So you’re thinking about selling your current motorcycle. It sounds easy enough; what could go wrong? Plenty of things, especially if this is your first time selling, or it’s been a while since your last sale. Buying a motorcycle, owning a motorcycle, and even selling a motorcycle can be a very enjoyable experience if you are prepared.
Before you sell, check out these seven tips we prepared about common pitfalls sellers don’t expect when selling their motorcycles.
1. Try to Sell Your Bike Before You’re Ready
Not only do you need to make sure your motorcycle is in selling condition, but you also need to ensure you are mentally prepared. That is because selling a motorcycle is as much an emotional decision as it is a financial one. If you’re not prepared to give up your bike yet, don’t list it for sale.
Make sure you are prepared to have someone pick up the bike the same day you list it for sale online or get it appraised by a dealer. That’s not to say you’ll sell your bike the same day you decide it’s a good idea, but you should be ready in case that perfect buyer is also ready.
2. Set Your Asking Price Too High
Something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
Asking too much for your motorcycle is one of the most common and frustrating mistakes made by sellers. Make sure you know what your motorcycle is worth, and then set a price that is reasonable and fair. No matter how much you want or need your bike to be worth more, it’s ultimately only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
Starting with a price that is drastically above the fair market value is just going to waste your time and discourage otherwise interested buyers. Do yourself a favor and save some time by listing it for sale right around what your research shows other similar bikes are selling for online or in your local market.
Even if you are a seasoned expert negotiator, never list it for more than 10% above what you think is fair or your minimum price. Anything beyond that is only going to discourage potentially serious buyers and indicate you are not really interested in selling.
3. Assume Any Instant Cash Offer Is Fair
Be very wary of any company offering you an instant cash offer for your motorcycle. Your best case scenario is that they are a legit business and they can close the deal quickly, but they offer you a low-ball price so they can resell it quickly to an eager buyer.
On the flip side, the worst case is that they don’t even have the cash available or they need you to mail your motorcycle’s title halfway across the country delaying the deal days or weeks. It’s no longer fast cash, is it?
The bottom line is that unless you are the luckiest person alive, anyone who is willing to buy your motorcycle sight unseen does not have your best interest at heart.
If you need money fast, it may be the only option for you. Just consider the other options for selling your motorcycle first and realize what you may be getting yourself and your motorcycle into.
4. Rely on a Third Party To Have Your Best Interest at Heart
As with the previous point, keep in mind no one else is looking out for you. It’s sad and it may sound crass, but unless you’re selling to your grandma keep your eyes wide open. You have to assume that the buyer, however nice they seem or actually are, is looking out for themselves, and only themselves.
Whether it’s a person or a company, they are looking out for themselves above all else. Make sure you are not selling your bike for too cheap and look out for tire tickers and even worse potential con artists.
5. Accept the First Counteroffer
Every sale is different and if you need a quick sale you may have limited options. If you do have time to spare and want the best price for your motorcycle, you may have to do some negotiating. Always remember that there will be another offer, and you don’t have to accept the first proposal someone throws your way.
If you listed your bike for $12,000 and think it’s a fair price, don’t take $10,000 just because it’s the only offer you’ve received so far. It can take weeks or even months, depending on the time of year, to get top dollar for your motorcycle.
Conversely, don’t be totally unwilling to negotiate, and never list your motorcycle as firm. It’s much better to build a little wiggle room into your initial price, and as a general rule be willing to come down 5% or so to close the deal.
6. Expect to Recoup All Your Money Spent on Customization
This is another very common pitfall among bikers who love to customize their motorcycles with lots of add-ons, accessories, and customizations. Customizing is a great way to make your bike unique and exactly what you want. It can make riding a lot more enjoyable while you own your motorcycle. However, these additions are never worth anywhere near what you originally paid for them.
The hard truth is that in reality most of these customizations are worth almost nothing to most buyers. You may even need to give these items away, or revert your motorcycle to stock condition and sell the other stuff separately. Think of this money spent as an improvement to your riding experience, not as an investment in your motorcycle and its resale value.
7. Forget to Research Your Next Motorcycle
Last but not least, don’t forget to think about what motorcycle you’ll be buying next. There is nothing worse than not being able to go on a poker run or a ride with friends because you sold your ride before securing or even researching your next one. Before you sell your existing motorcycle, do some thinking about what you’d like next.
Talk to your friends, check out some motorcycle classified websites, and visit your local dealers to see what’s available and fits your lifestyle. Once you’ve got a pretty good idea of what you want next, you’re ready to list your motorcycle for sale without having to worry about that perfect buyer actually showing up and taking your current ride away.