Buying a car from a private seller as opposed to a dealership has, like anything else, distinct advantages and disadvantages. In this case, the biggest advantage is that you can often purchase a car from a private seller for hundreds or even thousands of dollars cheaper than you could at a dealership. Why? A private seller is looking to get rid of an unwanted or unneeded car, whereas a dealership is looking to gain maximum profits from sales.
If you’ve decided to purchase a car from a private seller, follow these step:
- Look through classified ads to create a list of cars that you’re interested in. A detailed, descriptive ad shows you that the seller is informed and willing to spend the time on the transaction process.
- Contact sellers at a reasonable hour to ask any questions you may have and to verify the make, model, year, mileage and condition of the car.
- Set up a meeting with the sellers on your short list in a neutral, public location, such as the parking lot of a school or church. Avoid meeting at a private residence or when it’s dark outside.
- Before meeting, decide on your budget and set the money aside. Private sellers generally expect to be paid in full, either with cash or a check.
- When meeting a seller, conduct a walk-around inspection of the car to check for any visible wear, damages or leaks. Ask questions, address any concerns and get to know the car’s history. A good seller will prepare records of past services and repairs for your perusal. You can also purchase a vehicle history report to avoid potential scam.
- Test drive the car using a variety of situations: city roads, highways, forward, reverse etc. Use the blinkers, air conditioning, heat, radio and other electronics to ensure that they’re in proper working order.
- Even with maintenance records of the car’s history, you should have the car fully inspected by a qualified mechanic to check for any potential issues that may result in costly repairs.
- If you find the car to be satisfactory, you can begin negotiations to reach an agreed price. Negotiation is generally an expected part of the process, and one that is usually completed with relative ease.
- Once the purchase has been made, get the signed title and a bill of sale from the seller. Your local Department of Motor Vehicles can supply the appropriate paperwork to complete this process.
Congratulations on your new car! Don’t forget to secure an auto insurance policy to protect your purchase. Your independent agent can shop around for the right policy at the right price to keep you safe on the open road.
Insuring your new car is a vital step of the purchasing process. Call Pearson & Company Insurance at (601) 701-0010 for more information on Meridian auto insurance.