I take it we are talking about the same price range we discussed offline recently. If so I happen to know as a fellow farmer that is a good chunk out of the farming budget. Therefore, I would pay the way that would come closest to guaranteeing that I get what I pay for (but then I’m that way on even a small amount).
1.Get in writing the agreed upon price, the agreed upon delivery, guaranteed condition (or as is if that is the case) etc. A contract, fax back and forth with witnessed signatures on both ends. Faxzero is a free online fax service for x amount of pages in a certain time period so this would cost neither of you anything.
2.Payment if you do a check do a cashier’s check, overnight it and make him sign that he got it.
3.Wire transfer will cost you to send and him to receive, unless he has a special deal with his bank.
4.Paypal, just changed a bunch of their rules and I’m not certain they now let you retrieve money – unsecured personal loans (UPL) if something goes wrong with the payment/delivery for non-ebay items. Check that and find out for certain BEFORE going this route. If they do still have it or if your debit card is a Visa that has that protection on it, then I’d go that route. No extra fees on your end, but it might cost him on his end and you may have negotiate that.
5.If you decide to drive, then get a cheap rental car to just go look, or if you would bring it home right then(not likely with the size of a combine), rent a reliable vehicle to pull it back. I know it would be a long day, but you could do that drive both ways in one day. Pack an ice chest and eat on the road. Doing the rental would be cheaper than a motel and far less nerve racking on driving the “what if?” truck.
6.If you pay for it that day, definitely get a receipt and take your own photos with the time date stamp on of the condition of the unit the day you paid for it—life happens, vandals happens and bait and switches happen. Also get vin or whatever id numbers a combine has on them of the unit you are discussing (to prevent bait and switch) and take a photo of that number if you are there too.