Buying Used? Should You Go Dealer or Owner?

When shopping for a used vehicle, there are two different types of sellers that a buyer will encounter. The first is a car dealership, and the second a private seller. Both used car buying options have their appeal, but each comes with its own set of drawbacks and considerations as well.

Buying from a Dealer

Generally, buying from a dealer is the easier way to obtain a used vehicle. Dealers specialize in selling cars and know exactly what they have to do to close a deal. Not only that, but they can also handle the financing and the paperwork for you so that the transaction is as smooth and concise. Further, dealers offer warranties, either as part of the deal or for purchase. Warranty coverage grants a buyer additional protection and peace of mind.

That being said, buying from a dealer can also be more costly than buying from a private seller. To cover overhead, dealers desire to profit more heavily on the sale of a car that a private seller would. A buyer would need to weigh the advantages versus the markup to determine if the higher price is worth it.

Buying from a Private Party

Buying from a private seller is an excellent way to save money on a used car. The thing is, it's often a more work intensive process. Buyers that work with private sellers have to obtain their own financing or pay cash. They have to handle all the paperwork, taking on the work that the dealership would have handled had the purchase been made there.

Not only is more work involved, but some added perks like trade-ins and incentives are lost when dealing with a private party. With the possibility of trading in their old car removed, the buyer is also faced with the additional burden of selling their old car themselves.

Just as with the dealership purchase, a careful evaluation of the sale must be made. Would it be worth extra steps and effort to save money on the deal?

Sometimes There is No Decision

For rarer vehicles, there might not be a decision at all. Don't overthink which type of seller to work with until checking the availability of the used vehicle in your area. Depending on the particular car you are looking for, it may be exclusively available at a dealership or from an individual. If this is the case, the decision of where the car will be purchased has already been made leaving only the nitty-gritty of the purchase process

When it's time for a used vehicle, you'll have to choose to work with a dealership or a private seller. If simplicity is the primary goal, a dealership is the obvious choice. If cost-savings are most important, a private seller should be considered. By weighing the options carefully, deciding where you will be buying the car is easy. On the other hand, actually getting it bought may not be.

Happy Hunting!