Pros And Cons Of Buying A Used Car From A Private Seller

Used Ford Explorer

When you’re buying a used car, there are many factors to consider and plenty of choices available. If you find the car you like and it’s through a private seller, here are some of the things you need to know.

A Used Car Will Normally Cost Less

Generally speaking, the same used car will be more expensive at dealerships than if you buy through a private seller. The reasons are simple – a private seller has no overhead and no sales quota to reach. You’ll also avoid upsells, high-pressure sales tactics and added extras such as dealership fees. Regardless of where you buy any used car, you also save money on car insurance, registration, taxes and depreciation.

You’ll Probably Get More Background on the Car

You can meet the car owner in person and get a sense of what they’re like. Are they a 21-year old selling a Ford Mustang? Or an 81 year-old grandma who’s the sole owner of a well kept Honda Pilot? The seller probably has more information about the car than a dealer and can thoroughly describe its condition, provide its history and hopefully they kept good maintenance records. And you can decide whether to trust their word or not.

You Can Quickly Negotiate a Price

Private sellers usually price their cars fairly and are more flexible, so you have room to haggle further. They may be very motivated to sell, and you can quickly and easily settle on a price that both parties are happy with. In some cases, a private seller may hold too high a value on a vehicle that has been customized or perhaps holds some sentimental value.

On the flipside there are some cons to be aware of when you purchase from a private seller.

There’s No Warranty, No Guarantees and No Returns

When buying used from an individual, the onus is on you to check everything’s in order. It’s best to have it checked out by a mechanic prior to purchase, which applies to any used car you buy. You have to run your own car fax and there’s no used car certification, which can typically give you some warranty. With a cash-only deal, there’s no going back.

A Private Seller Has No Reputation To Uphold

Dealers have their reputation at stake and a business would rather avoid irate buyers and bad reviews from a flawed car sale. Since they’re not in the business, private sellers don’t have a reputation to preserve and are just trying to offload a vehicle. If there are ensuing problems there may be no recourse. In this way, it if far safer to choose from a selection of used cars at a reputable dealership.

You Have To Do All The Paperwork

Buying from a dealer takes the pressure off of you as a buyer. They do all the paperwork for you – but you do pay extra for this service. With a private sale you have to register the vehicle yourself. Make sure you check beforehand with the DMV that you have all you need, as it may be difficult to contact the seller after a purchase.

In addition, some private sellers may not let you test-drive the vehicle. And they may have hidden reasons as to why they’re selling it. Be careful when dealing with strangers.

As always with a used purchase – do your homework! Always know what you’re buying, and from whom.

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