Should You Buy a Car from a Dealer or a Private Seller?

June 7, 2021

When buying a used car, you can either purchase one from a dealer or a private individual and there is a difference between these. Here are the advantages and disadvantages to both, so you can make the best choice of where to buy your used car from.

buy a pre-owned car

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Car from the Dealership

Buying a used car from a dealership gives you one main benefit and that is peace of mind.

Car dealerships have to by law guarantee that the vehicle isn’t stolen and that there are no previous unsettled financial agreements that are pending on the vehicle.  

All known defects have to be disclosed by the dealer. When buying from a dealer the sale will come with a limited guarantee and an inspection report. If anything happens with the vehicle during the guarantee period then the dealership will be responsible.

With a dealership, you can also buy an extended warranty for the vehicle, which will protect you financially if anything goes wrong.

Buying a used car from a dealership is safe and the dealership will handle all the paperwork and help with financing.

You will also have the option to trade-in your old vehicle against the purchase amount.

But, What are the Disadvantages? 

Used cars at dealerships will usually be more expensive than a sale from a private individual.

You will be informed about the overall condition of the vehicle, but in regards to how the car was driven or information about the previous owner aren’t known.

Dealerships can be pushy and it can make many of us feel uncomfortable as they push for a sale.

The Advantages of Buying from a Private Seller 

A vehicle from a private individual will generally be cheaper than a dealership. You will also find that private sellers are more willing to negotiate on price.  

As you will be dealing with the current owner, you will be able to get a lot more information in regards to the car itself and how the car was driven and cared for. 

There is less pressure with a private sale and the transacting environment is more relaxed.  

But, Here are the Disadvantages

As a buyer, you will need to be careful as scammers will advertise attractive vehicle deals to trick buyers. Also, private sellers may take chances and the car might be stolen or a rebuild.  

Physical safety is a concern when buying privately, so make sure that you meet in a safe place and don’t go alone.

Generally, banks will not finance private cars and you will usually need to pay cash or get a personal loan.

There is a bigger risk when buying from a private individual in terms of defects and mechanical issues and not all sellers will be honest about what is wrong with the car.

As a buyer, you will need to do a lot more research. You will need to look into the seller as well as the car to ensure everything is in order.  

As soon as the sale is completed, the new owner will need to do all the paperwork, get new plates and transfer the ownership. 

You will not be able to trade-in your current vehicle with a private seller, so you will need to sell your car.

With a private seller, you will often benefit from a cheaper purchase price, but it comes with additional risk. You will need to decide if it is worth paying a higher price at a dealership and gain peace of mind or not.

Back to Homepage