#private car sales
Buying From a Private Party
Car Buying, Selling Tips and Advice
There are a wealth of good-quality, affordable used cars on the market today and many of them are sold by private parties consumers looking to sell their vehicles directly to other consumers. With some time and energy and a little bit of research, you can potentially net yourself a great used car deal while getting a reliable, economical and nearly new vehicle in the process.
If you re in the market to purchase a pre-owned vehicle from a private party, the information contained in this section is designed to help eliminate some of the uncertainties associated with the used car shopping process.
Once you ve found a prospective used car contender one that looks and sounds good in the ad and one you could definitely envision yourself owning and driving, now its time to figure out if the sellers asking price is fair.
The range of values listed on the NADAguides.com vehicle value report is directly related to the year of the car you re interested in purchasing. Late model used vehicles are provided with two values average trade-in and average retail. Older used cars are provided with three values low, average and high retail.
When you re buying a used car from a dealer, you should research the vehicles retail value. This is the typical asking price of a vehicle sold on a dealer lot or the price a private party usually asks for the car on the open market.
Following is a complete description of what each valuation criteria means taken directly from the NADAguides.com used car-pricing report.
Low Retail Value: A low retail vehicle may have extensively visible wear and tear. The body may have dents and other blemishes. The buyer can expect to invest in bodywork and/or mechanical work. It is likely that the seats and carpets will have visible wear. The vehicle should be able to pass local inspection standards and be in safe running condition. Low retail vehicles usually are not found on dealer lots.
Average Retail: An average retail vehicle should be clean and without glaring defects. Tires and glass should be in good condition. The paint should match and have a good finish. The interior should have wear in relation to the age of the vehicle. Carpet and seat upholstery should be clean, and all power options should work. The mileage should be within the acceptable range for the model year. An Average Retail vehicle on a dealer lot may include a limited warranty or guarantee, and possibly a current safety and/or emission inspection (where applicable).
Note: Vehicles with low mileage that are in exceptionally good condition and/or include a manufacturer certification can be worth a significantly higher value than the Average Retail price shown.
The next step is to determine the marketability of that vehicle in essence, what other people are currently paying for similar cars with similar features in your local marketplace.
It s important for you to know how significantly a vehicles marketability affects its value. Think about it a sleek sports car with low-profile racing tires is probably worth less money in a snowy climate like Minnesota than in a sunny climate like California. Further, certain vehicles are more desirable than others, depending on the city, county or state in which you live. Maybe a majority of local buyers prefer trucks and SUVs to cars maybe more prefer four-wheel- or front wheel drive to rear-wheel drive and perhaps even more want a car thats been modified, with aftermarket rims and a wheel drive to rear-wheel drive and perhaps even more want a car thats been modified, with aftermarket rims and a tricked-out sound system. At the end of the day, the market in which you live, the desirability of the vehicle you own and buyers mindsets ultimately determine a vehicles monetary value.
In order to determine the marketability of the car you want to buy, you need to do a little homework. A great place to start is with resources like AutoTrader.com. Here, you can research prices of similar make, model and year vehicles, in the same (or similar) condition as the car you re interested in purchasing, and with comparable mileage. Additionally, you can research the marketability of similar vehicles in your local market area a good indication of local car-buyer mentality.
Whats more, you can review local newspaper classifieds, community bulletin boards and local flyers and circulars that usually run car ads on a regular basis. By combining the NADAguides.com book value for your car with your local market research, you are finally getting closer to a realistic market value for your own used car.
Finally, don t forget to assess the specific features about the vehicle that, in essence, make it more desirable to potential buyers like yourself hence, potentially increasing its overall value. Is the car a hot-selling item? Does it have a sunroof, a comprehensive sound system, shiny aftermarket rims, leather seats, customized upholstery or any other unique characteristics that you would find appealing and would ultimately be willing to pay more for? NADAguides.com has written several articles regarding add-ons and their potential to increase a vehicles value, including Do Add-ons add Value? published by various newspapers around the country.
Remember that while certain aftermarket accessories and vehicle customizations can certainly increase a cars value, they might also deter certain prospective buyers, ultimately decreasing its value in the process. Its up to you to determine what youd be willing to pay for the added features the vehicle possesses and assess a value accordingly.
Before you enter into the used car buying process, you need to determine what you can afford to spend.
If you plan to finance the car, you need to calculate what you can afford on a monthly basis (in the form of a monthly car payment) after taking into consideration all other personal monthly expenditures (i.e. mortgage, rent, utilities, etc.).
Once you ve determined your monthly car payment allowance, now its time to figure out how much cash you can expend in the form of a down payment. Again, this will depend on your current financial status.
Finally, you need to determine an affordable used car purchase price. If you ve already calculated what you can spend for a monthly car payment as well as any down payments applicable towards the purchase of the car, you ve basically already determined what purchase price you can afford.
If you plan on financing the vehicle, be sure to make loan arrangements ahead of time this way, you ll know what loan amount and terms you qualify for. Additionally, it will demonstrate to the seller you re a qualified, serious buyer.
It s important to know ahead of time if the used car you re buying is covered under some type of warranty. In certain situations, the car may be covered under a manufacturers certification program. Other times, it may be covered by an independent extended warranty of some kind.
Warranty programs are important because they cover the cost of specific major repairs should something happen to the vehicle mechanically. Whats more, certified cars (ones that carry manufacturer warranties) go through a rigorous inspection process and are typically in better condition with less mileage than standard used cars that don t carry a manufacturer-backed guarantee.
Vehicles covered under a manufacturers warranty (referred to as CPO, or certified pre-owned cars) typically cost more than standard used cars. In some situations, a CPO car may cost as little as $400 higher to as much as $2,800 higher depending on the make and model.
The seller may have already factored the cost of the warranty into the cars asking price. Additionally, the certification information may have been provided in the sellers initial used car advertisement. If you re unsure whether a guarantee exists for the vehicle you wish to buy, be sure to ask the seller ahead of time. It could very well impact the value of the car as well as the sellers willingness to negotiate price.
For more information about manufacturer-backed warranties, check out our CPO Center, an information hub designed to teach you almost everything you d ever want to know about certified pre-owned cars, including warranty programs, the CPO inspection process, as well as an overview of various certified pre-owned programs available to consumers.