What’s it worth?

It’s hard to value any car at the moment, let alone a Porsche – it’s no longer simply a case of looking up its value in a price guide. As I’ve previously documented, the prices of some recent second-hand cars (Porsches and others) have actually gone up in recent months. This is because few new cars are being sold and so there’s a shortage of stock dripping down into the used market. So, as supply drops, prices, rise – so long as the demand is there.

What’s more, it also depends on what the people demanding those cars are prepared to pay for them. Buyers aren’t daft and won’t pay over the odds for a car if they don’t think it’s worth it, or they can see other similar ones out there for less.

I had a buyer (he was looking for a 996) on the phone just the other day, saying he was surprised at how many sellers  told him, “The car owes me this much,” as justification for an optimistic selling price. Sadly, market forces don’t take this into account and it’s a fact of life that you’ll rarely recoup the money you’ve spent on a car when it comes to sell. Sure, a well-maintained car is going to more attractive to buyers and therefore be easier to sell, but only if the price is realistic.

Recently, for the first time ever, I failed to sell a Porsche. Not because there was anything wrong with it or my marketing, but simply because the owner (I was brokering the car) was asking more than the market would stand.

The car in question was a lovely 2001 996 Carrera 4S with 42,000 miles and a great service history. However, the owner wouldn’t drop below £28,500 for it, despite the fact there were newer examples available for less money. He turned down what I thought was a very good offer of £27,500 from a couple who were desperate to buy, but had done their homework and realised that the car was overpriced compared with equivalent ones they’d seen.

Was he mad? Not at all – he’d emigrated to Australia and, once he’d done the sums, he realised that the car was worth more to him out there then it was in the UK, so he decided to export the car and enjoy it in the sun. Very sensible.

Ironically, I’ve now got another, very similar, Carrera 4S which I’m selling on behalf of someone else who’s emigrating. This chap, though, is more flexible on price, so I’m hoping to have more success. The good news is, there’s certainly no shortage of people looking for good 911s.

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