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Top five tips for buying a car privately

If you are buying a car you want to make sure you get the best deal you possibly can, and that you are as protected as possible against any problems that may occur with the sale. Buying a car privately can certainly be beneficial financially, but you often don’t have the same after sales protection you do if you are buying from a professional car dealer.

We have put together five tips on what to do to make sure that you get the best experience from your private car purchase. Hopefully, you will find this advice useful if you are intending to buy a vehicle.

1. Know your budget limits
Before you even start looking for a car you need to decide how much you can realistically spend. This means that you need to decide on a starting point for your financial bargaining, and the limit of your spending. If you have carefully considered the figures before you go looking for a buy used cars, you are less likely to overspend.

Don’t forget that whereas you may be able to purchase a car on finance from a dealer, a private seller will expect the money up front. You should not spend more than 30% of your savings on a car. If you need financing in order to buy the vehicle you will need to apply for a loan beforehand, and make sure it has been approved, and you have the funds available.

Never overstretch yourself, be realistic. You may think it’s worth spending the extra cash to get that car you really want, but you will regret it if you put yourself under financial strain as a result.

2. Do your research

If you have seen a car advertised for sale, make sure you know exactly what you want to see, ask and say when you speak to the seller. The sale will go far better for you if you give the impression of confidence. If you seem as though you know what you are talking about the vendor is less likely to be tempted to take advantage of you.

Take a look through recognized car price guides which will help you to see whether the advertised price is reasonable. It’s also a good idea to get to know the car you are interested in buying. You will be able to find out how it should look, feel and sound; this will help you identify any problems when you go to see the car. You will also be able to get to know if there are any common problems with the type of car, so that you can ask relevant questions.

3. Get to know the seller

If you can buy a car from someone who comes with recommendations of trust then that is a bonus. If not it’s a good idea to meet the seller at their home address, ask to see the vehicles registration certificate to see if the vehicle is registered at that address, and ask to see photo id for the seller. Once you have the seller’s details you can Google the name and address to see if there is any negative information online.

You should never feel pressured into a sale; if you want time to do more research, or just to think, then say so. A seller may try to tempt you by saying you don’t want to miss out on the purchase, but there are always other cars; give yourself the space and time you need.

4. Check the paperwork

The seller of the car should have an up to date vehicles registration certificate, annotated with their name and address. You should always ask to see this document, which contains details of previous owners, chassis, engine number, registration, year, model and the colour of the vehicle.
One very simple check you can do straight away is that the VIN (vehicle identification number) registered is the one that is on the car. You will find the VIN plate under the car bonnet, and the VIN number will also be displayed on other parts of the car, such as underneath where the tax disc is normally displayed.

Again, you can ask for time to go and complete further checks using the VIN. These checks can be vital in making sure you get a good deal.

5. Complete further VIN checks

Once you have the VIN for a car it’s relatively simple to check its history. The vendor may be being completely honest with you but it’s always best to check. There are a myriad of companies online who will conduct checks for you and find out information, such as if there any finance outstanding on the car, and if the vehicle has ever been written off in an accident. Obviously, you have to pay for this service but you can end up saving money in the long run, if you stop yourself from making a purchase that isn’t what it seems.

All of this advice should be useful for you if you are considering buying a car privately; just a final few points to consider.

• Have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic before you buy.
• You will not have the protection of a warranty or a cooling off period, so make sure you are certain about your buying decision.
• Ask to see a Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) certificate to clarify the finance position regarding the car.
If you are careful with your purchase you should end up with exactly the car you want at the right price.

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