Should you buy from a private party or a dealer?
Even though many dealerships have come a long way from the 1950s, the thought of the negotiating process of buying a used car can still cause some consumers to lose sleep at night. There’s always an alternative: purchasing from a private party. But both buying processes have pros and cons, so don’t be too hasty. Let’s take a look at both, so you can be out on I-15 in no time.
Advantages of purchasing from a dealer
As a result of the economic downturn, consumers have adjusted the way they shop and are focused on value and savings more than ever. Car dealerships have noticed, adding more savings and discounts on new cars. They’ve also made it their focus to have quality used cars and certified pre-owned cars on their lots.
The benefit of a certified pre-owned vehicle is that it has gone through a rigorous inspection to identify mechanical problems or weaknesses. Any faults or flaws identified during the inspection process are corrected. Because of the thorough inspection, certified pre-owned vehicles come with a much longer warranty than you’d receive on conventional used cars on a dealer’s lot. It’s one advantage that private sellers don’t have an answer to. Further, most car dealerships will provide you with a CARFAX vehicle history report free of charge.
But inspections, certifications and built-in warranties aren’t the only benefits of purchasing from a dealer. Buying a car from a dealer saves you time and inconvenience. Most car dealerships have a large inventory of vehicles for you to choose from, so you are almost certain to find one to your liking. You don’t have to research car ads online, call sellers and arrange test drives as you would with a private seller. With private sellers you’ll have to work around their schedules and set up a separate mechanical inspection of the vehicle. When purchasing a car from a dealer, you also may not have to worry about handling the paperwork, including the title and bill of sale.
Disadvantages of purchasing from a dealer
One of the biggest complaints many people have about purchasing a car from a dealer is the haggling process. Even though there are many dealers that have gone to a “no negotiation” style of selling new cars, it’s still common to have to go back and forth on price negotiations with a used car until you and the dealer arrive at a mutually agreed-upon price. This can be frustrating and intimidating for some buyers and also takes time. It’s also to the dealer’s advantage to sell extra services or accessories, special wax services, oil change services, VIN scribing and extended warranties. You’ll also likely pay more for a “certified” pre-owned vehicle because of the thorough inspection and warranty that come with these vehicles.
Advantages of purchasing from a private seller
A big advantage of purchasing a car from a private seller is the price. Most private sellers list their prices competitively and close to the values from the Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds car-buying guides. Therefore, you can feel more confident that you are getting a fair price on the vehicle. In many cases you’ll get a better price than you would from a dealer. Further, if the seller has owned the car the entire time, you should be able to obtain all the service and repair history records. If you get the chance to visit the seller at his or her home, you might be able to glean some additional information about how the car was cared for. Seeing a neat, well-organized home with a nicely kept lawn might give you some confidence that the car has been well cared for, too.
Disadvantages of purchasing from a private seller
Unless you’re satisfied with the asking price, there’s a negotiation process with a private seller, too. Only you’re not in a dealer’s office; you’re often on the seller’s home turf. Regardless of the condition, you won’t be getting a vehicle that is “certified” pre-owned when you purchase a car from a private individual. You’ll have to make an appointment with your own mechanic if you want to have the car inspected to ensure that it is free from mechanical problems. Handling the paperwork, including the title transfer, bill of sale and financing, will be on your shoulders.
Used cars purchased from private individuals are sold as is, though you may be able to transfer the balance of an existing new car warranty if it’s still in force. If you purchase a car from a private seller and find that you are unsatisfied, the seller is under no obligation to take the car back or pay for repairs.
Whether you purchase a car from a dealer or a private individual, if you don’t have all the cash to pay the purchase price, you’ll have to finance all, or a portion and that’s where UCCU can help. Although car dealerships will offer to finance your vehicle purchase, we invite you to review the purchase price and loan terms with us to make sure you are getting the best value for your special purchase.
UCCU, your trusted financial partner for life!