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Pros & Cons of purchasing your car with a dealer vs. private seller

Dealership & Private Party Used Car Sales

When you decide to buy a used car, you can buy from either a used car dealer or a private party. Generally, buying a used car from a dealer takes a lot of pressure off of you—the buyer—because typically the dealer handles all the nuts and bolts of car buying (such as paperwork). This is just a glimmer of what to expect. Let’s take a look at some of the other pros and cons of each.

Dealer vs. Private Seller


Dealership Purchases Private Party Purchases
+ Handle all the paperwork associated with ownership or title transfer and registration. + Sometimes, more negotiating room with private sellers because they want it gone in order to buy a new car.
+ Cars have been thoroughly inspected and, if necessary, repaired. + More likely to find best possible purchase price but not the best cars!
+ Offers more legal protection than buying from a private party, because of the stringent laws dealerships must follow.
+ They have to provide a car history check.
+ They have a reputation to lose! That is why the ensure a great product quality and have to disclose any concerns. They also help with any questions after the sale.
+ Can offer additional services like roadside assistance.
+ Can help you with custom solutions or special equipment needed.


Dealership Purchases Private Party Purchases
– Sometimes, used car dealerships charge higher prices than private parties do (and leave less room for negotiation). – Buying from a private seller isn’t free of risks. Private sellers aren’t bound by the same strict state and federal laws as are dealerships.
– You will have to deal with a professional sales team. – Most private sellers sell their used cars “as is,” meaning, you’re stuck with whatever problems pop up.
– Typically, a lot more footwork goes into finding the right used car from a private seller. Usually you have to research and visit more private sellers than dealers.
– Ordering a vehicle history report is easy enough, but having a trusted mechanic inspect the vehicle depends on the seller’s time—not yours./td>
– You and the private seller are responsible for all the paperwork (e.g. bill of sale, transferring the title, as well as the registration, handling all related taxes and fees).
– Depending on your state of residence, it’s up to you to make sure the vehicle is up to date on its smog and inspection requirements.
– Do not have a reputation to lose and will be gone after the sale.

Going over our list of pros and cons above might make you feel as if buying a used car from a dealer is the way to go— and for many, it is!