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Tips for Buying a Car from a Private Seller

Sure, when it comes to buying a used car, we all understand that we should be extra careful. However, when purchasing a used vehicle from a private seller, you actually stand the chance to save some money and receive a great deal. When pursuing this avenue, we recommend following these tips:

  1. Call the seller at a reasonable hour, and have your questions ready. Before going into any detail, you should at least verify the make, model, year, mileage and general condition of the vehicle to make sure you’re spending time on the right target.
  2. Ask why the vehicle is being sold, and keep the answer in mind.
  3. If the answer to step 2 is good enough for you, schedule a test drive appointment at a public and safe area, preferably during daytime.
  4. Arrive earlier for the appointment to get a better first impression. This may sound ridiculous, but first impressions do matter when it comes to getting a better price. Wearing something nice would help, too.
  5. Once you see the car, walk around the car and look closely at every detail; you can never be too careful when it comes to something that can either save your life or take your life. Ask questions while doing the walk-around. Probe to understand what issues the seller may have experienced with the car. Make a note of damages in the body and fluid leaks, if any.
  6. Ask the seller again for the reason as to why he or she is selling the car; check if the answer is consistent with the one you got before.
  7. Before starting the car, sit in the drivers’ seat and check if there’s any wear or damage.
  8. Play around with the radio, air conditioner, etc. to make sure that they’re working properly.
  9. Get on the road and drive the car like you normally would: accelerate, brake hard, turn, and even get on the highway; try everything!
  10. If you really like the car, ask the seller to go to a mechanic check (at a trusted mechanic store, of course) with you, just to make sure the car is good. You can decide between yourselves as to who pays for it.
  11. After the car has “passed” all of these inspections, you may start the paperwork process at your local DMV.

After You’ve Completely the Process . . .

Finally, after all is done, keep in contact with the seller in case you have questions later on. Enjoy your new used car! Stay safe!


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