Why should you visit a dealership instead of a private seller when buying a used car?
Buying a used car can be a stressful process. You typically need to do tons of research about how expensive a car you can afford, what make and model you want, and how new of a vehicle you want. After you’ve cleared all of these obstacles, there are undoubtedly more ahead.
One of the most common questions many car buyers ask is whether they should buy from a private seller or from a certified dealership. While everyone has their own opinion on this matter, there are certainly some pros and cons to each.
So, what are these various pros and cons of each, and is a dealership or private seller right for you?
Pros of buying a used vehicle from a private seller
Buying from a private seller can be the best option for some buyers because of the potential savings. Many dealerships will mark up the true value of the car to make some additional margin on top of the value of the vehicle. This means the value of your vehicle can drop as soon as you drive it off the dealership lot. This typically isn’t the case with a private seller.
Also, most private sellers have owned and operated the car themselves prior to selling it. This means that they should know about all of the little idiosyncrasies of the vehicle and can fully prepare you for how to handle them. So, if you’re willing to deal with a car that may have not been professionally serviced over the years, you may be able to find a great deal.
Cons of buying a used car from a private seller
The biggest downfall of buying a used vehicle from a private seller is the lack of protection for the buyer once the sale has been finalized. Dealerships typically offer some sort of warranty on a used vehicle, which will cover you if something should happen soon after purchasing it.
Unfortunately, this is almost never the case when buying from a private seller. If your car happens to break down the day after the sale is finalized, you are fully responsible for the repairs. This lack of protection is too much risk for many buyers, especially on a used car which already has many miles on it.
Additionally, because the car was owned by a private seller, there is likely no documented service history to prove it was well-maintained and cared for over the years.
Pros of buying a pre-owned car from a dealership
The biggest benefit of buying a vehicle from a dealership is the coverage and support you are offered. Most dealerships offer a used vehicle warranty on either the entire vehicle or specific aspects of it. This allows car buyers to rest easier during the warranty terms knowing they are covered. Plus, if you choose to have your car serviced by the dealership, the service team is working with a vehicle that they have the service history for and are familiar with.
Additionally, because car dealerships offer financing, car buyers will be able to afford a vehicle without having to tirelessly save for months. As long as your credit is in good shape, you can likely secure a low-interest rate with a comfortable monthly payment that works well with your budget.
Cons of buying a pre-owned vehicle from a dealership
Most car buyers will have to finance the vehicle because they don’t have enough cash on hand to pay for the car outright. This means that you will have to take on debt, which has an associated interest rate. This means that by the time you pay back the entire loan plus the interest, you will have paid more than the sticker price for the vehicle. The longer the loan term, the longer you will pay interest.
This added monthly bill is something some car shoppers are unwilling to pay. Obviously, paying for a vehicle upfront, in cash, is the best way to save on the total cost of the vehicle. But for those who need a reliable vehicle now and can’t afford to buy a new car outright, a certified pre-owned vehicle from a trusted car dealership like Bryant Motors is often the next best option.
Which is right for you – private seller or dealership?
At the end of the day, who you buy a used vehicle from is all about trust. If you fully trust that a private seller has cared for the vehicle and you’re willing to take on the associated risk, then you may be able to score an amazing deal.
If, however, you are seeking to minimize your risk or require financing to purchase your next used vehicle, then a dealership may be the way for you to go. The best thing about this option is that you are fully in control and able to make the decision that best suits your specific needs and desires.