How To Buy A Car From A Private Seller

buying a used car from a private seller

When you are low on budget and purchasing a second hand or a used car from a private seller is the right option. You could save a hundred thousand dollars, avoiding all the taxes, overheads and hassles. But it may be trick and doubts may prevail in your mind before you finalise the car deal.

We all know that the private dealers mint a lot of money and earn profits when they provide you with your type of car. Doubts may prevail in your mind that the seller may be in a hurry to have the deal fixed for earning extra, and quality may be compromised then. You should have a full confirmation and confidence before buying your car.

Some tips that will help you understand things better.

The Advantages Of Buying A Car From A Private Seller

A lot of advantages are attached to buying a used car from an individual seller. We always want to have a good deal and invest in the best. Buying a used car and that too in a good condition is all that we want.


Whenever we buy from a private seller, we get an advantage of purchasing a product at a much lower cost than the original cost.

The private sellers offer things at a lower price as there are no dealer fees, documentation fees, or overhead expenses etc. involved when the deal is being done as compared to the bill of sale when buying a fresh one. There are no extra warranties involved with this kind of a purchase.

buying a car from a private seller

Level Playing Field

When buying from a private seller the level playing field is more as they have more experience as compared to you in selling and purchasing cars.

Saves Time

You tend to save a lot of your time when it comes to buying from an individual seller and makes you resume your duties soon. The buyer in all circumstances is favoured and things get easier saving your precious time.

Some Disadvantages

No Warranties From Dealer

The dealer provides you with no warranties as such, and if you are purchasing a car with least usage, then any previous warranties can be transferred while you fix your deal.

No Finances

Most of these deals are done using upfront cash, fewer cases have a loan agreement (vehicle or personal loan) due to any good relationship with the credit union or bank.

what to do after you buy a used car from a private seller

No Cancellation Of The Sale

The commitment prevails after you finalise and sign the title and cancelling is near to impossible. Though, some sellers may do it out of courtesy or their heart.

No Lemon Law Protections

These laws are specifically designed for your protection when you buy defective cars and this promises a refund or replacement as the case may be. This is offered by few states only and not all.

Risk Of Repairs

No private seller will pay you for any repairs after the deal is done. If you are unable to inspect the car properly then ask a mechanic to ease out the work for you. These attached risks always prevail and you should calculate them before-hand.

Don’t Be In A Hurry Before Buying A Used Car

More research before you finalise things will help you have a complete sense with a greater perspective. Once being clear about all the aspects then only invest in your dream car.

how to buy a used car from a private seller

There are some places where the private sellers tend to advertise their cars such as Craigslist and sites like, eBay Motors etc. Furthermore, you shouldn’t trust them blindly but compare the listings between the individual sellers and the dealers. There are so many offers these days that are provided by the private sellers, while some provide protection against fraud too (up to 50,000 dollars).

Any sort of vehicle purchase protection provides you with great confidence.

1. Taking A Test Drive Of The Car

Inspecting the car exteriors is the first thing you should do, by reviewing the tyres, any wear and tear issues of the car need to be checked for. See everything from top to bottom and can check under the car for any leaks also. You should check the brakes, power windows, backup camera, test heater and a/c etc. After having a smooth test drive, you can ask a mechanic to go in depth check up of the machine.

where to buy a car

fees when buying a used car private party

2. Inspecting The Vehicle Thoroughly

  • Check for any rusting near the doors, wheels, lower body of the car. Irregular paint areas should also be inspected properly as rust may come again after some time.

  • Tire tread- The condition of the tires to be witnessed is a must and you should check for any uneven tread before offer finalisation. Is the user had been applying brakes too hard then it may result into other problems due to the wear and tear issues. And you may end up spending more on getting them changed after you purchase, adding to your unwanted expenditure.

  • Pedal Wear has to be checked as the owner who was using it previously may have accelerated or have used brakes with more force, thereby making them weak.

  • Taillights and Headlights have to be switched on see that whether they work properly or not. Brake lights should also be observed by making some other person use and you inspect while standing outside. And the same thing applies for turn signals too.

  • Inside Electronics to be turned on to ensure their operation and functions. If you are a music lover assure the radio and the speakers work properly.

  • Shocks can be checked by pushing the car’s hood gently down. This needs to be repeated for checking the rear too.

  • Wipers are an important part, especially if you live in a rainy or cold area. They should function smoothly.

  • The Car’s battery is one of the major things that should be checked for and the installation date can be checked for the same. As buying a manufacturer’s battery may be an expensive affair.

  • Locks of the car to be checked with key and keyless features both.

  • Manual transmission if applicable along with the reverse gear to be inspected properly, so that complications of any kind should not trouble in future.

  • Air conditioning and heating system should be made to run for some time to ensure that they are in perfect condition.

3. Mechanic’s Survey

There are some things of the car that mechanics need to check. It is better to ask a mechanic to do so and for that you can take it to the mechanic before you decide.

4. Research The Car’s History

The complete history report of the car can be received from Carfax company, details like the past ownership, mileage or service. You can get the actual amount of the car assessed and can get confirmation that the car was not involved in any illegal practices or any accidents happened with the car.

buying used car from owner

5. Buy A Used Car With A Real Title

The title is the most potent and legal document that you have after you finalise the deal. Technically the deal gets complete after you have the proper documents. It is vital to have a vehicle that has areal title attached to it. There are chances that the car is salvaged or a stolen one and may put you in utter dismay after the ownership. This responsibility is of the seller to provide you with a correct title.

6. Vehicle Title Liens To Be Checked

Sometimes a third-party involvement exists for any financial stake. Before the transfer of title exists any kind of such money settlement should be done prior and any loan should be paid off by the original owner. The VIN (vehicle identification number) can be used to check up with the local authorities for any liens and the seller should not be trusted if he provides you the VPN. Get it checked on a personal basis.

7. Using An Escrow Service

The buyer’s fund will be held by the Escrow service till the title and the vehicle both are received. You will be saved from any scam and the real cost will have to be paid by you. The Escrow services work for your benefit, saving your time and money too.

Reviewing The State Laws When Buying A Car from A Private Seller

The list of requirements should be obtained by you from the local DMV and all the state rules to be adhered to. An odometer disclosure form or the emissions test may be required for the seller to fulfil it though.

Getting The Insurance Policy

The car requires an insurance policy to run on roads and serves you in the best possible way. Choose the best company after comparing rates and feel free to get one done.

7. Using An Escrow Service

Different states have different set of rules, follow them strictly and get your car registered.

  • An active car insurance policy.

  • An updated vehicle safety inspection.

  • Passed emissions test.

  • Title (your information on).

private car sales

Whole procedure is not as easy as eating an ice-cream, so work on all the parameters calmly and be ready to Go!

Hope you like this article, in which we have tried to deliver the best of information after a much-detailed survey.

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