How Do You Buy Cars for Sale by Owner?


Quick Answer

Purchase a car for sale by its owner by locating a specific vehicle on sites such as Craigslist or eBay, which provide tools for filtering out listings from dealers. The buyer then contacts the seller, makes arrangements to inspect the car and then pays the owner directly.

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How Do You Buy Cars for Sale by Owner?
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Full Answer

Buying a car from its owner, often referred to as a private seller, is a good way to save money compared to buying from a dealer because dealers typically sell used cars at a markup to compensate for repair and inspection costs and to turn a profit. This increased price also comes with different forms of protection for consumers not available when buying from a private seller, so buyers need to exercise caution when buying a car from its owner.

The buyer should research the car and seller as much as possible before making contact. The auction site eBay features a seller feedback system that includes reviews written by past customers, but no such feature is available on Craigslist as of April 2015. Once the buyer finds a listing for a car she wants, she needs to contact the seller to arrange a time to inspect the car and to take it for a test drive. If she likes the car, she pays the seller based on the agreed upon terms and takes the car.

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