Should You Really Sell Your Car?

# 1 Real Estate Man

Real Estate Man saw an old tenant recently. Tony rents the bike store at 40th and Baltimore in Philadelphia. He also happens to live a couple of blocks away from his shop, across from Webster Manor, a 48 unit building that Real Estate Man owned and managed.Tony approached Real Estate Man to reveal he wanted to sell his car, it was acting up. Did Real Estate Man know anyone interested?

He didn’t.

Tony took it upon himself to advertise the car on Craig’s List. A few days later, Tony and mentioned that he had a few interested parties. The next time Real Estate Man saw Tony he reported that he had a buyer. Wisely, this little piece of business was going to be a cash and title transaction; buyer brings in the cash and seller hands buyer the title as buyer hands seller the cash.

Real Estate Man’s story:

Tony asked if I would witness his sale — I agreed. For purposes of economy of time, I scheduled an appointment to show an apartment in Webster Manor which was across the street from Tony’s house where his car was parked. The simultaneous title transaction was to take place at 2:00 PM. My appointment was to be at 2:30. I saw Tony’s buyer going into his house at the designated time, just as my appointment pulled up at 2:00, a 1/2 hour early. I was forced to make the decision; show the apartment 1/2 hour early, then join Tony and buyer mid transaction or put off the apartment hunter until after car sale. Perhaps loose the prospective tenant forever. I decided on a quick 10 minute apartment showing then join the car sale with Tony. After all, the car buyer was just entering Tony’s house, surely nothing would be transacted in the first 10 minutes.

I showed the apartment and prospect was not interested.

I then quickly crossed the street and went into the house. The car buyer was quietly sitting in Tony’s living room. I said, “Hey” and received an unfriendly no answer. Tony called down a “Yo” greeting from his bedroom on the second floor where he was getting his car’s title.

Very shortly Tony came bounding down the stairs title in hand. Buyer still sitting silently. “ GOT THE TITLE SIGNED OVER…….”

No answer.

“UUUH, SIR?” still no answer,Tony gently touching buyers arm to get buyer’s attention but failed to illicit a response.


Ironically and tragically Tony’s buyer had died of a heart attack (we found out after the medical examiner left much later). It must have happened when Tony was in his room fetching the car title. Tony gave the guy a pat down and discovered the wad of cash to pay for the car.

Title in hand, wad of cash in the pocket — buyer dead — no Tony — DON’T EVEN THINK IT. He did the right thing— left everything untouched and called 911.

They were very responsive. Within 5 minutes there were no less than 2 EMT ambulances, 2 police cars, and the medical examiner roaring down the formally quiet residential street. All cars that were equipped with sirens had them blasting, the whole gang of them simultaneously pulling up in front of Tony’s house. But then — the piece de resistance, — a fire truck arrived. No room left for parking in the street. That big beautiful machine , which is bravely and efficiently used to put out fires, wedged it’s great hulk between my apartment building and the street. The drivers of the truck used a combination of the building’s front lawn and the sidewalk on which to park.This maneuver set off an odd sequence of events that directly affected me. The huge truck perched itself on the 4x4 inch water cap on the sidewalk. What are the chances of the happening? The weight of the truck caused the pipe under the cap to be forced down rupturing the main 10 feet under the street. That, in turn, caused a 20 foot guyser drenching everything drench-able — most of which was on my property.

As calmly as possible I called 911 for assistance and was referred to the proper department. The person handling the call sleep walked though the answer probably scripted for such an urgent plea for help. In an unsympathic voice the robowoman said the city didn’t handle water main breaks that only involved one building, no matter how large. Robowoman instructed me to have my own plumber handle the problem, pay him and send the receipt to the city. The city would send me the money. Could this actually happen? PAY ME BACK??? REALLY??? WHEN…. the 31st of February?

I’m sure you’re all waiting for the end of this story either that or waiting for this story to end.

I called my plumber. He came over immediately, fixed the problem with a minimum of damage to the property and the environment. Billed me $9,487 which I paid. I sent the receipt into the city and approximately a week later they sent me a check for $9,487.

Sometimes, things just work out.

AND, OH — Tony kept his car for another 5 years. Ran beautifully.

A lifetime of philosophical, psychological, physical and fiscal involvement. Above all, a storyteller.