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What questions should one ask when buying a used car in a private sale?

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Quick Answer

When buying a used car from a private seller, buyers should ask questions to discover the true condition of the car, if it was ever in an accident and why the individual is selling the car. Buyers should also ask for the car's VIN to conduct research on the car.

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What questions should one ask when buying a used car in a private sale?
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One of the biggest advantages to buying a used car from a private seller is the drastically lower price compared to purchasing from a used car dealer. However, with this lower price comes a considerable lower level of legal protection in the event of fraud or faulty performance. As such, a buyer should perform as much research on the seller and the vehicle as possible before making any purchase. Buyers should use any site resources, such as seller ratings or profiles, as well as searching the Internet for the buyer's name and phone number to learn about the seller's history and if they are known for unscrupulous sales.

When inspecting the car in person, the buyer should ask the seller why he is selling the car. If the reason is due to an accident or illegal activity, it is a sign not to purchase the car. Buyers should also ask about how much the car was used to gain a sense how much maintenance it needs.

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