Inspected and Sold - 2013 Lexus GS 350 Long-Term Road Test

2013 Lexus GS 350 Long-Term Road Test

2013 Lexus GS 350: Inspected and Sold

September 13, 2013

2013 Lexus GS 350

When you're selling your car, it's important to screen potential buyers. First there are the lowballers who offer over five grand less than you are asking and flash the word "CASH" hoping to get your attention.

Then there are the shoppers who start out normal and then get downright creepy. In the case of selling our 2013 Lexus GS 350, this was the person who asked me for my home address more than once, despite me telling them that the car was in the Edmunds parking lot.

This screening process ultimately helps you spot legitimate buyers. These people will not mention price first. They ask you questions about the car and want to know more about its history. After three weeks of little activity and the flakes just discussed, a real buyer finally surfaced.

This person is a luxury-home real estate agent who lives just outside of Phoenix. He was interested in our 2013 Lexus GS 350 and another one in the area, and was flying into town to take a look at both. The other car was similarly equipped, with about 15,000 fewer miles on it. It was black with a red interior and was priced a few grand over ours. Tough competition.

Luckily for me, I was his first stop. We met at the DMV near the Edmunds offices. He walked around the car and took notice of two things: The GS needed new rear tires and there was some damage to the front grille. He had already made an appointment to get the car inspected at the nearby Lexus dealer. I had cleared my schedule and obliged him.

We waited about an hour while the Lexus mechanic put the car on a lift and gave it a pre-purchase inspection. The buyer had concerns about a sound the car was making at idle. I told him it was the direct injection and that the car had sounded like that from day one. He said that he was familiar with the noise, but thought that in our car, it was louder than normal.

The shop foreman seemed to agree with him, but then noted that it wasn't loud enough for the dealer to take any action on it. It would need to be significantly louder or broken for the dealer to repair it under warranty. That said, the foreman assured the buyer that the car was indeed still under warranty.

Now it was time to talk price. The engine issue was out of my hands, but the tires and cracked grille were legitimate "price droppers." I told our would-be buyer that I'd lower the price to $42,500. He told me that the owner of the lower-mileage GS 350 was willing to let that one go for $43,500 and that he had planned on offering me $40,000. I reminded him that CarMax offered us $40k and I wanted to improve on that figure. I countered with $41,500 as my "rock-bottom" price.

"If you give it to me at $41,000, we have a deal," the buyer said. I shook his hand and made it official.

Back in 2012, we paid $58,377 for the Lexus (plus tax and title). It depreciated about 30 percent. For reference, average car depreciation is about 22 percent. This deeper drop was fairly disappointing, given that Lexus vehicles have a reputation for good resale value. But as it turned out, all the options that made our GS fun to drive and gave us stuff to write about had little value in the resale market.

Final Odometer: 20,940 miles.

Ronald Montoya, Consumer Advice Editor


  • cotak cotak Posts:

    Considering that for most sellers the extra leg work would eat into off work time, that and the high profile and sad story of the man selling his truck in Canada and ended up meeting a serial killer and ending up dead and half burnt in a farm field. I think the story is really for majority of people just selling it to car max would have been the best choice.

  • Now the first question is: Was all the fun of dealing with all the calls and people on this worth the $1000? ---- And the second question is: What did you accept for payment? Most all of my cars have had to be hauled off on a flatbed when I was done with them so I'm curious with it seeming to be fairly easy to even fake cashiers checks and fraudulent (stolen account) money transfers being a common scam when buying items what do you do for funds transfer on a car that expensive?

  • bassrockerx bassrockerx Posts:

    if i was selling my car private party i would probably ask to meet the buyer at his or her bank/credit union if that is not an option i have no idea what i would do. my bank is not local and when i bought my car at a dealership (that the bank has an account for) they faxed over a blank check that i then filled out the amount and then signed. at a private dealership when i bought another car i had to wait 24 hours for the check to the dealership to be over-nighted to the dealership and then i could pick up the vehicle. either case is not ideal for buying a car private party.

  • s197gt s197gt Posts:

    i'm curious what most people who do private party sales accept for payment as well. i have sold two motorcycles private party. both purchasers paid cash and i had title in hand. cars i have always traded in.

