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How To Buy A Used Car From A Private Party Seller

If you’re in the market for a new car, you don’t like going to the dealership and you want to save some money, buying one from a private party seller might be a good choice for you. There are many benefits to buying private party but there are a few things to consider if you take this route.

In this article we will go over the best way to buy a used car, the right questions to ask, how to get financing and all the other little details that must be done. Consider this your go to guide for buying a car private party.

If you decide the dealership is not the way you want to go, here’s a few tips and tricks that will make the private-party buying process a little bit easier. We’re here to help you find your next ride and protect you from purchasing a car that’s not in as good of shape as the seller claims.

It all starts once you find the car you like. Let’s go!

Have a certified mechanic inspect the vehicle

If you’re really close to purchasing the car at this point, make sure you ask the seller if you can have a mechanic inspect the car. If they don’t allow you to do that, it’s safe to assume they are trying to hide some major issues. If they let you inspect it that’s good news. You probably found a car that is mechanically sound.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Have your tech give it a look and confirm everything is good. If they find something that needs to be fixed or replaced, you can use it to negotiate a lower price.

Once you confirm it’s mechanically sound, it’s time to move to the next step.

Get a vehicle history report and service records

It’s important to know the documented history of the vehicle at this point. You can ask the seller for any service records they may have, or if there is a dealership they frequently had work done at. It’s good to know if they have done the regular maintenance and oil changes on the car.

Get a CarFax report. CarFax is a service that supplies vehicle history reports to individuals and businesses on used cars and light trucks in North America. A report will include the following.

  • Title Information
  • Reported mileage
  • How many owners it had
  • Ownership type (individual, or commercial)
  • Accident or damage history

Unfortunately, the CarFax will not show if there is any unreported damage. That’s why the next step is so important.

Ask the seller these questions

It’s important to know some specific things about the car. Her’s a list of questions you should ask before you hand over any money to the seller..

1. Why are you selling it?

This may seem silly, but it’s actually one of the most important questions you can ask. Know ing why they are selling can tell you a lot about the car. The owner may just need a bigger car or selling for personal financial reasons.

However, the seller may also be getting rid of the car because it seems to always have problems and is a financial drain. If it’s a good car for them but they just need something different, that’s great. If it’s a car full of problems, you may need to look at something else.

2. Are you the original owner?

It’s good to know how many owners the car has gone through. The less owners the better. Typically a one owner car is easier to learn the history, If they have owned it for a while, that means they have more than likely taken good care of it. Odds are high they will have all the service records as well. Too many owners and the history gets unclear. One owner cars make the best used cars to buy.

3. Has it been in an accident?

It’s good to know from the seller if it has ever been in an accident or had damage that could have been unreported to CarFax.

4. Does it have a lien (financed)?

If the car is financed then it will take a few weeks for you to get the title. The person selling the car will not have the title in hand. It will be held by the bank and released to you after the seller used what you gave them to pay off the note.

5. Do you have the title?

The most important question to ask if the car is not financed. Make sure they have the title and it’s “clear”. By this I mean that it is not a “salvage” title. A salvage title means the car was totaled by an insurance company. It was then fixed and put back on the road.

Do not buy a car with a salvage title or if the owner does not have a title for it. If you really want the car, ask the seller to get a title so you can then come back and buy it. If they refuse, walk away.

6. How many miles are on the car?

A simple question but it’s good to hear it directly from the seller.

7. Has anything major been repaired?

You want to buy a car that is well maintained and in good running condition. If anything major has been replaced like the engine, transmission or other vital parts is good to know. If it has a new engine or transmission this can be good news if the motor has lower miles than the chassis. If major things were replaced, find out why before you buy.

8. Does it have any modifications or aftermarket parts?

It’s important to know if anything on the car is aftermarket or has been modified. Things such as suspension, wheels, engine parts that increase the power, etc.

Most modified cars are driven harder than most, but those people tend to take care of them. Especially on the higher end vehicles. Find out if anything has been done and decide if it’s what you want from there.

After you go through these steps, it’s time to actually buy the car! Here’s the final steps.

Agree on a Price, Get Financing and Close the Deal

The first thing you should do before talking about price is look up the air market value of the vehicle using Kelley Blue Book. This will give you a general idea of what the vehicle you’re looking at sells for. Cars with less mileage or damage will be worth more. Once you know what the car is worth begin the negotiation process.

Negotiate with the seller and agree on a price for the vehicle. Once you do this you’ll more than likely need to get financing, unless you have the cash. You could spend hours or even weeks trying to arranging financing for your private party purchase. Instead you could use FlipRide. We will help you get financing and make the whole process fast and easy.

During a private party sale it’s also up to you to get the title from the seller. If they have the title in hand it can be signed and handed to you immediately. If they owe money on it you’ll have to more than likely make the check out to the lender and wait a few weeks for the title. Then you’ll need to register the car in your name.

It take many steps to get this part of the process done, but at FlipRide we’ve got something cool that takes care of all this complicated stuff in minutes. Let me tell you about it!

FlipRide Makes This Whole Thing Fast and Easy

When you buy from a private seller you can save a ton of money, but it’s also a lot more work to find that perfect car. It’s up to you and the seller to handle all the paperwork involved in transferring the car into your name.

The good news is that we started FlipRide to make all of this stuff basically “done for you” in minutes, not days. Our app will guide you through the entire sale from start to finish. We’ll help get you financing, validate the identity of the seller and buyer, provide a bill of sale, transfer the title to your name, and protect your used car in minutes.

Give it a look, we think it’s kinda cool!