Buying a used car from a dealership can be tricky, but buying a used car privately can be a real challenge and a risk if you don’t know what you are doing. Some people prefer to buy cars from private individuals so they don’t have to deal with games that car salesmen play, while some car buyers like buying used vehicles direct from the owners because there is typically a substantial savings. This post will walk you through the steps of buying a used car from a private party.
Considerations When Buying a Used Car Privately
One very important point to keep in mind when you buy an automobile privately rather than from a dealership is that a dealership has a degree of responsibility for the vehicle they sell. There may not be a warranty from the car dealer, but they are responsible to the point that they can not misrepresent a vehicle or sell a car that has title problem or has any type of conflicting information. However when a private party sells a car to another person privately there is no warranty or obligation of any kind except what has been written and signed by both parties and notarized. In other words, be careful and follow these steps for buying a used car privately to protect yourself and your money.
Alright let’s get started with the best part of buying a car, and that is to look at all your possible choices and narrowing it down to just a few. There are many places where you can find used cars for sale privately. You can look through your local paper, you can look online for websites that advertise used cars for individuals and sometimes you can find that perfect car on the side of the road or in someone’s driveway with a “For Sale” sign in the window. I like to go to Yahoo Autos and look at the used cars that are for sale by individuals because they usually have a good selection.
Once you find that special used car that catches your eye you need to give the seller a call and ask some questions about the vehicle. You will want to ask them about the selling or asking price, the mileage, the overall condition, history of the car and my personal favorite, “why are you selling the car”. If you were satisfied with the answers you have received the next step to buying a used car privately is to meet the seller and look the car over in person. Be careful with this step, because you don’t want to be going to unsafe or dangerous neighborhoods in order to see the car. I recommend that you do not go alone and that you only go in the daylight hours to areas where you feel comfortable. Your safety is more important than any used car.
Private Party Used Car Inspection and Test Drive
The next used car buying step is to look the car over closely. We have a used car buying checklist that can help you make sure you don’t leave anything out during your inspection. Take your time because the time you spend going over the vehicle now can save you a bundle later. If the private party used car seller tries to rush you or makes you feel like they are being put out you may want to pass on the car. Sometimes when people that sell used cars privately may be selling it themselves because there is a problem with the vehicle and the car dealer will not give them what they owe because of the problem.
Now it’s time for the test drive. This is where it all comes together if you are familiar with the inner workings of an automobile. We have used car buying checklist that covers the fine points of test driving a used car and what to look for and listen for when your look it over. If you are not knowledgeable about cars and the inner workings it would be a good idea to bring a friend that could help insect the vehicle or ask the seller if you can have a mechanic check it over. Buying a used car privately can be taking a big risk because there will not be any warranty and you can’t change your mind and return a car to the seller, which is part of the used car buying basics.
Now that you have inspected the used car and taken it for a test drive and everything is satisfactory so far the next step is to research the history. Your best defense against any type of car scam when buying a used car privately is to get a vehicle history report. A vehicle history report can provide you with a great deal of information about a used car. It will show how many owners the car has had, remaining factory warranty, outstanding recalls, if there were any major accidents, if the car was ever in a flood or in the car was stolen and never recovered. The few bucks it cost to get a history report can potentially save you a fortune and avoid a lot of headaches. I prefer AutoCheck because they are very thorough and the price is usually a little cheaper than the competitors. I would never buy a used car from a private party or a car dealer without seeing the vehicle history report.
The next step to buying a used car privately is to work out the selling price. Private car sellers typically ask a higher price than they are willing to accept for the vehicle so it’s time for a little negotiation. Based on your inspection and test drive you need to decide how much you are will to pay whether it is their asking price or something lower. Remember, it’s just business. You are the buyer and they are the seller, there is no need to insult the buyer, but you must feel comfortable with your offer and hopefully the both of you can come to a mutual agreement of the selling price of the vehicle.
This final step for buying a used car from a private party is do the paperwork and pay the seller. You want to make sure the seller has the title and that both of you fill out a bill of sale. The paperwork must include the full names of both buyer and seller along with addresses, phone numbers and signatures. The document must include the date, the selling price and any other terms or conditions to which both parties agree. Then pay the seller and drive your new car to the Department of Motor Vehicles or to the police department depending upon the process in your state. Some states require the police department to check the vehicle identification number before the DMV will license the vehicle. Keep in mind that your state DMV will also charge you a sales tax or flat tax based on the year of the vehicle. You can find this out buy calling your local D.M.V.
There you go, we just went through the steps to buying a used car privately. You can see there is a little more for you to do because there is not a dealership involved. If you are willing to do that little extra and take the risk you can save a great deal of money when you buy a used car from a private party.