Selling A User Car in Ontario

Formerly, our 2009 Smart Fortwo
It took us a while. 24 days in total. Not bad considering, but a lot of work was required.

The first step was deciding to sell. That was done back in December 2015. Originally, we used both cars. However, the in-laws returned to China in September 2014 so we only required the use of one car.

When the in-laws returned in October 2015, we didn't use the Smart car. At all. Finally, in December 2015, we decided that since we could manage with the one car, we decided to sell the Smart car.

Frankly, I've been thinking of selling the car for a long while now. It didn't make sense to have the car sit in the garage while time depreciated it every day. While I didn't buy this car*, the initial purchase cost with taxes was in the neighbourhood of $17,000. Last November, I looked online and the estimated value of this vehicle is around $7,000.

Wifey was against selling the car. To her, it was our lucky car.

Well, finally, in December, wifey was on board with the selling of the Smart car. Not sure what changed her mind. I think it might have to do with those finance things she's been reading more recently. Somewhere, it was mentioned that the money sitting in the form of a car was a bad place to keep it. She heeded that advice and came around.

Anyway, the first thing that needed to be done? The purchase of the Used Vehicle Information Package (UVIP) from Ontario. The cost is $20. You can order it online. Which is what I did. The UVIP was delivered to me within the week. The UVIP contains the Bill of Sale, information about past registrants, liens, accident history, and the estimated wholesale value of the vehicle.

Included with the UVIP was the Used Vehicle Information Sheet (UVIS). This is essentially a checklist of what the buyer and seller need to do. Very handy.

Next was to get the car ready for sale. Since the car has been sitting in the garage for over a year, I forgot to do one thing... disconnect the battery terminals. Oops. No surprise. The battery was dead.

Well... That is unfortunate. As it was a Smart car, I had no idea where the battery was located. The user manual was in the back. Unfortunately, because the battery was dead, I couldn't open the rear hatch to access the book. Luckily, Google exists. I was able to find that the battery is located under the floor on the passenger side. Very lucky it wasn't in the rear. Without power to the rear hatch, there was no way to access the engine compartment.

Of course, being a car battery, removing the battery was difficult as the battery was extremely heavy. Replacing the battery was just as difficult, but it only took an hour at most.

After the battery was replaced, next was to take the car out and take numerous pictures. I didn't want people to think I was hiding something. I think wifey and I overdid it on the pictures front. We ended up with a lot of duplicates, but it turned out well. We managed to have a link to imgur with over 30 pictures. One such picture is above.

Next, we took the car in for service and repairs. I wanted to offer a Drive Clean Emissions Test and a Safety Certificate as a bonus to any potential buyers. Before we did the Drive Clean Test, I wanted to do the service and repairs first. Once the service and repairs were complete, I took the car to a Drive Clean Testing Facility. The process only took 15 minutes. Got the certificate and went home.

Afterwards, it was simply a matter of listing the car. If only it were that simple. I listed the car on Kijiji as I heard bad things about AutoTrader.ca. Wifey and I decided $6,000 was a good pace to start. The responses I got were interesting. I had people offering to trade for another car. I had an inquiry where the person was interesting in trading GoPros and mobile phones. I had other messages and was given a few offers ranging from $2,300 to $3,000. I went back and forth with a few people, but those conversations ended up nowhere. After a week, the leads dried up. Occasionally, a new message would be received. Personally, I think those messages were sent by Kijiji employees to makes it look like the ad was still working. The messages usually followed a Kijiji email about promoting my ad by paying for this extra service.

Two weeks after my initial post on Kijiji, I decided to post on a different forum. The same forum I look for deals and free stuff. I received a response right away offering $4,000. They left me contact information, so I called them and we discussed it over the phone. I accepted their offer of $4,000 and we starting exchanging texts. As I indicated I would get the safety done, I scheduled an appointment for that afterwards.

Once I got the safety done, we met up at a Service Ontario to do the test drive. Once the buyer was satisfied with how the car handled, we finished up the procedure to transfer the car. It was quite simple. Sign a form here, keep the plate portion of the registration, fill out the seller's information, complete the bill of sale, etc. Everything is detailed in the UVIS. Just complete the checklist and you should be good to go. I took my license plates and returned them to the ministry. The buyer paid me in cash and we went up to the counter to transfer the vehicle. It was done in 10 minutes.

Okay, maybe it wasn't that simple. There was the matter of when I get the cash. Mother-in-law was determined the get the money before we transfer the car. I was okay with getting the money at their bank after the transfer and before we hand over the keys. Turns out they had the cash already. Mother-in-law has a good sense about these things. Anyway, that was it.

All in all, after all the expenses (service, repairs), we netted about $1,000. While it's not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things, it's definitely more than what we could have received if we let it sit in our garage another year or two.

If anything, we likely would have lost money if we had to repair and then sell the car. It might have made more sense next year to just donate the car away and get a tax receipt for a couple thousand... or less.

Now that we have this money, what are we planning on doing with it? I haven't decided yet. Wifey still needs to top up her RRSP (just a little bit remains). My TFSA at Questrade could use some rebalancing. Either way, this money will be used for investing.


*I actually won this car in an online contest. No joke. At the time, wifey and I were discussing buying a car. We were looking in the range of spending $8,000 or less. Turned out better than we thought.

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