capitalise on the growth in the prices of collectable cars but let’s be totally honest – not all of them know what they are selling (or even doing).
Established specialists will have years of experience dealing in the type of cars they are selling and will be able to give you access to information on the marque or model you are buying that you will not get elsewhere. Their cars should be correctly priced and stand up to close scrutiny by potential buyers. They will also generally be offered the best examples of the cars they sell as well as having a significant turnover of stock – because they are selling it rather than storing it. They will be able to give you the correct advice on what to buy and why, as well as talking straight.
From a business perspective they will have an established history, premises and the resources to be able to fulfil their obligations to buyers with the history to demonstrate it. An impressive showroom alone isn’t enough.
In our experience the right people invariably offer the best value cars when it comes to classics – and that is an entirely different business model to offering the most expensive cars…. The best dealers understand the value of the expertise and experience they offer and won’t compromise on it – and it’s worth paying for.
We have been working with most of the members of our Approved Partner network for many years – we recommend them because our customers have a good experience buying from them and we are also working with new dealer partners who haven’t been around quite as long but still offer great service.
Of course it still pays to get a second opinion. If you are interested in financing a car with us then please get in touch and we can offer our own expert advice or contact one of our approved service providers.
If you are looking to buy a classic car then your mantra should be: Right Car. Right Price. Right people. It won’t let you down.