Buying a used car from a private seller

Many drivers feel more secure in buying their used vehicle from a dealership, and may be uncomfortable with the open-endedness of a private transaction. There are, however, a few simple steps a consumer can take to avoid being overcharged or buying a defective vehicle.

Once a driver finds the car he’d like to purchase, he can give the seller a call to verify the make, year, mileage and asking price. This is also a good occasion to ask if the car has a salvage title, which used car buyers should avoid, according to

A consumer may also benefit from asking the seller to schedule a test-drive. A daytime appointment is recommended by Edmunds, so the potential buyer can more easily see any defects or unusual aspects of the vehicle’s condition, which he can then ask the seller about.

It may also be advisable to ask the seller for the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), so the buyer can obtain a vehicle history report on the used car.

Consumers who are in the market for a used vehicle may want to use a car loan calculator to determine what kind of payments they can comfortably make, and fill out an auto loan application once they’ve set their budget.

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