In order to leave South America we needed to make a decision regarding the car and actually, one of the most asked questions we got throughout the trip was: What are you going to do with the car at the end of the journey?!?
When we bought the car we considered several solutions (by reverse order of preference):
- Abandon it
If everything else failed we considered the possibility to abandon the car somewhere on the street. However, this would carry the risk of the car being taken by someone and used for bad purposes. To counter this, we thought about going to the police to declare it stolen before flying.
- Destroy it
In this option we jokingly said we would send it off a cliff. However, even though it would add a dramatic effect to the end of the journey, it would be very complicated and risky to implement. So, instead we considered the opportunity to take it to a junkyard (called “chatarrería”) and sell it or give it away. This option had 2 negatives and a doubt: it would waste a perfectly good car and would make us travel somewhere out of Lima to places we were trying to avoid. How would this be treated by local authorities?
- Sell it for parts
This would be the second best alternative for us: we would get some value for the car (even though it would somewhat waste it) but we would have the same negatives and doubt as destroying the car. The only positive would be the better value we could get from the car.
- Sell it to someone to drive
This was our preferred option of course. The trouble was that we had no idea what the process would be to sell the car, if it would be possible to legalize it in Peru and if anyone had interest in going through the trouble. Even so, we decided to explore this option and here is how we did it!
Defining the price
Given that we had limited time to sell the car and the process would be complicated, we wanted to have a very competitive price that would attract many buyers so we could choose one that would give us some guarantee that things would go smoothly and quickly.
To do so, we went to several sites to check the market value of similar cars with similar kms. It turns out car prices in Peru are artificially inflated by excessive import taxes which also inflates used car prices (Brexit anyone?). But given that our car would have to go through the import process, we had to take in consideration that to define our price.
Given that we estimated the local market price was around 6,000 USD (all cars are priced in USD due to devaluation of the Peruvian Sole) and that import taxes could amount up to 50% of the value, we decide to put it on sale for 2,500 USD.
Finding a buyer
To find a buyer we tried either sell it to a car dealership or to an individual.
First we tried to go to a dealership in Miraflores but as expected, they immediately discarded doing the import process and said that it had to be done by us before considering putting the car on sale. Given that we did not have time to do this we started to question if the selling option was even possible but decided to try and see if we could sell to an individual.
With the great price and even with the indication that the car had a Brazilian plate, we immediately got several contacts from each site with people interested. Some people were questioning how the process would be to import the car, others wanted to see it during the following weekend but one actually was available to see it the following day. It was a Dutch captain living in Lima for 8 years and he ended up being the only person we showed the car to and the final buyer of the car. He had a local lawyer that took care of all the legal things for him and would do the import process of the car. Having agreed the sale, we thought the most difficult would over. We were wrong.
The actual sale process
The actual sale process was also not a simple task. You needed to go to a local notary and sign a Private Vehicle Sale & Purchase Agreement (you can search online for this) and provide the following document to the buyer:
- Ownership document
- Customs entry document
- Valid SOAT (local insurance document)
Given that we were not doing the import process ourselves, we had to also give a “Power of attorney” letter to the lawyer so he could take care of it without needing our presence (you can search online for this).
All this should be simple to do, but when we arrived to the notary (despite having been there the previous day asking what we would need to sign) we were informed that, as a tourist we would have to have a “Special authorization to sign contracts”! This could only be obtained from the Immigration office so we had to postpone the contract signature and head downtown. Fortunately it was Thursday, so if we could do it in the same day, we would be able to still sign the next day.
We took a taxi to the immigration office and the experience at first was much better than anticipated. The services and process were well organized and going through the booths and payment was quite simple: we got to the final step of the process in less than half an hour. But the final process was the worst. To get the final stamp we had to wait for over 1 hour given that the booth people were busy talking to the contracted lawyers that go there every day and don’t wait in line. When we finally got the stamp, we were finally ready to sign! But first we went back to the notary to confirm again that we had everything needed… The next day, we got there early and finally signed and had only to wait another 45 minutes to get the final stamp recognizing the signatures.
And that is how we were able to sell our car in Peru and effectively ending our driving adventure in South America!