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Pros and Cons of Buying a Car from a Private Seller or Dealership


When it comes to car shopping, you typically have the choice of buying a used car privately or from a dealer. There are pros and cons to each of these options. For example, if you buy privately you can often get a better deal on a used car without the high pressure of a dealership. However, you'll often have to go the cash route, and you'll have to do all of your own reconnaissance on the condition of the car. If you buy from a dealership, you have the option to secure financing and know more about the condition and history of the vehicle. Fast Freddy’s Car Wash looks at the difference between buying a car from a dealer vs. a private seller.

Private Seller Pro - Lower Cost

The best way to understand this is that private sellers take out the middleman. You aren't paying to keep the lights on at the dealership or the wages of a salesperson. If you want the best price on a used car, then you should generally look at private sellers.

Private Seller Pro - Less Hassle

Many car buyers dread the experience of going to a dealership and haggling with professional salespeople. With a private seller, you won't have to worry about getting sold on extras that you don't really need either.

Private Seller Con - No Guarantees

Buying from a private seller means that you have very limited guarantees as to the car's condition. There's no certified pre-owned option here. You'll also have to do all of your own legwork in finding out the vehicle's history and condition.

Private Seller Con - No Financing Options

In most cases, you will have to pay cash for a private seller vehicle. It is possible to get a used car loan through your bank and get the cash, but the options are very limited. Sometimes the price reduction in buying a used vehicle privately makes up for this, but not always.

Dealership Pro - Paperwork Preparation

When you buy from a dealership, they handle all the registration and title paperwork. You won't need to worry about not getting something in on time or not having all the proper information. You will know all the costs of registering and titling the vehicle upfront.

Dealership Pro - Plenty of Financing Options

Even if you come into a dealership with your own financing, you'll be presented with several other options. Dealerships get incentives to provide financing, so they can often meet and beat financing from your own financial institution. If you're buying a new car, there are also often factory incentives that bring the price down.

Dealership Con - Too Many Choices

One thing to be aware of in going to a dealership is the temptation of all the other cars. If the vehicle you went in for was disappointing, the salesperson is likely to show you all the other possibilities. It can be hard to stick to what you want with so many further options. Although, in some cases, this can be a pro if your original vehicle idea wasn't what you expected.

Dealership Con - Plentiful Ways to Pay More

On top of your used car's higher purchase price, dealerships often find numerous other ways to get you to pay more. If you're not paying attention, dealerships know how to sell you various extras and random charges connected with the vehicle, the loan and/or the paperwork they fill out.

Whether you end up buying from a dealership or private seller largely depends on your situation and what is most important to you. If you absolutely need a loan on a used car, then a dealership is generally your best option. If you hate the stress of haggling with salespeople and have the cash to pay for a car, then a private seller is probably the way to go. Whichever you decide, Fast Freddy’s Car Wash hopes this pro/con list helps the next time you look into buying a new vehicle.