How should you buy your next vehicle? Should you go online and find a private seller or think about buying a used car from a dealer?
In reality, you might spend a little less with a private seller, but there are many reasons to buy from a dealer that could be worth the extra that you spend. If you’re looking for a project car, specific classic model, or unique car, a private seller might be the only person you find that has what you want, but the benefits of working with a dealer for most vehicle needs certainly make it worth your time and effort.
1. Dealers Can Offer Financing Options
Unless you secure a loan with a bank before buying a vehicle, you might need financing options when you purchase your next vehicle. If this is the case, you’ll want to visit a dealer. Many dealers have programs to work with shoppers that have bad credit scores or small down payments. A private seller doesn’t have financing programs for you and will typically ask for money in hand to complete the transaction.
2. More Interest and Time in Your Sale
Dealers will often give you a little time to make your decision when buying a used car from them. A private seller doesn’t have to, and likely won’t offer you any time for decision-making. Typically, the dealer gives you 48 hours to hold the vehicle. Even if you don’t buy that vehicle, but want another one, the dealer can work with you to find the solution. To them, a sale is a sale; they don’t care which vehicle you buy as long as you buy from them.
3. A Wide Variety of Options
One of the biggest differences between dealers and private sellers is their inventory levels. Typically, a private seller has one vehicle to sell. Once it’s sold, they are done with the transaction and move on. Dealers have a car lot full of cars and access to a network of additional vehicles. If you don’t like one vehicle, you can choose another or ask the dealer to help you find the car you want to drive. A private seller won’t do this for you.
4. A Dealer Might Offer More Room for Negotiation
Most car dealers buy their used cars at wholesale or auction prices. This means they’ve gotten them at a low price and can sell them at prices that provide plenty of room for profits and commissions. This allows room for negotiations. Dealers also have a better idea of the real value of a car. Many private sellers choose the highest listed online value price without regard for miles and condition. When buying a used car from a dealer, you could get a better deal because of the negotiating room offered.
5. You’ll Get Greater Peace of Mind at a Dealer
If you buy a used car from a private seller, as soon as the title is turned over to you and money changes hands, that car belongs to you. All of the problems are now yours, and the seller has no obligation to you. On the other hand, when you buy from a dealer, they are legally bound to ensure the vehicle is checked over and ready to provide you with the expected driving experience. Most dealers care about their reputation and want more customers, which means they need to sell quality cars that you’ll be happy to drive.
6. The Dealer Isn’t Your Family Member or Friend
Unless the dealership is owned and operated by your family or friends, the interaction you have at the dealer is the only time you’ll ever see these people. On the other hand, when buying a used car, if you buy from a friend or family member and you end up with a car that doesn’t work as expected, this could put a major strain on your relationship.
7. You’ll Have an Actual Buying Experience With a Dealer
If a person is selling a vehicle privately, they don’t care about your driving habits or needs. They assume you know what you’re buying and have come to them because they have it. A dealer will spend time with you and help you figure out which vehicle makes the most sense. Usually, when buying a car from a dealer, you’ll see a large variety of vehicles on the lot to give you plenty of great options.
8. Guess What; You Can Trade at a Dealership
Sure, there are some private sellers that advertise they are interested in a trade for their vehicle, but if you don’t have something they want, you won’t get a trade. When you visit a dealership, your old car can be traded. This is a normal part of the process. The dealer will get something out of any vehicle you bring them, even if you tow it in, and all they get is the scrap value for it.
9. Most Dealers Offer Higher Quality Cars
This is another factor that takes us back to the number of cars available for sale. With more cars comes more quality. If you want the highest quality vehicles you can find, you’ll spend your time buying used cars from dealers that are part of a new car dealership as well. This is typically the best place to find high-quality, late-model vehicles that can give you many years of great driving.
10. Dealers Can Offer Service Programs on Used Cars
Part of your negotiations could be to ask for a service program as part of the sale. This works if you’re at a dealership that has a service department. With a private seller, if you asked for this, they would look at you like you have six heads. A maintenance program can make buying your next vehicle much more enjoyable than without it. You’ll know the vehicle is being cared for properly and that you’ve made a good decision.
Unless you’re looking for that dream car that only seems to be available through a private seller, you’ll find a better overall experience when buying a used car at a dealership.
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