Saturday, June 21, 2014

Homeless and Carless - 4 Days To Go

We're homeless and carless! OK, we're not literally homeless because we're staying in a hotel and we're not truly carless because we rented a car. My wife still needs to run our dog and cat to a predeparture vet appointment. She also needs to drive down to Richmond to get approval from USDA for pet export to Sweden. I rented a car from the airport so I can just turn it in on our way out.

We're not paying for our own housing at this point and I don't know when I'll have to do that again. It's a nice feeling. We have to pay for the rental car because we need it here but then we can just pay for buses and subways in Stockholm. It's a nice feeling that we won't have any surprising car repairs in our future. The only things we have to worry about right now are ourselves and the stuff in our suitcases.

I made it to our old place in time to see them pack the last of the storage items. It was kind of weird watching that stuff get carried away. We don't know how many years or decades it'll be until we live in the states again and request the return of those storage items. It'll be like getting a bunch of presents and memories of the past when we finally reopen those old boxes. It's like storing things up in an attic or a neglected closet except we won't be able to pull things out anytime we feel like it.

Selling Cars

We didn't have the time to properly clean up, advertise, and show our cars to sell them. It's kind of hard when you're actively using them and lack free time to deal with the entertainment that private buyers provide. I also worried about a buyer messing up the paperwork and not transferring the title. It may sound like a weird worry but my dad sold an old car when I was young and the new owner didn't transfer the title. The police called him a few months later to say he needed to remove his broken down car from the side of the highway or they'd impound it. He explained it wasn't his anymore and they could do whatever they wanted with it.

I want every aspect of Virginia residency gone so they won't have any rationale for taxing my income after we leave. This helps reestablish Texas residency. They were older cars and long paid off so I think we've used our money's worth. I didn't mind just getting the trade-in value as long as it's quick, easy, and relatively fair. If they were newer cars with loans on them then we'd probably have to go with private buyers to recoup the money in them.

There are some easy car buying services around here including CarMax, which is pretty much all over the country at this point. We previously bought a vehicle at CarMax and it was a good experience so I thought of them for selling our cars. Here's an article that explains how CarMax does so much volume which allows them to provide better offers to certain kinds of sellers: Should You Sell Your Car At CarMax? Last week I took the better one of our cars to another place and CarMax in Reston to compare their offers. CarMax was the better offer by $500. The offer was only valid for 7 days but they ended up appraising it at the same amount again today which was almost 2 weeks later.

Both of the cars had been in accidents which hurts their resale value. CarMax has a very streamlined operation with no haggle prices on buying or selling. They inspect them and put the results in a computer that also gets the accident records. Their system gives them pricing based on actual demand for that vehicle in that condition so it isn't something made up by the appraiser. Apparently it's fairly accurate for them to keep tight profit margins as they sell lots of cars to buyers and auctions. We did get around the blue book trade-in value for both of them after about 2 hours of waiting. There were several people in line ahead of us, otherwise we might have been in and out with our checks in about an hour!

I'm sure we could have made more money in a private sale but then we'd have to do all of the work to make that successful and lined up with our needs and departure. This was the easy way out for us. That's another major task done today and one less thing to worry about as we leave Thursday. Just 4 more days and a wake-up!

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