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Old 12-17-2018, 09:46 AM   #1
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Question for experienced SMBers

I have a buddy trying to buy a van out of state. Looks like a great rig for a reasonable price. He has spoken on the phone with the seller, asked for specific pictures of different parts of the van and received them the next day, so it definitely is real and not a scam.

On the last phone call with the seller they agreed to a price just slightly below asking, and my buddy let him know he can fly out in 2 weeks, after the holidays, to pick up the van. The seller then asks him for a $5k deposit up front.

Naturally my buddy buying the van is a little apprehensive and I can't blame him. I don't have any experience with this so was hoping some of the more experienced buyers here could let me know if this is common practice or not, and if the deposit amount is reasonable.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-17-2018, 09:54 AM   #2
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It's really going to amount to trust. $5000 as a percent of what? I would only give a courtesy deposit to hold. I still need to inspect the vehicle. So the play would be "I will give you x if all holds true; I will give you this much to give me first right of refusal".

I would make sure to know the vin, who is the rightful owner and see a photo of the title with today's paper or some other proof of being an authentic item.

There are probably escrow services for this but the seller can tell them to stuff off if they don't want to bother.
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Old 12-17-2018, 10:00 AM   #3
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It's really going to amount to trust. $5000 as a percent of what? I would only give a courtesy deposit to hold. I still need to inspect the vehicle. So the play would be "I will give you x if all holds true; I will give you this much to give me first right of refusal".

I would make sure to know the vin, who is the rightful owner and see a photo of the title with today's paper or some other proof of being an authentic item.

There are probably escrow services for this but the seller can tell them to stuff off if they don't want to bother.
Thanks for the reply. $5k deposit on an agreed upon total price of $32k, so over 15%. Thanks for the tips, I will forward them along to my buddy.
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Old 12-17-2018, 10:16 AM   #4
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At a minimum, some sort of contract expressing the terms and conditions of the sale, what happens if the buyer or seller walks away, what happens if something is not as represented, the amount of the sale price, the amount of the deposit....




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Old 12-17-2018, 10:45 AM   #5
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Yeah, be careful, I would suggest a much lower deposit... maybe just a hundred or two just to show the buyer is serious... 5K just to hold it seems very steep.
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:10 AM   #6
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These vans are in high demand! If I were your buddy I would do whatever it took to get to the van ASAP and make the transaction.

My $0.02 are that a deposit (albeit $5k or $500) has the potential to get messy. Chances are that in the time from now until 2-weeks after the holidays the seller is going to get more offers. If its a sweet van more than likely those offers will be over the asking price, or over the agreed upon sale price to your friend.

It is going to be very hard for the seller to turn down more money and a guaranteed sale, to wait for an out of state buyer to make the journey out. The nature of used car sales (or anything on Craigslist etc) is that buyers deal with a lot of flakes. Even with an agreement, do not underestimate the value of a buyer showing up with money in hand.

I bought my van in Kansas City and was on a flight the day after I found it. By the time I arrived the seller had 10 backup offers ready to go and that was less than a 24 hour turnaround....
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:32 AM   #7
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I have a buddy trying to buy a van out of state. Looks like a great rig for a reasonable price. He has spoken on the phone with the seller, asked for specific pictures of different parts of the van and received them the next day, so it definitely is real and not a scam.

On the last phone call with the seller they agreed to a price just slightly below asking, and my buddy let him know he can fly out in 2 weeks, after the holidays, to pick up the van. The seller then asks him for a $5k deposit up front.

Naturally my buddy buying the van is a little apprehensive and I can't blame him. I don't have any experience with this so was hoping some of the more experienced buyers here could let me know if this is common practice or not, and if the deposit amount is reasonable.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-17-2018, 11:40 AM   #8
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First Come First Served!! Simple as that
Yeah that sounds like the best course of action. If he is very serious about buying it, which I believe he is, he should probably just not pay a deposit and get there ASAP to buy the van.
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:04 PM   #9
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I genenrally do $500-1000 as a deposit. And I send it PayPal if possible as you can then use them to fight it.

$5000 is a lot. But if it’s a good deal and a good van, your buddy might have to take a risk. Cause the next guy will, and then your buddy will miss out.
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Old 12-17-2018, 02:34 PM   #10
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I've given and received anywhere from 1-10% as a deposit. As a seller, if I take a small deposit (1%), its taken as non refundable. As others have said, if it's a good deal and your buddy is serious, try to have him get there sooner than later.

If the seller is firm on the $5,000 deposit, just make sure both parties agree to the terms and have the terms in writing (email or text will hold up in court) with both parties stating that they agree.
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