Should I Buy from a Used Car Dealership or Private Seller?

Are you ready to purchase a used car? Have you decided whether you will purchase from a private party or a used car dealer? Are you familiar with the differences between the options?

We have all the information that you need in order to learn more about purchases from a private party versus purchases from a used car dealership, the pros and cons of them, and how to compare them so that you can make the best choice for you.

Private Party and Dealership Used Car Sales

Whenever you decide to purchase a used car, you can either purchase it from a private party or a used car dealer.

For the most part, purchasing a used auto from a merchant takes a great deal of weight off of you—the purchaser—on the grounds that ordinarily the merchant handles every one of the pieces of auto purchasing, (for example, paperwork); then again, private party auto deals mean you and the vender must deal with the whole exchange yourselves. On the other side, you may think that its significantly less demanding to arrange a value you need with a private party, particularly in the event that they have a need to sell.

This is only a gleam of what’s in store when purchasing a used car from a merchant versus private party car deals. How about we investigate a portion of upsides and downsides of each.

Dealership Purchases: Pros and Cons

PROS – Pros to purchasing your used car from a dealership include:

  • The dealer will handle the paperwork for title transfer or ownership and registration for you.
  • Dealerships may offer financing options.
    • You can look into auto loans from banks, but it’s nice to have options.
  • Dealerships may offer a warranty on a used car.
  • Cars from a dealership have been inspected, and repaired if needed.
  • Some dealers will sell certified pre-owned cars.
    • This means that the vehicle has been through an official series of inspections and repairs, and comes with a special warranty
  • You may have a used vehicle to use as a trade in, which can be part of the used car’s down payment.
  • Purchasing a used car from a dealer gives you more legal protection.
    • For instance, because of the laws that dealerships have to follow, you are less likely to run into issues like purchasing a lemon or a salvaged vehicle that you were not told about.

CONS – Consider these cons when purchasing from a dealership:

  • Dealerships can charge high prices when compared to a private party and leave very little negotiation room.
  • You have to deal with pushy sales teams, which can get pushy because of commission.
    • These sale people may not have your best interest in mind and they just want to make the sale to get commission.
  • You can get easily distracted by deals and lose sight of the bigger picture.
    • You may go to the dealership knowing what you are wanting, but because of holiday sales, sale pitches, and buyer incentives may derail you.

Private party Purchases: Pros and Cons

PROS – These pros are for purchasing a vehicle from a private party:

  • Most private parties use blue book value from KBB to determine the asking price.
    • The KBB is a great resource for determining the value of a used car.
  • Sometimes you have negotiating room from a private seller.
    • Refer to the KBB to get the asking price lowered.
    • Sometimes a seller will be willing enough to accept an OBO (or best offer).
  • Even though they want to sell the car, most private sellers aren’t pushy like a dealership can be.

CONS – Purchasing from a private seller isn’t risk free. Consider these cons:

  • Private sellers do not have to abide by the laws from federal and state governments like dealerships.
  • No warranty on the vehicle.
    • Most private sellers will sell the vehicle as is, which means you are stuck with whatever pops up.
  • No trade-in options because the seller wants cash and not your current vehicle.
  • There is more work to find the right used car from a private seller.
    • Unless you’re lucky, you may find yourself visiting more private sellers than used car dealerships and you have to research each of these used cars.
  • Ordering vehicle history reports can be easy, but having the vehicle inspected by a mechanic is on the seller’s time and not yours.
  • You, as well as the seller are responsible for any paperwork.
    • Paperwork may include bill of sale and/or title transfer as well as registration transfer and handling the fees and taxes.
    • These transactions mean you have to make a trip to the DMV or agency.
  • Depending on your state, it is up to you to make sure that the car is up to date on inspection and smog requirements.

Private party or Dealer: Your choice

After going over the list of pros and cons, you may feel as if purchasing a used car from a used car dealership is the way to go; and for most it is.

However, that isn’t to say that purchasing a car from a private party is without perks. Even with all the paperwork and transactions that you have to handle yourself, purchasing a used car from a private seller is sometimes more convenient.

Be sure to weigh the pros and cons against what type of situation that you are in such as what type of budget you have, how much time you have to search for a car, who is offer the vehicle that you want before you ever make your choice. Do not enter into a transaction with a dealership or private party on a whim.

Find Used Cars in Phoenix, AZ

If you would like to find a used car dealership in Phoenix that knows how to take care of their customers, please visit We have a huge list of 500 down used cars for sale. Find used cars in Phoenix at each of our dealership locations:

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