I had been checking Craigslist several times a week for over a month to see if a decent vehicle or ATV would pop up in the $400 range. Not that I really know anything about either, but I do know that if they’re not falling apart, they’re easy to trade or resell for a profit.
As expected, there was lots of rust buckets in the $400 price range, and the great deals usually only last for a couple hours before someone scoops them up. When I spotted an ad for a functioning four wheeler with supposedly “no major mechanical work needed”, I hopped on the deal quickly:
I did bribe my mechanic to check it out with me as:
1. He knows a lot more about ATVs than I do.
2. He has a truck to move the thing.
A couple funny things happened with this transaction. The first being the seller talking himself down before I even showed up to look at it. He had it listed for $500, which seemed fair, yet on the phone he told me “I’ll go down to $450 if you come get it right now.”
We showed up to the scene in rural Clinton, Maine… might as well have been straight out of American Pickers. In fact, the guy wouldn’t stop talking a mile a minute about how American Pickers is his favorite show and he met the crew when they were in Maine a couple years back.
The first impression of the ATV itself was not good. The guy couldn’t get it started. I remember standing there in the single digit weather, glancing over at my mechanic, giving him the ‘I’m pretty sure I just wasted both of our time look.’
Lo and behold, the thing started, and my mechanic determined it was flooded from when the guy took it out of storage earlier. He also found a couple of other minor issues, which I used as bargaining chips.
At the sellers request, we ended up flipping a coin for the final sale price – me at $400, him at $450. I would have been okay at $450, but that would also put me slightly out of the budget as far as sticking to my original plans of not going into pocket on this little endeavor.
Thankfully I won the coin toss, we loaded up the wheeler and took off.
My mechanic said I hit a home run, and should be able to re-sell this in the $800 range once the spring hits. That would mean a 400% increase from my starting point, but I’ll wait to see what happens before I get ahead of myself.
Until then, I’m going to post it up for trade on Craigslist and see if anything worth while comes in for trades before the spring season gets here.
Oh, and before I settled on the four wheeler, I posted an ad to see if anyone had anything interesting they wanted to offer for my $400… in only a few days time my inbox was flooded. Here’s some of the high(and low)lights below. I didn’t end up biting on anything, although a couple had potential.
I’m sure nothing could go wrong here:
This one actually looks fun and like a great deal. The seller and I couldn’t coordinate a good time and both of us just sort of lost interest I guess:
French fry stations:
I’m sure moving this up a flight of stairs would be fun:
I wonder if that’s a trailer under the leaves?
I sent a copy of this email below to my mechanic to see if there was any value here… his response was something along the lines of “please don’t”.
Wood pallets for walls:
I guess we all have different definitions of “decent”:
It needed a lot of work:
Update #5 • 6/16/17
Update #3 • 12/22/16
Update #2 • 10/7/16
Update #1 • 9/15/16
Need some updates here people gonna think you fell off the planet lol
Big update on the way!
So far you’ve been buying smart and relying on your expertise or someone else’s (in this blog, the expert was your mechanic). How many hours do you think you’ve spent looking through everything and talking to people? This is about more than the end goal though. It sounds like (as the saying goes) the journey is just as important as the destination.
Good question! I have no idea how much time I have invested, but it’s a lot. “the journey is just as important as the destination” – I like that, I’ll roll with it.