As I write this, I’ve officially survived my first 2 weeks of living full time in a foreign country. While sitting and reflecting on the journey that got me here, I thought this would be the perfect time to just go back and touch on one of the things that gave me the most stress before departure: Selling my car.
With 2 months of free time safely secured after leaving my job, I promptly set out to sell my car. Little did I know that this was going to be tricky. When I first bought my VW UP!, I was building a life for myself that resembled the fact that I was officially settling down, dreams of working and travelling abroad safely shelved at the back of my mind (a story for another time perhaps). So I got a kitted out car. Sunroof; heated seats; cruise control; park distance control; you name it! This was going to be my last car purchase for years to come so it was either go big or go home (purely because I still loved travelling and paying off a car was not my idea of using my funds productively #noshade). This turned my little city car into an expensive little thing with a weak chance of getting the deserved resale value. With a few years still left on my bank repayment, this was definitely a problem.
Come May 31st 2019 changes to that initial life plan had to be made, and these are a few of the things I learnt on the journey that transpired:
1) Where there’s money involved, scammers can’t be avoided
Being the tech girl that I am, I decided to sell my car via the channel that I am most comfy with, namely, the internet. I listed my car on two car sales websites for a fee and did the only thing I could do after that, wait! Having had to pay to list my car, I expected the websites to be fairly safe. My email and phone number were not going to be shared publicly, so I believed that I was safe. As luck would have it, I didn’t have to wait long before the scammers began to circle. My favourite by far was a man from “America” who expressed interest in buying my car on one of the bad weeks (keep reading). When I asked him more questions about his interest, he waited a whole afternoon before he sent me a very long mail about how he was supposedly dying in an American hospital, and due to the guilt he was now feeling about having lived his life as a selfish rich man who cared for no one, he wanted to be my “close personal friend” and needed me to do him a favour. The favour involved me sharing my banking details with him so he could make a large deposit of money. My ad must have truly moved this dying man if he could so easily conclude that I was the kind of friend he needed in his final few months of life.
2) Things don’t always go according to your timetable
I won’t lie, scammers aside, I was pretty sure my car would be gone within two weeks of me putting it into the universe. By the end of week 6 of not having any luck, my confidence was at level minus 1 million percent. I was all but ready to give up, even going as far as working out how much money I would need to send home every month to keep up with my repayments. These dark moments are truly when I appreciate having such a strong support system at home. Despite my failure at selling my car in my desired time frame, my sister kept encouraging me and faithing it on my behalf.
3) Trust your gut
With 9 days to departure, I woke up with renewed hope and a new plan of action thanks to this support. First thing was first, I needed to find another online car buyer. My gut told me to avoid the guys who had offered me peanuts for my car and find someone new to sell to. After reading what felt like hundreds of reviews and cross-referencing user feedback, I picked a few online car sales places and told them about my car. One accepted what I was asking for and we were in business. Within 2 days the sale was done and I could breathe again. The weight that had been making it harder for me to breathe and sleep for weeks was now gone. Removed from my chest and shoulders with one quick payment. Yes, I did end up having to chip in more than I initially wanted to, to cover the outstanding payment on the car, but rather that than having the weight of a car payment and insurance every month while living overseas.
Things seldom work out the way we plan, but with some compromise and support from your loved ones, you can get through anything. Let’s catch up again soon.