Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Close That Sale: Second-Hand Purchase Checklist

English: Couple on a motorcycle in Rajasthan, ...
English: Couple on a motorcycle in Rajasthan, India (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Most of us start a sale these days with lots of browsing online and, thankfully, we’re actually going into sales a lot more clued up than we ever have in the past. However, closing a second-hand sale isn’t an easy thing to do, and from introducing yourself to taking a test drive to handing over the cash, there are plenty of areas where a sale could go wrong. 
So to ensure that you end up making not just the right purchase, but the right purchase at the right price, here’s our step-by-step guide to closing a second-hand sale. 

1. Good Introductions

In most cases you’ll end up making an introduction online or over the phone but it doesn’t ever hurt to make a good first impression when meeting in person. Turn up on time, give forewarning and make it clear you’re interested in coming to a mutually good deal, not just getting as a low a price as possible. You don’t need to be overly outgoing, but don’t give your seller any reason not to give you the sale. 

2. Start with the Paperwork

Most of us are edging to get a look at our prospective new bike when we’re closing a deal, but it’s actually much better to start with a paperwork. You should be checking the logbook, the service history and whether it has any motorcycle insurance, MOT or tax left on it. Check that everything is present and correct first, but also make sure it adds up - do the addresses match, does the frame number match? If not, always ask why not - there could be a simple explanation. If there isn’t, the bike could be stolen. 

3. Visual Inspection

After checking the books have a quick look around the bike to check for condition. Of course you’ll want to be checking for scratches, dents and marks but also look for things like mismatched screws, uneven tyres and rust. Check, also, if your seller has fitted any aftermarket alarms and the condition of the locks; these are all points for negotiation after the test ride. 

4. Get Hands-On

Before taking the bike for a test ride just spend a moment getting hands on. Is it the right size for you, are the handlebars comfortable or are you struggling to reach. Your new bike will feel different to bikes you’ve had before, but it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. Also check the suspension has a slow, smooth spring to it and that the bike starts up easily. Once it’s going, check to make sure the owner doesn’t thrash a cold engine (because they will always do this if they do it when selling!) and that the dials all read appropriately. 

5. The Test Ride

Licensing and insurance can be tricky when doing test rides so you may have to ride on the back or take the bike to an off-road area where you can give it a full test. If you have comprehensive insurance you should be able to take the bike out, but you will need to check the details. When you’re finally on the bike, do a few smooth gear changes, check the acceleration and, most importantly, check the steering alignment: it could indicate a head-bearing problem or even a buckled frame. 

6. Settling Up

So you’ve decided the bike works for you but, in most cases, they’ll be a few small issues. These are grounds for haggling, but stay clear of market-stall bartering, most sellers find it irritating. State that because of x fault or y problem you’re only willing to pay a certain amount and go from there. If this price isn’t right, leave your name and number and, hopefully, you’ll get a call-back...!
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