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    With a cashier's check, you can google the bank or credit union and call to verify that they've issued a check.

  • tp660 tp660 Posts:

    If what this buyer was saying is true, the other GS he was looking at would have been a much better deal at $43,500 if it only has around 5000 miles. As for what to accept when selling a car privately, I would only accept a cashier's cheque (personal cheques are too risky when selling something expensive like a car and it seems odd in this day and age for someone to pay with a large stack of bills). I would ask the buyer to meet them at their bank to see the teller write the cheque with my own eyes or call the bank to make sure the cheque was authorized before handing over the keys.

  • explorerx4 explorerx4 Posts:

    Could be wrong, but don't remember worn out rear tires, damaged grille and noisy engine being mentioned before this. Kind of a shady story teller, that's you Ron.

  • reminder reminder Posts:

    I love to buy new as much as the next guy, but article reaffirms that you take a beating buying new. In this case, a heavier beating than usual.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    @reminder-- I now prefer to buy most of my vehicles used. Three year old cars coming off lease are typically 30-40% below the cost of new and have plenty of useful life left. Some even have original warranty remaining. If not, I'll pay a few grand extra f

  • yep, especially when shopping for a higher dollar car it can make a huge difference. Figure around .90 a mile depreciation on that one. Plus cars last so much longer anymore that a year or two really makes little difference in the grand scheme of things. I usually try to figure out how long I'll keep the car and roughly what it would be worth at the end and then figure what each year that is already used up would cost between new and used and if I'd buy another year for that. But you also have to do like this guy and shop smart or you can end up only saving one to two thousand a year on used.

  • sammj419 sammj419 Posts:

    This story just illustrates that you should've just sold the vehicle to Carmax. You would've had your 40,000 check 3 weeks ago and been out the door after 30 minutes of paperwork. Luckily, you owned the car outright. The average person mightv'e had to make an extra car and insurance payment after those 3 weeks which would have definitely negated that extra $1000.

  • cotak cotak Posts:

    @darthbimmer We are thinking of replacing the wife's civic with a new car and we'll likely not consider used at all. All because of safety. 5-7 year old car are 1 generation past in term of safety. And if you ever looked at the photos of the new IIHS smal

  • vvk vvk Posts:

    In this case leasing would probably have worked out better. Not to mention the difference in sales tax....

  • kirkhilles_ kirkhilles_ Posts:

    Very, very strange. First off, I've NEVER heard anyone say that CarMax has given them anywhere CLOSE to market value - but to be within $1,000 of a $40k vehicle is unheard of. That meant they planned to sell it for $50k+. Are you sure they noticed that tires and the bumper damage? In terms of depreciation, keep in mind that this is a LUXURY vehicle. We bought our Pilot new because CarMax was selling 3 year old vehicles (out of warranty) for about $1k-$2k less than what we paid new. Seriously! Reliable, highly rated, middle-class haulers are in much higher demand these days. On the other hand, you're not going to find huge # of buyers for $50k+ luxury vehicles with potentially costly maintenance and repairs.

  • bankerdanny bankerdanny Posts:

    Lexus LS's, ES's, and RX's have good reputations for resale value. The GS is not as popular and well know as the EX/RX or as prestigious as the LS. It benefits from the Lexus badge and rep I'm sure, but in the end is only a modestly popular vehicle and that's why it doesn't hold it's value as well as other Lexi do.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Doesn't explain why this car did not hold value as well as ANY recent LT car did, regardless of brand.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @fordson1: Seems like the options (which nobody seems to care about) and mileage is ultimately what sunk the car.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Huh. So a summer tire package on a Japanese car, a performance car, in Southern California, during the a no-no - ? Well, the buyer surely got a great deal. This is not the best car of its type in its class, but it's not chopped liver, either.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Also, the grille damage was noted on 2/15 of this year and was supposed to have been dealt with, but it apparently never was, and then when they were preparing the car for resale they never noticed it. So they screwed themselves. When you sell a car, you either want to deal with something like this up front, or at least be in a position to point it out to the customer...once the customer is showing YOU stuff that's wrong with the car, you're back on your heels. This was handled poorly.

  • gslippy gslippy Posts:

    You guys are always disappointed with your cars' resale value, and Carmax in particular. You should have just made a deal with them.

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