Buying Used Cars by Owner

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Buying a used car can be a very time consuming task. When you go to buy a used car your first task is to select a price range and if you are looking for something specific make sure you search for that. Be sure to be realistic for your price range. There are several places for you to check the current values of cars, two of the best places are Kelly Blue Book and N.A.D.A.,  they are both free to use online and check local prices. To check prices on a car you will need your zip code, the car year, make, model, mileage, and options. The prices listed will be suggested prices for the car according to retail, private party, or trade in value. When you look at private party values there will be different amounts according to their condition. Keep in mind some cars in excellent condition may command a price in between private party and retail.  Some common questions when buying a car are:

  • Has it been in any major accidents?
  • Have you had any work done to the car?
  • When was the oil changed last?
  • When did you buy the car?

When looking at used cars by owner, you want to find the best deal possible. Finding the best deal is not always about finding the lowest price, but there is also condition to take into account. When looking at the condition of a used car take into account the age of the car and if the car is a collector or sports car, or everyday driver. Talk with the seller with why they are selling the car, and how much they drove it.  Condition Points:

  • How much rust is on the car?
  • Does it have any dents (or major dents)?
  • Does the body look straight?
  • Are things falling or cracking off of it?
  • Is the interior clean, medium, or poor condition?

Sometimes you can find a gem in a car that simply has not been cleaned or washed on the exterior or interior, be sure however to check all the windows, buttons, and gauges to be sure that they work. 
When dealing with the seller be sure to be respectful do not “bash” their car to much, if you are uninterested politely end the meet up. 
Points when talking with the seller:

  • Do not act over excited
  • Do not bash their car, if uninterested simply end the meet
  • Do not be afraid to ask questions
  • Do – before you go learn about the car you are going to see

Test driving the car should be done, you should bring it up to highway speeds ideally. When driving the car, listen to the car and its motor, not the radio. Make sure the car shifts into gears correctly and does not have any major issues. Be sure to talk to the seller about any obvious problems, but do not nit-pic. As said before, if you become uninterested in the car simply end the meet up and move on. 

This article should help you get started in buying your used car from the owner. Keep in mind that buying from a dealer or owner, either way, does not ensure you a better car. Buy wisely and when in doubt ask for your own mechanic to look at the car. 

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