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How To Buy A Car From A Private Seller

How To Buy A Car From A Private Seller

Buying a used car can be very stressful, especially from someone you don't know. But with smart strategies and some research, you'll feel like buying that used car from a private seller is easy like a Sunday drive.

Step 1: You will need

  • Driver's License
  • Money for Purchase, Registration and Sales Tax
  • A Vehicle Bill of Sale Form

Step 2: Hit The Books

Since you'll never know the true wear and tear on the vehicle, look up the model you're interested in in Kelley Blue Book, NADA guides or Blackbook.com. Also look at some of the buying sites like AutoTrader.com to see what the market price is for that particular car in your area.

Step 3: Rendez Vous

When you contact the seller to inspect the used car, make sure to meet them during daylight hours and at a neutral location.

Step 4: Mystery Car

Feel free to ask for service records but - keep in mind - you'll NEVER REALLY know the problems you'll inherent once you purchase the car.

Step 5: Question the Seller

Ask the seller why they are getting rid of the vehicle. They could give any number of reasons. Whatever they say, take it with a grain of salt. This is only important if they reveal something negative about the vehicle.

Step 6: Inspect the Car

It's healthy to have a certain amount of suspicion while inspecting the car you want to buy. Test drive the car with the seller to see if it meets your performance expectations.

Step 7: Check the VIN

Record the VIN number and make sure that it matches the number on the vehicle title. Also, confirm that the seller's name matches the name on the vehicle title. That way you'll know that the seller is the rightful owner. Once you get home, investigate the vehicle's unique history by searching the VIN records at Carfax.com

Step 8: Get A Second Opinion

The mechanic is not invested in the purchase or the sale of the vehicle and will offer their neutral opinion. They will also inform you of characteristic problems they have seen in this model car as it has come through their shop.

Step 9: Last Looks

Arrange for the final walk around with the seller. You will exhange the payment for the keys and the title. Both you and the seller will complete a vehicle bill of sale which records all the details of this transaction and will serve as evidence when you register your new car with the state.