Top 3 Reasons Why Purchasing Your Next Used Vehicle From A Private Seller Isn't The Best Option

Posted on: 10 August 2015


According to The Car Connection, there are approximately 250 million used cars driving along America's highways and country roads. If you're in the market for a vehicle, you might be facing one of the biggest decisions every used car buyer must make: work with a dealership, or look to private sellers. If you're leaning toward purchasing your next used car from a private seller, be aware that there are several disadvantages to wheeling and dealing with your neighbors. Here are a few downsides to purchasing used car from private sellers:

Financing Can Be an Issue

If you've ever tried to secure a loan, you know all the hassle and paperwork involved. If you're intimidated by the prospect of securing a vehicle loan on your own, working with a private seller isn't for you.

The majority of dealerships have access to and work with a variety of lenders who will work with you to secure the best loan, and interest rate. However, if you try to secure a loan on your own, you might wind up with a much higher interest rate, or walk out of the bank without a loan at all.

In addition to all the paperwork involved with securing a personal loan, if you purchasing a vehicle through a private seller, you will also be responsible for filling out and filing several forms. From the title transfer to the registration and car insurance form, expect to spend several hours filling out a bunch of paperwork.

What About Your Trade-In?

In addition to working with seasoned professionals, one of the biggest advantages to purchasing a vehicle at the dealership is your ability to trade in your present vehicle. Unfortunately, the majority of private sellers won't be interested in giving you a few bucks for your trade in, leaving you with a car you need to unload.

If you simply cannot purchase a used vehicle without the trade in value, there are several ways you can get the most money possible from the dealership. For example, take a few minutes to clean your car – inside and out. Investing some money into fixing a few minor problems, such as replacing your worn tires or having any minor dings or scratches repaired, can also help you get the most for your trade in.

Working With Strangers

Another positive aspect of purchasing a used vehicle through a dealership is the experience of working with associates who are trained, experienced and willing to do what it takes to get you the best deal possible. Unfortunately, you aren't guaranteed the same level of competency and in some cases, safety if you work with a private seller.

The majority of private sellers are reputable individuals who want to sell their car. However, there are still a few dangers associated with dealing with strangers. This is why it's important to put your safety first. Insist on meeting the seller in a public place and never get into the vehicle with the seller alone. Instead, take a friend and stick to very public streets.

If you ever feel uncomfortable, or believe the seller isn't being honest about the car's history, don't hesitate to get back to your car, say thank you and keep looking.

Whether you're a car aficionado or this is your first experience shopping for a car, purchasing a used vehicle through a private seller or at the dealership can be a long and confusing process. Before you decide if working with a dealership or a private seller is right for you, consider the pros and cons of each option. Chances are you'll find that if you want to purchase a reliable vehicle for a great price, and get a little extra for your trade in, working with a dealership or a site like might be the best option available.