Dealership Or Private? What To Know When Buying A Used Car

November 27, 2015

When looking to buy a used car, you've probably heard both cautionary tales and happy endings depending on who you talk to. Buying a used car through a dealership or from a private seller can be a daunting experience, especially if the vendor you go to isn't trustworthy. While each scenario comes with its own pros and cons, here are some facts relating to each type of vehicle sale that will help you narrow down the option you are the most comfortable with.

Benefits of Buying From a Dealership

Assurance of Quality: With dealership sales, the consumer does not have to worry about being sold a damaged vehicle. Since there are rules in place to prevent this action, car dealers are required by law to only sell vehicles that meet a set of quality standards. It is not the case for vehicles that are sold privately, however.

Warranty Guarantees: Unlike private sellers, dealerships offer certain warranty guarantees to their customers. While private sellers should provide a well-documented and detailed vehicle history to potential buyers, this is not always the case and the absence of a warranty based on the vehicle’s past and current condition is a definite downside to purchasing a used car from a private seller.

Less Paperwork: When buying a used car through a dealership, the dealer completes all of the paperwork pertaining to the transfer of vehicle ownership, in addition to suggesting vehicle financing options. Dealers can also arrange for you to trade in your older vehicle as a part of this process. Overall, there are certain services that dealers can provide that private sellers cannot, and the extra legwork that dealers take on can definitely lighten the load for the customer.

Benefits of Buying From a Private Seller

Cheaper Price: One of the most appealing reasons for purchasing a used car from a private seller is the fact that you are more likely to pay less. One of the reasons why buying a used car from a private party can be less expensive is because, unlike dealerships, private sellers do not charge for extra services such as vehicle repairs, dealer commissions, as well as other administrative expenses.

Room for Negotiation: Individuals who are selling privately are often more eager to sell their vehicle and will be more willing to let it go sooner for a lesser price versus holding out for a higher value. Also, a private seller is usually not as experienced in the art of negotiation as a professional car dealer. This gives you a bigger opportunity to seal a good deal for yourself.

In Conclusion...

Whether you opt for a dealership or private seller, you want to be certain that you're getting a car you can rely on. Dealerships can offer this peace of mind. Many used cars at a dealership are certified pre-owned with extended warranties, and nearly all used cars on a dealer's lot have had professional inspections and servicing. If you're not a car expert and want to avoid being stuck with a lemon car, shopping for your next vehicle at a dealership might be the way to go. 

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Finding the right car can be a time-consuming, energy-sapping affair.

But who says it can't be a quick and painless experience?

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