Ways to Buy a Car from a Private SellerIf you are in the market to buy a previously owned car, you have some options. Many people tend to visit local dealership(s) to view their inventory; however, if you are looking for a used car at a reasonable price, you may want to consider a private seller. While many private sellers do offer great deals, there are some key concerns of which you should be aware to get the vehicle you want safely and securely. Read on to learn ways you can buy a car from a private seller.

Typical Considerations Before Buying from a Private Seller

Do Your Homework- If you find a pre-owned car you are interested in, do your homework. Researching that car can give you a better idea about overall quality, performance, and typical mechanical issues of that year, make, and model.  Also, it is recommended you read as many reviews as possible so you have a better idea of what you are hoping to get.

Negotiate Price- Many dealerships refuse to negotiate; in fact, prices are typically straightforward.  However, private sellers will typically have some “wiggle room” when it comes to negotiating the price.  What you need to know is before you enter negotiations, research the value of the car.  This can be done by looking at the value in the Kelly Blue Book and/or looking at inventories at dealerships for that particular year, make, and model of the car in question.  This way, you can be confident in your initial offer.  Start with a lower offer and work your way towards a price you both are confident with.

Quality Control- When shopping at your local dealership, they typically provide the CarFax report which shows any prior accidents that car has been involved in, service history, and owner history.  If you find a vehicle you are interested in from a private seller, you need to obtain a CarFax report which can be done by putting in the car’s VIN number to access the needed history on that car.  If that looks favorable, then make sure you ask to test drive the vehicle to access how well the car drives. Once you drive it, you will either be confident on how it drives, or you may find some things you don’t like.

Exercise Caution When Buying- Assuming you love the car and agree on a fair price suitable to you and the private owner, make sure you get legal ownership of the car.  Some key considerations when buying the car:

  • Use caution when meeting- Make sure you meet in a safe and public location. Also, it is wise to verify the seller’s identity and address.
  • Avoid cash payouts- Cash is not traceable so instead consider using a money order or check. If something happens, the check or money order can be traced, whereas cash can’t. Also, avoid wire transfers or cashier’s checks as these are difficult to trace and can be used for fraudulent activities. If the seller tries to get you to use these types of payments, you should be concerned.
  • Get a notarized title- Any seller who is hesitant to provide you the title or tries to sell the car without one should be avoided. You must have a notarized title from the seller to gain legal ownership of the car.

Buying a car from a private seller can be a great way to save money; however, you must be prepared to do your homework to ensure you get a vehicle at a fair price that you will want to drive with confidence. In the end, knowing you are getting a reliable car will be worth the time and energy. If you have any questions or concerns about buying a vehicle from a private seller, contact our offices at Burkett & Associates and we will assist you.  Don’t wait!  Call today at 256-704-7400.