Should You Buy a Used Car From a Private Party Seller?

When you’re in the market for a new car, there is only one place to go – a new car dealership – but when you’re in the market for a used car, you have two options –a dealership or private party. Which is better for your situation?
Should You Buy a Used Car From a Private Party Seller?

Picking out a car that you’re going to have for the next few years is a big decision, and if you need to finance that purchase – it’s an even bigger decision. So say, you’re looking for a gently used, well-running, low-mileage vehicle, but you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on it. Where do you go? Some people choose to go to a used car dealership for their car buying experience, but some people prefer the private party seller route more.

A private party seller is just an individual that is looking to sell their current car, as opposed to, turning it in at a dealership. There are many different reasons a person may choose to go this route, but as a buyer it could be advantageous to you.

You Could Benefit From a Private Party Purchase

Some people are worried about getting ripped off when they buy a car from a private party, but what they don’t know is the benefits it could pose to you. For instance, vehicles sold on a dealership lot are usually much more expensive than the same one being sold by your neighbor. Why? Well a dealership wants to turn a big profit, and in order to do that they have to take into account:

  • The cost of advertising the vehicle
  • Any repair costs the car may need
  • Reconditioning the interior and exterior
  • The salesperson commission they make when they sell the car

In order for them to make a profit on an automobile after paying these fees, they must raise the number on the price tag slightly or sometimes a lot.

Often times, car owners that take impeccable care of their vehicles opt to sell the car privately because they think their trade-in is worth more than the dealer is offering. A car that runs great, and has all the service records still can be worth hundreds – or in extreme cases, thousands – more than the dealership offered for their trade-in. This doesn’t just benefit the private party seller, however.

Buying a car that has been taken care of properly and has the paperwork to back it up is a huge benefit for the buyer because there is no guessing game involved. Also, while the asking price is more than what the dealership offered for the car, it is often less than what the dealership would ask for had they bought it.

On top of the benefits mentions above, buying a car from a private party seller is usually easier to negotiate and agree on a price. This is because the seller is eager to get rid of the vehicle, and they are less likely to play games with a buyer that seems to be seriously interested in the car. In many cases, you can negotiate a selling price within a few minutes, without too much haggling.

Private Party Purchases Aren’t for Everyone

Purchasing a car from a private party isn’t for everyone as there are some negative aspects to it. For example, you are meeting up with a complete stranger, and that can be a little unnerving to some people. This is why meetings should always be arranged during the day and at a busy place. You should always bring someone with you to the meeting, preferably someone that knows about cars so you can kill two birds with one stone – they can help you check the car out for any damage or problems that may throw you off, and give some comfort and safety should you need it. 

Another big downfall is that these vehicles don’t come with any guarantee or warranty attached to them – unless the car is fairly new and has not used the manufacturer’s warranty. When you buy a car from a dealership they generally come with a certified used car warranty for any major repairs that could arise. These are generally for 3 months/3,000 miles or 6 months/6,000 miles, and some may even have a money-back guaranteed program.

Because used cars from a private seller do not come with these things it’s up the buyer to thoroughly inspect the vehicle and have it checked by a certified mechanic that they trust. Not having this done could end up costing you hundreds or thousands of dollars in repair costs which could add up to more than you paid for the car.

The last biggest downfall of privately purchasing a car is the fact that you must take care of all the details on your own. This includes transferring the title and tags, arranging auto financing if necessary, and selling your own car if you have one. These things can make buying a car from a certified used car dealership worth it.

As We See It

Every person’s personal situation is different and everyone has different preferences when it comes time to buy a car, but we can make the process a bit easier by helping you compare the pros and cons to private party sellers. If you like the idea of having a warranty or money-back guarantee then you may wish to proceed with a dealership. If you like the idea of getting a better price on the car you really want and not dealing with any sales tactics then a private party purchase may be the right road for you.

Regardless of where you wish to purchase a car from you should always obtain financing first. This will allow you to know where your budget should be, and help avoid falling in love with a vehicle you can’t afford to buy. Apply today at AutoCreditExpress.com to get a pre-approved car loan, and you could be on your way to driving your new used car home tomorrow.

Posted on October 31, 2013 by in Used Cars
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