Today I waved goodbye to my trusty 2014 BMW M135i. I am a bit of a petrol head and have enjoyed driving this car immensely. Its 3.0 litre, straight-6, twin-turbo engine meant you could hit 60mph in 4.9 seconds. It was also de-badged, meaning most people would assume it to be a basic 1-series at the traffic light and often were surprised when I drove off at such pace. I will miss this car SO much. Thinking back, I was so proud of it when I got it and loved terrifying any passenger foolish enough to join me for a drive.
Selling my car has been on my to-do list for a very long time as my ongoing ownership of the vehicle was the major elephant in the room for my FIRE journey. How can I possibly justify owning such a car on finance when trying to achieve FI? I simply could not and that is why I have sold it.
I will admit to procrastinating on the sale because as often with cars, it is a heart over the head decision. Finally, I have come to my senses and sold it. Car ownership is in many ways a sign of status and success. Selling such a status symbol is almost a sign that you have failed. However, that is flawed thinking. We are so ready to buy cars on credit to have this ‘status’ and in the process make a huge commitment to pay something every month. It is almost like having debt is the status symbol in our society.
FIRE is about removing and changing that mindset. I now believe that NOT having a car that is costing me dearly and not having debt is a status symbol. I hope to be able to buy a decent car outright when I can afford it without finance. Then it truly will be something to show off.
How did I sell my car with finance outstanding?
I used the car buying service Motorway to sell it. As the car had finance on it, a private buyer was going to be a challenge as people are wary of making such a purchase with the finance outstanding.
The process was very easy. You visit their website and then upload some snaps of the car. They will find a buyer and give you a call. With Motorway, the dealer will happily give you a price and then pay off the finance directly to the finance company. The difference will be deposited in your account.
The only difficult part is the finance company is often slow to update their records, so it is advisable to go with a reputable buyer who is trustworthy and you know will have paid or are good to pay off the loan. The buyer I have is a large company so I have no worries (yet) that they have not paid it.
They send round a driver to your house to collect the vehicle and away it goes.
The price I was offered was about £800 more than webuyanycar.com and the process seemed easier as the car was collected from my home rather than me going to a location and having to get back on public transport.
I do accept that selling the car this way will obtain a lower figure than selling privately, but if you have finance on the vehicle, it is almost impossible to get a private buyer to go through with the transaction. I tried selling the car last year and had this exact problem. Would you buy a car with finance outstanding? Hell no.
Another way could be to take out a loan to pay off the finance and then sell privately and immediately repay that loan. I think I could have sold the car for about £1500-2000 more by doing that. However, it added another risk and complexity to a process which I had already put off and made every excuse under the sun to avoid commencing selling the car. Besides, the whole point in selling the car was to get out of debt, and taking on another loan to do so seems counter-intuitive.
It is done and now I really am debt-free. Selling the car will add another £450/month to my budget once finance, tax, insurance, fuel and servicing are accounted for. I also got £2000 in my pocket which I will put in my ‘buffer’ account for now.