Buying a car from a private seller can seem like a great deal, but there are a couple of potential problems that few people think about with these types of transactions. While private party sales can go well, if both parties are not careful they can both wind up losing thousands of dollars. If you’re considering a private party sale, watch out for these common problems.
Know what you’re buying. Unlike a car from a dealership, cars that are sold through a private sale rarely have a mechanic look over them before the sale. This means that you could be buying a vehicle with a wide range of problems. The most common issues are mechanical problems; many sellers view private party sales as a good way to get rid of a car or truck that is due for an expensive repair. Recently, it has become more common for private party sales to become a way to get rid of vehicles that have been totaled out as a result of an accident or flood.
To avoid these problems, make sure that you take any vehicle that you’re buying to a mechanic and have it professionally inspected. While this may cost some money, it is nothing compared to the money you will be saving if you are able to avoid a car that will cost you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.
Make sure your paperwork is in order. Buying from a dealership means that a professional will transfer the title and set up your loan paperwork. When you buy from a private party seller, you will have to handle all of this yourself. While many people have little or no problems, getting the paperwork wrong could mean that you have no proof that you actually own the car. There have been reports of buyers getting duped by con artists into thinking that they have purchased a car when in fact they have not actually completed the paperwork to transfer ownership.
If you’re considering buying a car through a private party seller, then be sure to take steps to protect yourself.