How to Buy a Used Car From a Private Party

You may be tempted to avoid a used-car dealership when buying a car because, let's face it, not all used-car dealers have a great reputation. Buying a used car gives you an asset that is much more resistant to depreciation, and some models hold their value better than others. However, you still need to know the ins and outs of how to buy a used car from a private party.

Researching Used Cars
If you want to know how to buy a used car without losing your shirt, then the process starts with research. First of all, think about what kind of car you would like and why. Maybe you would like a sports car, or perhaps you need an SUV that can hold the whole family. Think about the number of people who will use the car, what you need to carry (trunk space could be important) and how far you will have to travel. If you cover a lot of ground, then fuel efficiency will be a major factor. Deciding on what features are important to you will help you narrow your search when you buy used cars.

Once you've narrowed down the make and model, then you need to do more in-depth research. Many printed and online guides can tell you about trade prices and retail prices for cars of all ages. You will be able to find out about faults to look for in certain models, as well as the best features of a particular car. It's worth knowing that Model A's brakes always fail on four-year-old cars, while Model B is economical to run. Doing this research will help you have all the information you need when it's time to buy a used car.

Private Parties Compared to Car Dealers
Buying a used car from a private party is different from buying a car from a dealership. However, don't assume that a private party is automatically more trustworthy. Some people may bend the truth in an effort to get a lemon off their hands.

If you need finance when you are buying a car from a private party, arrange this in advance. Private parties usually want cash in hand, so you will need to have your money ready. Find out your credit score, apply for the best loan deal you can get and be ready to pay up if you are happy with the car you choose.

With finance in place and your research done, you are ready to find your ideal used car. Many major car sites will help you to find suitable used cars. All you have to do is find the make and model you want, compare it against your research and make an appointment to view the car.

Test Driving Your Used Car
Always take the car for a spin. You need to know if you feel comfortable driving it and whether there are any tell-tale sounds that make it less appealing. Again, your research will tell you what to look out for. Ask about the car's history and ask to see service records. Don't feel obliged to make up your mind on the spot. If the driver isn't willing to wait a day or two for you to think it over, that's a warning sign. For safety's sake, you may want to bring a friend along if the seller is a complete stranger.

Take the license number and check to make sure that the car has not been in an accident. If everything checks out, then you can go ahead with the purchase. You need to be sure because there are no warranties when you buy a used car from a private party.

Buying a used car from a private party does not have to be a hassle. With the right research, some shopping around and some care and attention you can get a car that will hold its value and that you will be happy to drive for many years.

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