Friday, January 8, 2010

Wishful Thinking

Why is it that most people who are trying to sell a used Harley-Davidson think they are sitting on a gold mine?

Case in point: A friend of mine, who works for a large corporation that has inter-office computer classified ads, forwarded me an ad he spotted for a 1999 Dyna Low Rider. The woman selling the bike is asking $9,500.

Now, the Kelly Blue Book retail value (a price one might expect to pay at a dealer) is $8,440. But, a private-party sale should be less than retail, since a private seller offers no warranty; you are buying the bike "as is." The trade-in value, according to KBB, is $6,170. So, a $7,000 offer is not unreasonable, in my opinion. Not to mention that 1999 is the year Harley big twins had the cam bearing issues.

The NADA guide values the bike between approximately $5,500 and $6,500 retail, which some feel is more representative of a motorcycle's true value, but most people selling bikes naturally go by the higher Kelly Blue Book values.

Anyway, I called the seller's phone number and informed her that book value on her bike is about $8,500 - IF it were being sold by a dealer with a warranty. I said I would only be interested in the bike if she was willing to consider an offer of around $7,000 to $7,500.

The woman, Jeannine, responded that the book value is $14,000. I asked her what book she got that price from and she said Kelly Blue Book.

Shaking my head, I said, "That must not be same the Kelly Blue Book I'm looking at."

Jeannine acted like $9,500 was a real bargain, adding that she received several calls. She did not offer to lower the price, so our conversation was brief.

It's a strange market for used Harleys. For about $500 less than she's asking for her '99 Low Rider, I could buy a 2005 Night Train from my local Harley dealer.

I just don't get it ... with the economy in the tank, high unemployment, layoffs and foreclosures still a regular occurrence, this is supposed to be a buyer's market. Where's the bargains?

1 comment:

  1. Ken - Trying to figure out used Harley pricing is the quickest way I know to the asylum. Figure out what's important to you and what you're prepared to pay. The bike is out there somewhere if your expectations are reasonable and you can be a bit patient.