BMW is one of the most valuable brands to purchase second-hand due its high rate of depreciation. You can get a very well-preserved vehicle that you’ll enjoy driving, for a highly-discounted price. The best place to buy a second-hand BMW is directly from the previous private owner.
Why purchase a used BMW from a private owner instead of a dealership?
By purchasing privately from a previous owner, you can not only get a better deal by hugely influencing the price, but you can also get a better vehicle if you follow the tips of this article.
Dealerships are professionals. If a salesperson leads you inside the dealership, you are most likely going to end up with a car. Making sure you’ve done all the research before you enter a dealership or go to the private owner will make all the difference in the world.
It is much harder to get the upper hand in negotiations against a dealership. Private owners often don’t have the budget for professional photos, and they don’t paint and polish the vehicle before each prospective buyer comes to check out the car. This means you can find more scratches and inconsistencies to get a lower price.
Private owners know more about their car than the dealership does
You will be getting first-hand information on what has happened with the vehicle over the years. The private owner will have been driving it for a while before selling it. They should know how the car behaves, if it has any faults or quirks. Whereas a dealership would only have acquired it from somewhere with minor knowledge about its past.
They will be knowledgeable about the model and the brand, but will know little about the car itself, and that is what matters most with most BMWs.
Important questions to ask the private owner before purchasing
It is very important to ask the right questions, in order to find out whether the owners are honest or not. If you catch them lying about something minor, they are most likely also lying about something else, perhaps something more serious like previous accidents or engine faults.
Are they the first owner of the car?
If they are the first owner of the car, they will know its entire history. If you ask them whether it has ever been crashed and they say no, but later you discover with the VIN check that it has been, then go away and never look back. This leads us to the next question.
Has the car been in any accidents?
If the car has been in a minor accident, don’t rush away just yet. However, if there has been any engine damage, tread with caution.
What is the VIN number?
Also, make sure to always check whether the VIN on the engine matches the one in the documents of the vehicle.
More importantly, always take the car for a test drive and take your time. Try all the features there are and enjoy the ride. After all, you are purchasing a BMW.
What research to do before purchasing a second-hand BMW
Before you start, make sure you know everything there is to know about the model you are thinking of purchasing. Know the variety of the different models, trim levels and engine options of the vehicle.
Get to know the specific model
More often than not, a smart purchaser will know more about the car model than the person he is buying it from. Demonstrating the knowledge you have about the brand and the vehicle in front of the seller, will often net you a discount and put you in a position of power during the negotiations.
Be ready for future depreciation
Don’t expect to later sell the BMW for the same price you bought it. BMW cars lose their value quickly. The cost of maintenance is also something you should keep in mind before purchasing. Luxury car parts are sometimes hard to come by, and they are just as expensive as they sound.
Check the vehicle’s private history
Whatever vehicle you are purchasing, BMW or not, always make sure to get a vehicle history report or VHR. This will help you learn about the previous owner. You will be able to find out whether they’ve had any accidents, possible liens, warranties and so on.
Which VHRs to use?
You can ask the previous owner for the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and search online for the free report. VHRs that are very reliable and include, but are not limited to, AutoCheck, Carfax, and the NMVTIS (National Motor Vehicle Title Information System)
Check the warranty
In addition to the VHR and history report, make sure to always check whether the vehicle is still in warranty and what the condition of the warranty is. Get to know what it covers, and if something has been covered already. You can also make an enquiry to know whether it is possible to extend the warranty for future use by making an additional payment
This may seem obvious, but make sure to compare the price with other similar cars on the market, both from dealerships and private owners.
Second-hand BMW FAQ
Is it worth purchasing a 10-year-old second-hand BMW?
A 10-year-old BMW can be a great value, but only if you are not planning on using it for everyday use. The reason for that is the number of repairs that would pile up each month. It will most likely average more than $400 in repairs per month.
Can used BMW cars be reliable?
Depending on the BMW model, and whether it has been properly maintained and serviced, old BMW cars can be very reliable. The older E36 and E46 models are some of the most reliable cars ever made by BMW.
Why does the BMW resale value drop so quickly?
BMW cars lose value and depreciate quickly after being purchased for a variety of reasons. One of the major reasons is that more than 50 percent of the BMWs sold are leased vehicles. Other reasons for their depreciation include irresponsible driving, poor maintenance by first-time inexperienced owners, and the oversaturated market of old BMW cars.