• Buying A Private Used Car? Facts To Know

    Rather than haggle over price with a dealer, some car shoppers opt for buying a private used car, this coming from a private seller. Though purchasing used cars for sale by owner can be a good deal, buyers should still follow a few simple rules before making a deal.

    • Ask the same questions of a private owner as you would a dealer. You want to see the car start and run.
    • Suggest a ride around the block.
    • Look for leaks and listen for knocks and rattles.
    • Avoid cars that have been parked for a long time. Batteries, belts, hoses, tires and fluids deteriorate after months of disuse.
    • Some people selling a car privately have already tried to trade the car for a newer one, but were not offered enough on the trade. Never offer a private seller more than trade-in value for the vehicle. You can get an idea of trade-in values on-line through Kelley Blue Book or Consumer Reports.
    • Find out if the seller owes money on the car for sale. Do not offer to “pay-off” the car for the owner.
    • Make an offer then demand a bill of sale once the purchase is made. The owner then is obligated to pay off the car and produce a clear title within one to two weeks.
    • Always consult with the Motor Vehicle Department in your state regarding clear titles, release of lien, and bills of sale before making private vehicle purchases.
    • Beware of dealers posing as private owners. Some used car dealers pose as private owners to sell cars that have been on a lot too long. This shifty practice is called “kerb stoning.”
    • Have your money or financing ready before buying from a private seller. Deal from a position of strength by being able to back up your offer.

    When buying a private used car, it is important to go in with as much knowledge as you can. Let the above tips guide you in your next purchase.