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June 11, 2015

Used Car Dealer or Private Party?

Used Car Dealerships vs. Private Parties?

You see a used car on Craiglist.. It’s the right price, the right model and it has low mileage upon it. The seller appears to be a private party, just someone in a nearby town who is selling her car.

Is it a good idea to buy the car from her? Or is it better to buy from an established used car dealership?

Read below for the pros and cons of buying from a private party or a used car dealer.

First, the pros of buying from an individual:

  • Someone selling a car herself probably is asking for less money than a dealer would. A dealer must cover the cost of its overhead, including advertising the car, giving the salesperson her commission, and reconditioning the car. A private party often sells the car “as is.”
  • She may be in a great hurry to sell the car, and so may be amenable to negotiating more vigorously with you to lower the price.
  • She may be more willing to barter for the car. She may, for example, be OK with taking some of her price in cash and the other in the used Jet Ski you want to sell.

The pros of buying from a used car dealership:

  • As mentioned above, most used car dealerships recondition the used car, checking it out for problems, giving it new tires and perhaps some other parts. Most also offer some sort of guarantee on the used car (PAACO offers a vehicle warranty, for example).
  • Almost all used car dealers recondition every used car they sell.
  • Many used car dealers offer you a vehicle history report (from an objective third party such as CarFax) so that you’ll know upfront how many – if any – accidents the car has been in, if it’s ever been stolen, if it was ever used as a rental car, how many owners it’s had, if it’s ever been flooded, etc.
  • Purchase a used car from a dealership and the dealer will take care of pretty much all of the paperwork associated with selling a car.
  • A used car dealership also can help you finance the used car,

The cons of buying from a private party:

  • You will have to pay for a vehicle history report yourself. Or else take the word of the seller at face value (and, yes, some sellers do lie about a car’s history).
  • Some dealers might pay for you to have the car inspected by your personal mechanic, but you can rest assured that a private party will not. Any inspection by your own mechanic will come out of your pocket.
  • The car often will be sold “as is.” If it needs new tires, you’ll need to purchase them yourself.
  • If you go the private party route, you’ll have the inconvenience of going to different people’s homes – possibly several people’s homes – and often at their convenience, not yours.

The cons of buying from a used car dealer:

  • You may be subject to high-pressure sales tactics. Many dealerships are steering clear of such tactics today, but some dealerships still engage in them. And, even if a dealership refuses to play that high-pressure game, rest assured that its highly trained sales people more than likely will aim to steer you toward a car that’s more expensive than you’d originally planned to purchase.

Naturally, here at PAACO, we think the pros of purchasing from a used car dealer heavily outweigh the cons. We can help you finance the purchase, you don’t need to travel to many different private parties, you don’t have to try to ascertain if the person is telling you the truth about the vehicle, etc.

Unless your budget is extremely tight and you know a great deal about a car’s mechanicals, we urge you to visit the PAACO location nearest you and check out our inspected and warrantied used cars.

Give us a call at 877-810-4555.

Image courtesy Serge Bertasius Photography/

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