2013 Lexus GS 350: Inspected and Sold
September 13, 2013
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