There are many different ways one can buy a car these days. You can either buy a new car or a used one, you can lease it, finance it or buy it outright. Whether it be an auction, a dealer, or a private party seller, you always have to make sure you are buying a car that will not break down the moment you drive it of the lot.
Buying a new car is the safest option when it comes to reliability and pure convenience, but it does come with a hefty price increase which tends to decrease significantly the moment you turn the car on. As such, buying a new car is not for everyone, especially so if you are experienced enough buying used cars.
Buying from a dealer also comes with numerous benefits such as several different payment methods, an old car trade-in, or even a warranty. On the other hand, buying from private owners enables you to get the best deals possible, and you can find these through classified ads, your local community, social media, and newspaper ads.
As such, we have rounded up a few important factors you need to consider if you are buying a car from a private party. However, if you are not experienced enough, or don’t have the necessary mechanical knowledge, be sure to consult yourself with an experienced mechanic or salesperson before you make the move.
Most private sellers tend to list their cars on sites such as Craigslist, eBay Motors, AutoTrader, Mobile.de, and such. It’s worth mentioning that the majority of listings are made by dealers and wholesalers, but there are also many private sellers as well.
If a private party is selling the car, there are a few different ways you can tell. Most listings have a distinct section in which it clearly states if a dealer is selling the car or not. You can also look for registered business names on the profile of the seller which should also help you determine if it’s a private seller or not.
You can also ask around your local community if someone is selling a car, or knows someone who is selling a car you are interested in. Social media outlets such as Facebook Marketplace are filled with private owners who are selling their cars.
Lastly, you should always go through newspaper ads as this can also be a place where many private owners list their cars for sale.
Benefits of buying a car from a private seller
There are several different advantages to buying a car from a private seller. There are no hidden fees, the selection is often greater and the car in question can also often be a better value all around. Moreover, buying from dealers also means that you are buying a car from someone who has sold hundreds if not thousands of cars before you came in.
If you don’t want to finance or lease your car, but you still want the best deal possible, it’s only logical to consider buying a car from a private seller. This way you will not have to pay as much as $1000 in dealer fees because a private seller is not as interested in making a profit.
Private sellers are not keen on pitching in different kinds of warranties and packages in order to earn more money. Furthermore, buying a car from a private seller usually takes less time as everyone just wants to finish the deal and get back to whatever they do.
Drawbacks of buying a car from a private seller
Although buying from private sellers enables you to maximize your profits, it also comes with a few significant drawbacks such as no warranties, no financing or leasing, no money-back guarantee, no reviews, no customer service, and an increased risk of hidden issues or damages.
As stated, the only way you can get a warranty when buying from a private seller is if the car comes with a 3rd party warranty already, and if it does, such cars usually cost more anyway so it’s not really a benefit. You can’t finance nor lease a car from a private owner which is rather tricky for those who are not willing to cash out immediately.
If something breaks or starts causing issues, you can’t do anything about it after you’ve made the purchase. You can’t contact customer service or ask back for your money. You are on your own and you need to know what you are doing.
What should I do if the private seller does not have the car title?
In that case, you should ask the seller to apply for a duplicate, if he is not willing to do so, you should just turn around and cancel the sale altogether. If a title is not present, there is no way you can know if the title is clear or not.
You should especially skip buying the car if the price is too good to be true and there is no title on hand. These types of cars can often be stolen or in need of serious repairs which tend to increase the purchasing costs exponentially.
Should I do a pre-purchase inspection if I’m buying from a private seller?
You should always do a pre-purchase inspection as this is the only way you can tell for certain if the car is as good as it seems. If the owner is not willing to pay for the pre-purchase inspection, that’s fine.
However, if the owner does not want you to do a pre-purchase inspection, that’s usually a sign that something is wrong with the car. A pre-purchase inspection is a logical necessity, and if you can’t do it, just walk away and save yourself the trouble.
What should I always do before I buy a car from a private owner?
Besides asking for the title and doing a pre-purchase inspection, the two most important things are to check the car’s VIN and to test drive the car thoroughly. It’s never a good idea to buy a car sight unseen, no matter how trustworthy the seller is.
Maybe the car in question simply is not what you expected it to be. This is often the case between two virtually identical cars because they were driven and used by entirely different people for entirely different purposes.