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Questions To Ask When Buying A Used Car From A Private Seller

Buying a car is considered one of the most significant expenses that a person has to make in its entire life. Those of us that cannot afford to buy a brand new vehicle have to settle for a used one, which can be acquired either from a private seller or from a used car dealer. This article will guide you through some of the questions that you must ask a private seller.

Here are the ten questions that you need to ask a private seller:

1. How many miles are on the odometer? – The reason why you should ask this is in order to find out a value before actually seeing the car. When you obtain this information it would be wise to visit Edmunds.com so that you can find out the approximate value of the vehicle that you plan on buying;

2. How would you describe the condition of the car? – If he says excellent, it means that either the vehicle is in great shape or he is being dishonest. We highly recommend that you search for another one if the car isn’t as “excellent” as its seller promised;

3. Why are you selling it? – If the answer is “I just bought a new one” it usually means that he is anxious to get rid of the old one. If he answers “It was my dad’s (mom’s)” then you are in an excellent situation because there aren’t many people that would want to hold on to the vehicle in this situation and they’ll want to sell it for cash as fast as possible;

4. From who did you bought the car from? – The perfect situation for you would be that the seller is also the original owner. Regardless of the answer you get, always get a report from CarFax;

5. Where did you buy the car? – This is a very important question taking into consideration that some states in the U.S. are lenient regarding what defines a salvage title or it permits cars to be sold from state to state without issues concerning the past history of the vehicle;

6. What sort of oil you have used for the car? – Most likely, the seller will answer in one of the following three ways:

a) Right away. Which shows that most likely he changed the oil himself so the car has been well-maintained;
b) After a brief pause. In this case, ask if he can look at the records. This also means in most cases that the car has been well-maintained, but we advise you to ask him to verify the oil change records so that you will know for sure;
c) “I don’t know” or he gives a wrong answer. In this case, make sure that your personal mechanic has a close look at the engine;

7. For how much money are you willing to sell the vehicle? – By asking him this question, he will understand that you don’t plan on paying the asking price;

8. For how long can I take the car for a test drive? – Needless to say, never buy a car that you haven’t driven. If he’s a reputable seller, he will let you drive the car. If he’ll deny you this, you’d better walk away as most likely there’s something wrong with it. Most of the sellers that will allow you to take it for a spin will limit the test drive to about half an hour, which is plenty of time to figure out how the car handles and feels;

9. Can I get the car inspected by my personal mechanic? – After you have taken the car for a test drive, ask him this question. If he hesitates to give you an answer, it means that something is wrong. All you’ll ever want to hear is “Yes”. Any other answer won’t do it;

10. What was the last car that you have sold? – You need to know that there are lots of people who sell cars just to get a nice profit. They usually buy them dirt cheap, fix them up here and there and after that sell them to get a nice and tidy profit. However, there are some people that will fix the vehicles just enough so that they can get rid of them.

These would have to be the questions to ask when buying a used car from a private seller. Needless to say, aside from asking these questions, always inspect the car and if you can, get a mechanic to have a closer look at it in order to find out if anything is wrong with it. All the defects that he or you will find during the inspection can be used as weapons during the negotiation process.

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