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The Three Things Every Classic Car Investor Should Know

So you’re thinking about flipping classic cars? Well, there’s only a few things to know that should help to guide even the most beginner car investors. While buying cars is somewhat similar across the board, there are a few niche items to look out for with classic cars. Assuming you have a small amount of experience with either vintage or enthusiast collector cars, buying cars to sell can be slightly different.

The first rule is to buy cheap. This is the most important part as making a profit is pertinent to success. The second rule is to know your way around simple, common issues. This can help to save thousands of dollars in mechanic labor fees. Lastly, prospective car investors should know a little bit about marketing. This is key to attaining a high price for a car on a marketplace or via classic car auctions. To better understand it, let’s take a closer look at these three rules.

Three Things to Know If You’re Going to Flip Classic Cars

  1. Buying Cheap

  2. Don’t Outsource Labor

  3. Know How to Sell


Buying Cheap

As stated earlier, this is one of the most important parts of making a profit when buying classic cars. No matter what the range of price is, car enthusiasts should scour the internet for the best deal available. This means looking through Craigslist, OfferUp, Facebook Marketplace, and anywhere that used cars are available.

In addition, sometimes there is a solid bargain to be had with online car auction sites. This includes those like Vendue House and Bring-A-Trailer. For example, if you’re going to sell a car for $6,000-7,000, you want to be in a purchase range of $1,500 to $3,000. At this price, the value of our investment will most likely remain.

In addition, considering it as an investment is extremely important. Getting too attached and spending more money than necessary can be the death of profit. Additionally, as an investment, we should work to limit our risk as much as possible. This means identifying any problems with the car, and working out how much it will be to fix it. As a rule of thumb, always add between 10-20% in to any potential repair costs. This ensures that there will be no unexpected fees. With all of this in mind, buying cheap continues to be the best way to make a potential profit.

Don’t Outsource Labor

This one goes out to all of the home mechanics out there. But if you don’t know your way around a wrench, you might want to factor this into the buying price. While not everyone can replace a wiring loom on a 1972 Triumph, buyers should know a few common things. While this mostly pertains to pre-1980s cars, the logic is similar with newer cars as well. For cars before the 1980s, you should know how to: change spark plugs, reset timing, change and set points and condenser, basic electrical knowledge, carburetor rebuilds, and a few others.

These key items can make the difference between spending $500 to get a car running and doing it yourself for a few hundred bucks. While its unlikely you’ll be able to do everything on your own, knowing a few basic skills can help to save some serious money. And every dollar spent is a dollar taken away from profit. Personally, I like to purchase the shop manual for any car I buy.

While many cars share similarities, shop manuals are the best way to ensure proper maintenance to a specific car. In addition, there is almost always a troubleshooting section with easy guides on where to look to solve an issue. Whether you’re a trained mechanic or a new car investor, knowing a few simple things can help to improve chances of profitability.

Know How to Sell

This is arguably one of the most important aspects of flipping cars. And, it applies to many other sales situations. Knowing how to sell goes beyond making a deal with a prospective buyer. The first step is to know your way around a basic camera. If you browse any of the popular car marketplaces, most of the advertisements are filled with screenshots of photos of cars or shots with no insight into what the car actually looks like.

I’m not saying that every car salesman has to be Ansel Adams, but taking good pictures can separate yours from the rest. With many good quality cameras going for under $500, investing in proper imaging materials can be a game-changer when it comes to selling cars. Once you’ve got the shots, it’s time to list. While it’s easy to put a simple description, buyers like to know as much as they can about a car.

In addition, adding a backstory or any known information can help to provide more background on your vehicle. Prospective owners of classic cars love to hear stories, and this is always a major plus when buying a car. After your car is listed, it comes down to response time and knowing what you’re talking about.

Most sellers on large marketplaces take hours if not days to respond. Separate yourself from the rest and respond as quickly as you can. Remember that most buyers will lose interest quickly, and there are thousands of cars for sale at any given moment. For this reason, it’s best to act quickly. Then, it comes down to phone calls and setting up a time to meet. Do some research, and know how to answer basic questions about the car you’re selling. This can help to inspire confidence amongst buyers.

Selling Cars is Fun!

At the end of the day, if you like cars, buying and selling can be a fun experience. Make sure you know your way around what to look for and how to buy cheaply. In addition, knowing how to use some basic tools to perform simple tasks can help save money. Lastly, using photography and marketing as a tool can ensure that your listing is different from the rest. With all these factors in mind, buying and selling cars can be fun and profitable.