How to Buy a Used Car From a Private Individual

by Contributor

Have you ever wished you could buy a car and did not have to put up with car salesmen and their "haggling?" Say no more, follow these steps and you'll be on the highway in no time.

1

Contact your credit union and obtain the latest rate information. Speak with someone there about your automobile goals. For example, "I'd like to buy a car from a private individual, and I can afford $150 per month. What kind of interest rate and term of loan does that look like?" Submit a loan application if necessary to determine your spending limit.

2

Find your vehicle. Scour Craigslist and the local newspaper classifieds. Go to the website NADA.com and use this to get an approximate value of the vehicle you want. This should be a target amount for sellers to price their vehicle.

3

After finding several vehicles that all fit your requirements, call sellers and ask to come take a look at their vehicle. You know you already like the make and model of the vehicle, so go look at the condition. Are the tires worn? Is the engine wet on the underside? Does everything work on the vehicle? Has the vehicle ever been in an accident?

4

Be ready to leave without the vehicle. Do not become emotionally attached to the vehicle. If you see evidence of abuse, graciously thank the seller for their time and let them know you're looking at others and will let them know. If you want the vehicle, then tell them you are interested and ask them if they mind if you make an appointment for a mechanic to look the car over. Their response should be no problem. Additionally, tell the seller that if you purchase the car, then you will need to have closing at your credit union. As this could be a couple of days, do they want a deposit to hold the car in good faith; a check for $100 should suffice.

5

Call a local dealership, associated with the make of the car -- for example, a Ford garage for a Ford vehicle -- and speak to the service manager. Tell him you need some help as you want to buy a car, but need it checked out by a top-rate mechanic. Schedule the appointment with them and the seller. Coordinate with the seller how the vehicle will get to the dealer.

6

Once the vehicle passes inspection, let your seller know that you would like to purchase the vehicle, however, you are on a limited budget and really need to know what their bottom dollar is. They will tell you if there is room for negotiating the price. Make sure this amount is less than the blue book value or be prepared to put a down-payment on the loan. Once the selling price is determined, contact the credit union to let them know what you want to do. They will provide you with a list of information they need from you and the seller and set up closing.

7

At closing, the credit union will pay the seller with guaranteed funds and you will sign loan paperwork to pay the credit union back. The bank will provide you with a letter. This enables you to obtain an insurance card and temporary license plate. In the interim, use this letter and your existing insurance card to drive your vehicle legally.

Tip

  • check The better your credit score, the better interest rate your credit union will give you. If necessary, apply jointly with another party to obtain a better credit score.

Warning

  • close If female, never go to look at a vehicle alone. Always go with someone else.

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About the Author

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