Millions of new cars are bought every year, but not everyone is in the market for a new set of wheels. If you need a car and are considering purchasing a used car, buying one from a private party is worth your consideration. Private party used cars will usually cost you less than one purchased from a dealer. Buying privately does carry some risks including no warranty to protect you in the event that something goes wrong.
The following are some points to consider when shopping for a private party used car:
1. Determine your budget. How much money do you have on hand to buy a car? Used car prices have risen dramatically in recent years which means you’ll be paying thousands, not hundreds for just about any car. If you don’t have enough cash available, talk with your banker or credit union professional about obtaining a used car loan.
2. Begin your search. There are plenty of places to look for a used car including in your neighborhood, around town or online. If you’re looking for a specific make and model, search locally through Craigslist as well as via your search engine. Type in the make, model and year in the search box with your city. Sift through the results to find vehicles that are sold by a private party.
3. Compare prices. Prices for used vehicles should be close to what NadaGuides.com or Edmunds.com lists these for. Vehicle prices are set by make and model, model year, vehicle condition, mileage and other factors including trim levels. Nail down a price that seems reasonable and go from there.
4. Contact sellers individually. Once you have found one or more vehicles that fit your parameters, then contact each seller directly to arrange for a review and a drive. Inspect the vehicle closely for signs of wear to the tires, its finish, the interior and its mechanics including the engine, transmission and exhaust system. If you find a car that is of interest to you, ask the seller if you can have your mechanic inspect it independently. Your mechanic’s advice is worth the $50 or more you’ll pay him for an assessment.
5. Make a decision. If you’re satisfied with the vehicle, obtain its CarFax report to ensure that it has been maintained properly. If the owner has supporting maintenance information available, then review those details. Make a competitive first offer and be prepared to negotiate.
6. Finalize the deal. Once you and the seller have come to agreement for the purchase of the car, then make a payment. Avoid paying cash for the deal; get a certified check and give that to the seller. Your seller will deposit the check and sign over the title. Contact your insurance company to arrange insurance coverage and pay the registration fee to DMV. You may need to get the car inspected too. Obtain or have made up an extra set of keys.
You’re done! A private party deal can save you hundreds of dollars on a quality used car. If you’re mechanically knowledgeable, you can skip taking the car to a mechanic and do without the CarFax report.